Thomas Douglas, 2nd year Public Health student, studying full-time externally from Sydney
I have worked as a nurse and studied as a podiatrist, primarily in surgical theatres and hospitals across Australia.
I’ve also had the privilege of travelling throughout rural Australia and internationally, working with groups to assist those experiencing homelessness. Through these experiences I’ve observed the direct impacts of the social determinants of health and identified in me a need and a drive to work towards addressing these issues.
What led you to Public Health? A collection of experiences both within healthcare and in my time travelling and volunteering left me feeling that I could and should be doing more. Collectively they convinced me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture in order to make a more impactful and positive difference in the world. Since then, particularly in the wake of recent fires and floods, as well as climate change and coronavirus fears internationally, I’ve been acutely aware of the significance and importance of Public Health knowledge, understanding and practice within today’s world.
Why did you choose Flinders? Flinders primarily interested me due to its strong theoretical approach and the world leaders in the Public Health and Medical disciplines that the University boasts. Teachers both working in the Public Health sphere and within research have provided some amazing insight into the issues which we are facing within the discipline.
Flinders’ ranking in the top Universities worldwide was also a draw card for me, as was the course’s flexibility in allowing me to study by distance and engage with classes, students and staff at times that fit my busy life and career.
What’s a highlight of your student life at Flinders? It has to be my role as student rep over the past semester: through it, I met some great people, received valuable insight into the experiences and issues impacting fellow students, and was able to provide help to students and provide feedback to staff and faculty, all of which have made my time at Flinders more valuable and worthwhile.
How do you see this course preparing you for your future career? I’ve already integrated what I’ve learnt and the insights I’ve received from Flinders within my daily practice as a health practitioner.
I see myself moving from where I am working now into policy development and analysis working toward improving public health programs as they currently exist, and I would also love to work rurally.
The most unique aspect about the course I have found so far has been its ability to challenge my viewpoints and understandings of healthcare and to be critical of strongly held beliefs that exist in healthcare and by practitioners as “fact”.
Tell me something about yourself that others may not know: I toured with The Wiggles and appeared on a kids TV show in full costume complete with a fake moustache every day for a year.