The School of Public Health and Community Medicine and the University recognise the unique position of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s culture and history. That Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have inhabited Australia for well over 50,000 years and that their unique cultures and identities are bound up with the land and sea. We acknowledge that the Aboriginal people, the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples of the Eora Nation, are the original owners of the lands occupied and used by our school. In so doing it is important that the special position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s First Peoples is recognised and incorporated into the activities of the school. The School of Public Health and Community Medicine seeks to achieve this through observing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols and the provision of services and programs appropriate to UNSW’s Indigenous medical students and other students who are focussed on Indigenous health and wellbeing. We are proud to offer a Master of Public Health Specialisation in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing, tailored for people interested in pursuing a career in Indigenous health.
Vision and mission
SPHCM is a leader in academic excellence, global impact and social engagement. We have the oldest and largest Health Management program in Australia, and one of the largest public health and international public health programs. Public health and community medicine are different but related disciplines, which have key elements in common that bring us together as a School. These include a concern beyond the individual, an interest in the societal context in which health care is provided, strengthening of health systems, health leadership and a commitment to equity and social justice. Public health is a powerful tool with which we can bring some equality into an unequal world. For example, vaccination programs protect the entire community, even those who are unvaccinated through herd immunity effects, regardless of socioeconomic status. Where there is poverty, inequity and suffering, public health can make a difference, and Australia has a very strong tradition and culture of public health and programs for the public good. In health management, we seek to achieve health system strengthening, translation of evidence into policy and practice, and leadership skills in health management, building on our long track record and reputation in training health managers in Australia and our region. Our programs are closely linked to our research, and we strive to be relevant to practice and policy. We are aligned with the UNSW 10 year strategy in academic excellence, global impact and social engagement.
Equity and DIversity
We make a commitment to equity and diversity within SPHCM and were one of the first schools at UNSW to form a committee on Equity and Diversity. Our faculty and student body are extremely diverse, including people of many races and religions, LGBTIQ and a good gender balance. We celebrate this diversity with regular events within SPHCM. For example, we have a monthly "Language Lunch" where staff and students come together to learn conversational languages other than English. We value all staff and students and do not accept discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or any other aspect of human diversity. We want all staff and students to feel safe, accepted and welcome at SPHCM. As a woman of colour and the only non-white Head of School in UNSW Medicine, I know first hand what discrimination is, and that it is not always blatant or obvious, especially to those who have never experienced it and do not understand the impact it has on individuals. We have more females than males at professorial level at SPHCM, which is diffeerent to many other schools and universities - UNSW is striving to achieve at least 50% gender balance at senior levels. All staff at UNSW are required to complete the Unconscious Bias training provided by UNSW, which is a great new requirement introduced in 2016.
Personalised, flexible delivery
We understand that students have different needs. Some prefer to be on campus and have a face-to-face experience, while others are working full time or have otherwise busy lives and prefer online learning. We pride ourselves in excellence in all modes of delivery. We are leaders in online education, having delivered our programs online for nearly a decade. We offer students the choice of doing their postgraduate coursework degree fully online, fully face-to-face or in blended mode, in whatever mix of modes best suits their lifestyle and needs. Our approach to online learning is innovative, interactive and engaging, using the Moodle platform and many other add-ons to enhance your learning experience. Our dedicated team of instructional designers and educational design experts work with academics to ensure the highest quality of our courses and that our online students get an equivalent learning experience to face-to-face students.
At SPHCM, our teaching and training is designed to be applied, practical and relevant to the workforce. We believe that academic learning should be relevant to the workplace, and to enhance these links, we offer internships for our coursework masters programs. We offer a range of domestic and international internship placements in Australia, Asia and the Pacific. We also have the elite UNSW Future Health Leaders Program, a work-place based program leading to a professional doctorate. We are the first choice of employers who want work-ready graduates. We offer a suite of courses in public health, international public health and health management. We offer dual degree and extension options which are in high demand. Students interested in health management can also do a dual degree and receive our MHM with a MBA from SRM university in India. Our graduate Summer School in public health and health management can be taken by coursework students, but also as stand-alone courses for professional up-skilling. We provide flexible learning opportunities with face-to-face and distance education options, as well as a mix of short courses and semester long courses. We also have a major role in teaching within the UNSW Medicine Program. UNSW SPHCM is also a founding member of the ARM network, and a member of the WHO Global Outbreak Response Network. Our other links with WHO include running a WHO course on managing communicable diseases during humanitarian emergencies.
We also have the oldest, and one of the most respected health management program in Australia, which has produced many health leaders and managers across Australia and the world. Academics within SPHCM are experts in consumer engagement, teamwork, innovative approaches to workplace change including practice development, workplace learning and development, human resource management, health economics and the quality and safety of care. We are therefore ideally placed to meet the needs of Australian and international health managers faced with complex, ever changing environments for the delivery of effective health services. Our alumni network occupy senior leadership positions nationally and internationally. 2016 is the 60th anniversary of the UNSW Health Management program.
Our largest areas of research strength are in global health, primary health care, infectious diseases epidemiology, social research and health systems leadership & management. We have expertise in many other areas. Some of the other highlights in our school include the Football United program and our strength in health promotion.
For research students, we have a wide range of research courses and projects. We are very strong in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, with a mix of social scientists, qualitative researchers, clinical researchers, epidemiologists and mathematical modellers at SPHCM. We have a strong track record in attracting research funding from NHMRC, ARC and other agencies, with a NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Population Heath. We have several NHMRC funded research fellows within SPHCM conducting a range of exciting research programs.
A community of practice
Academia is not an ivory tower, but should be deeply connected and relevant to the world we live in and to sustainable futures. We believe advocacy, engagement and impact matter. At SPHCM we get involved when it matters. For example, we convened a national symposium on the health and human rights of asylum seekers at a time when this issue was highly topical and controversial. During the 2014 Ebola epidemic, students and staff came together to form the UNSW Alliance Against Ebola, which not only raised funds for the West African response to Ebola, but also provided a focal point for students and staff to unite, support each other and mobilise. During the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, again students and staff came together for a day of action to raise funds for the earthquake relief efforts. Other staff and students have been involved in climate change and environmental health advocacy, and in many other areas of importance.
This is the school to be at if you have a genuine passion for the health of populations, if you care about the inequities in health in our world, if you seek to improve and strengthen health systems, and if you want to make a difference. The people in this school are unified by a common belief in the power of education and research to bring about change in health systems and population wellbeing. We embrace our important role in mentoring and shaping the future leaders in the field. Browse these pages and 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.
Public health experts stand by for disaster A flying squad of Australian public health specialists has been officially launched, bringing together for the first time leading public health experts who can rush to emergencies to stop the spread of infectious diseases. Known as the ARM network (Australian Response Masters of Applied Epidemiology), the group of doctors, nurses, vets, scientists and public health officials is on standby for emergencies in Australia and for requests from the World Health Organization and other international bodies to respond to infectious diseases emergencies. <See full story>