School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Head of School Welcome

UNSW had begun implementing its 2025 Strategic Plan when I became Head of School in August.

The Strategy makes a university-wide commitment to promoting equity, diversity and social justice, and to working with disadvantaged communities in Australia and globally – just like the core values of the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM).

With these values aligned, it is clear I am in the right place at the right time.

As I settle into my role, I know that public health at the University of NSW is already strong. I look forward to shaping and leading the school in a way that builds on our strengths:

  • addressing equity in health systems
  • increasing access to health care in Australia and globally
  • developing stronger research in effective health care and in prevention.

Students can play a part in this. The SPHCM offers a rich and research-focused experience. We have a range of specialisations in our Master of Public Health, and this year launched a Bachelor of International Public Health. Our renowned Master of Health Management is the oldest and largest health management program in Australia. Our Masters of International Public Health attracts students from the Pacific, Asia, Africa and beyond, creating a rich global health community. Our research higher-degree students similarly undertake their MPhils and PhDs on topics relevant to their countries.

All of our teaching is backed up by strong research. We collaborate with respected centres and institutes, such as the Kirby Institute, The George Institute for Global Health, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, the Centre for Big Data Research in Health and the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity.

We have clear strengths in infectious diseases and immunisation, environmental health, non-communicable diseases, injury prevention and trauma care, health management, child and adolescent health and healthy ageing.

Health equity underpins all of our teaching and research in these areas, as does our commitment to recognise the special position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s First Peoples and to work in partnership with them.

We also work to improve the health of people in our region through research and teaching. I have been overwhelmed by the incredible passion and diversity of outstanding research students from countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and India. I am proud that we’re contributing to research training for our region and know that these students are giving just as much back to the school through sharing their knowledge and experience.

Ultimately, a school of public health has to be focused on impact. Our task is not just to teach and to conduct research – we must consistently strive to improve people’s lives, health services and public health policy. To do this, we must address the social determinants of health and we are working with other faculties at UNSW, such as built environment and law, to do this.

If you have a genuine passion for the health of populations, if you care about inequities in health, and if you want to strengthen health systems, join us at the SPHCM. Together we can make an impact.

Please look through these pages to learn about the breadth and depth of our teaching and research, and I hope we can welcome you into the UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

Professor Rebecca Ivers
Head of School
School of Public Health and Community Medicine