“They are uncomfortable and difficult conversations, but they are conversations that we need to have.”
With a backdrop of significant global health challenges including war, displacement, a pandemic and natural disasters, today we mark World Health Day (April 7) with the theme Our planet, our health and turn the focus to those working to make a difference within the public health discipline to create societies focused on well-being.
“When you study Public Health, you really unleash your potential to make a difference in the world,” says Dr Annie Murray, Course Coordinator of the Flinders Bachelor of Public Health.
“One of the benefits of being a public health professional is the global reach to go beyond the individual and have a greater impact.”
The three-year undergraduate degree is relatively new to Flinders with the first cohort of students taking part in the program in 2021, and now in 2022 a new intake begins study set against a framework of unfolding global health issues.
With topics including epidemiology, economics, health promotion, biostatistics, Indigenous studies, environmental change and leadership in public health, the program uses current events as a “teaching lab” to help students understand the broader concepts of what Public Health is and its critical role in policy, population, empowerment and cooperation for the greater good.
“It’s a living, breathing curriculum,” Dr Murray says. “Every day as a teacher I look at the news and I look at evidence-based sources and ask how I can translate what’s happening in the world to students so that they understand.
“While from afar, we are witnessing a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, everything that’s occurring through that crisis we can explain it as part of public health models, theories and frameworks.
“While the news can be distressing globally, I often remind students that it is a privilege to study Public Health at this time.”
And there has never been a better time to study Public Health at Flinders University with graduates across the globe in demand to address these significant challenges and to work towards improving the lives of communities and whole populations.
“In public global health, we are looking for students that are future leaders and can make a difference to the world of some many others that don’t have the same access.”
One of those looking to make an impact in Public Health is first year student Jamil Locker who says he was drawn to the idea that instead of helping just one person, he can help a community or a whole country through a career in the discipline.
“Even just through things like what I’m interested – which is health communications and health promotion – we can be teaching people something as simple as why it’s good to wash your hands,” Jamil says. “In some countries they still don’t really understand that because they’ve never had a good enough public health system to get that message.”
Choosing to study the Bachelor of Public Health at Flinders was an easy decision for Jamil following on from previous education in nutrition.
“There’s not many undergraduate degrees in Public Health in Australia and this is the best university for that. There’s also the bonus of the support, there is a huge support system here where they actively help you.
“Then there’s also the capacity to do work experience in the final year of my degree with a work-placement project to help me gain that industry experience.”
If you are passionate about having those uncomfortable and difficult conversations, or interested in global health challenges of today, there has never been a better time to study public health at Flinders.