Jamil Locker is the first to admit that he found his way into the world of Public Health almost by accident – essentially “falling” into it while studying nutrition.
That happy accident though, sparked a passion to study the Flinders Bachelor of Public Health.
Jamil had begun nutrition studies elsewhere when on the first day and in his first class, came across the concept of Public Health.
“I knew was it was,” he says, “I just didn’t know what it was called as I’d spent the better part of three years trying to find this industry.
“I like the idea that instead of helping one person, you can help a community or a whole country, preventing an illness or disease before it even happens.
“I’m interested in health communications and health promotion – we can be teaching people something as simple as why it’s good to wash your hands. 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.”
Drawing on personal experiences
Jamil says the draw to working in such a multidisciplinary field also stems from his background growing up in lower socio-economic communities seeing firsthand the negative impacts of some of the more serious issues that need addressing.
The personal connection to Public Health issues, giving him a clear direction for his future.
“I’m hoping to find myself working in something like Doctors without Borders or a similar not-for-profit working as a health promotions person, creating programs to implement research,” he says.
“I like a ‘one health’ approach with the notion that if the animals and the environment aren’t healthy then we aren’t healthy, which is also something that led me down the road to veganism.
“For me I’d like to see better nutrition around the globe with programs implemented in poorer countries that want to follow that Americanised diet but without realising the health implications.
“The impact you can have and the opportunities to make difference in Public Health are endless.”
Taking his learning to the airwaves
Keen to explore all those opportunities, the first-year undergrad student has also turned his hand to podcasting.
“When I first went vegan, almost two years ago now, I started doing a podcast just interviewing interesting people to help promote veganism – that it’s not just about militant vegans,” he says with a smile.
“I did that for a while but once I was studying Public Health there were issues that I wanted to discuss but couldn’t within that realm, so that’s why I made the switch to public health world focused purely on Public Health.
“Public health isn’t always promoted very well and communicated to the public, so I wanted to boost promotion and awareness of the field and careers in general – with my first interview featuring an epidemiologist from America.”
Join those with a passion for making a difference
Choosing to study the Bachelor of Public Health at Flinders has proven to be a defining moment for Jamil who says there are many reasons for prospective students to choose Flinders like he did.
“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 making a difference in Public Health and helping to address the challenges of today, there has never been a better time to study public health at Flinders.