Currently, I work in a health clerical capacity. I have been working in health care administration for over seven years within several different hospitals. Before this, I completed an undergraduate degree in science, but I decided not to pursue anything scientific in my career.
It was maybe two or three years into my degree that I realised I wanted to study something that had an impact on improving the health of other people. I wanted to empower other people and help them better themselves. I knew deep down that I had more to offer than clerical experience.
In a previous role, one of my former managers noticed my strength in written communication and in research, which inspired me to pursue a Master of Public Health. A lot of the subjects do rely on these skills, and I wanted to use more of my strengths. I also have a close friend who also completed a Public Health degree, and she gave me great advice on how to transition into public health.
To me, Public Health means improving people’s health. You are empowering people to be better at making the right choices through different programs at different levels of government.
I chose to study at UTS because I found that the structure of the degree was more convenient for me, as I work full-time. I have a lot more flexibility here at UTS than at other universities, and now, I even have the option of doing distance learning. However, at the time, I wanted to do face-to-face learning, and I was able to fit my study into my schedule.
One of the most rewarding things about this degree is exploring the different disciplines and study areas within the degree. You can get a taster of different areas while also learning different skills that are needed for a career in public health.
Another rewarding aspect has been taking on a professional placement at the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre at UTS (WHO CC UTS). I was there for six weeks, and it was such an interesting experience. Because of work constraints, I wasn’t able to do a longer placement but I was able to coordinate with my supervisor to ensure that I was able to participate in the placement alongside a full-time workload.
The professional placement also came at a time when I was deciding whether or not to continue the degree, or just end my studies. When the opportunity to do a placement came up, I couldn’t say no.
Studying Public Health has also helped me identify where I really want to go with this degree. Being able to approach professors about career options is very useful. I remember chatting to a particular professor that I shared research interests with, and being able to talk to her about how she developed her career was very inspiring.
Right now, I am searching for opportunities that relate to my interests and that allow me to use my new knowledge and skills. I would also like to do another internship, especially in youth health and maternal and child health, which is what I am interested in.
To students considering the Master of Public Health, I would say: Come in with an open mind. You’d be surprised at what opportunities come up. You may like a particular subject over others, but there are many options. I also recommend doing a professional placement, as it is such a good opportunity to be exposed and to get experience in a particular field.
Find out more about studying Public Health at UTS.