An invitation from a colleague to join her to study in Australia, along with Flinders University’s reputation for health promotion research brought Canadian Dr Cynthia Smith (DrPH ’14) across the world to undertake her Doctor of Public Health.
The former Director of Primary Health Care for the Government of Alberta, Dr Smith’s career has been focused on building capacity for people from all walks of life and circumstances to have the opportunity to be healthy.
Since 1999 Dr Smith has worked on midwifery policy, health promotion, heart health, and has also taught health promotion at tertiary level.
After completing her studies at Flinders and returning to Canada in 2014, Dr Smith became the Dean of the School of Health and Human Services at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia – the largest college in the province. Since 2017 she has also been an Adjunct Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria.
‘I now oversee programs in 17 health and social service disciplines,’ says Dr Smith. ‘I am ensuring that the curriculum in all programs has a strong focus on health promotion, community health and most importantly that students understand the conditions that the people they serve live in, to better support them to be healthy.’
Dr Smith’s proudest moment in her career happened in September this year, with the opening of a health and wellness centre at the Camosun College.
She says, ‘The opening of the Alex & Jo Campbell Centre for Health and Wellness, an 8,300 square metre, healthy and light-filled four floor facility brings all programs in the school together under one roof for an interdisciplinary and innovative learning environment.’
The centre provides more opportunities for students to learn together, across and within the health and human service disciplines, so that graduates are ready to work in lead team-based care in all settings which will improve the health outcomes of people in their care.
Of her time at Flinders Dr Smith says, ‘It gave me a strong backbone in the social determinants of health, strong research skills and the graciousness and openness of my professors and research participants to help me understand my research questions and complete my dissertation.’
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