School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Internship (PHCM9143)

Prof Peter Smith & Prof Raina MacIntyre with SPHCM interns Dr Abela Mahimbo and Ms Alison Kerr at WHO SEARO

The internship program provides students with the opportunity to gain real-world experience in a relevant organisation through a workplace internship.

Dr Holly Seale gives an overview about the Internship Program – Listen to students talk about their experience. Internship video slides can also be accessed here:

image - Internship  SPHCM Internship program video slides

The internship course (6UOC) aims to provide students enrolled in the school’s  Master’s programs  with the opportunity to gain real-world experience in a relevant health organisation through a workplace internship of 6 weeks full-time equivalent duration (168 hours). 

During the course, interns will have an opportunity to make valuable contributions to organisational healthcare initiatives that may involve areas such as policy, planning, and evaluation associated with the delivery of healthcare services, or the preparation, appraisal, implementation or evaluation of health related projects. The activities and focus of the internship placement will be relevant to the organisation and student and can be either project or normal operations-based.

On successful completion of the internship placement, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate capacity to contribute to an organisation within the parameters of an agreed internship placement
  • Identify and delineate a significant practice based area for inquiry and focus, within the internship placement
  • Systematically collect and synthesise relevant information about the practice based area of inquiry drawing on relevant literature and workplace activities and experiences
  • Analyse, interpret and evaluate the outcomes from engagement with the practice based area of inquiry
  • Demonstrate capacity for self and professional reflection
  • Provide a reflexive interpretation on the implications for future professional practice drawing upon the internship experience and relevant themes within the Master’s program

This is a merit based course and placements will be awarded based on the outcomes of a written application and interview. In order to be eligible to enrol, students must have completed at least 24 units of credit (UOC) prior to enrolling and achieved at least a credit point average.

Internship Application Process

All applications must be submitted in soft copy to  Please ensure to attach the following:

  • Completed Internship application form
  • Academic Statement from myUNSW
  • Personal Statement of 500 words clearly explaining why you are applying for the internship program and what you hope to achieve by completing an internship
  • CV

Deadline for Applications: Monday, 27 November 2017 @ 9am

Please note: Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Prior to commencing on the placement, students will be required to meet with the course convenor to discuss their placement including timing, responsibilities, OHS and risk management etc. The student will also be required to complete the relevant paperwork prior to departure i.e. risk assessment forms. The following costs will be the responsibility of the student: travel to and from the placement, accommodation (if applicable), visa/immunization (if applicable), food and other sundries etc. Items of expenditure connected with the completion of placement tasks will be borne by the organisation. Interns will not receive any remuneration.

Further Enquiries can be directed to Vanessa Green via



Since the SPHCM commenced offering the opportunity to undertake an internship, students have attended a range of placements including:

1. Within Australia:

  • Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Health Care (Clinical Care Standards Program)
  • Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Partnering with Consumers Program
  • Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine
  • Cancer Council – NSW
  • Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation (CHETRE)
  • Family Planning NSW
  • Fitness Australia
  • Football United, SPHCM
  • HammondCare – Centre for Positive Ageing and Care
  • Health Protection NSW, NSW Health
  • HIV/AIDS & Related Programs Unit
  • Integrated Systems in Epidemic Response (ISER) – NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence
  • Medibank Private
  • NSW Refugee Health Service
  • Red Cross Australia
  • South Eastern Sydney Local Health District – Community Partnerships Unit
  • SWSLHD/UNSW General Practice Unit
  • Sydney Sexual Health Centre
  • The Albion Centre, SES LHD, NSW Health
  • The Fred Hollows Foundation
  • The Sax Institute
  • World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centre for eHealth, SPHCM
  • Yunus Social Business Health Hub, UNSW Sydney

2. Overseas:

  • Fiji – Pacific Community (SPC) – Non-communicable Diseases team, Suva
  • India – Apollo Medvarsity, Hyderabad
  • India – SRM Medical College Hospital and Research Centre, Department of Community Medicine, SRM University Chennai, Tamil Nadu
  • Malaysia – United Nations University, International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH), Kuala Lumpur
  • New Caledonia – The Pacific Community (SPC) – Statistics for Development Division (SDD) – Noumea
  • Sri Lanka – National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS), Ministry of Health, Colombo
  • Sri Lanka – Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health, Colombo
  • Switzerland – World Health Organization (WHO) – Global Influenza Programme, Geneva

Occasionally, placements may change or become unavailable due to issues beyond the control of the SPHCM.

Placements vary per semester, please contact Vanessa Green via for a current list of placements. 


Internship Student Profiles

Find out what students have to say about their experiences in our internship program. Click on the names below to read testimonials about what they enjoyed in their program and how it will make a difference to their careers.

Kathryn Kirk

Kathryn Kirk

Master of International Public Health

I completed an Internship with the Fred Hollows Foundation – Sydney head office as part of my Master of International Public Health. The main reasons I enrolled in the internship was to put the knowledge and skills learnt in the degree into practice and establish networks in the field of International Public Health.


Image - Aditya Vyas



Aditya Vyas

Master of Public Health (International Health Specialisation)

I was initially drawn to the internship program by the high calibre placements on offer. I was placed with the Emergency and Humanitarian Action Unit, South East Asia Regional Office, World Health Organization, New Delhi, India. I also wanted to fully realise the Master of Public Health stream I had enrolled in (International Health) with some practical developing world experience. The internship program was a perfect way to blend my global health aspirations with practical and academic work – the internship counted as six units of credit towards my MPH.


Jananie Balendran WHO Internship



Jananie Balendran

Master of International Public Health

My internship experience at the WHO has already altered my career plans and encouraged me to direct my energy into a specific public health area I am quite passionate about. Additionally, having come from a largely clinical background, working for a UN organisation has provided me with a differing perspective on how to drive change within the public health field. I believe this directed public health focus combined with the leadership and management skills I learnt from working within a large global organisation will hold me in good stead for my future career.


image - Internship Student Profiles


Alison Kerr

Master of International Public Health / Master of Public Health (Dual Degree)

I am currently studying a Master of International Public Health (MIPH) and Master of Public Health (MPH). I have significant experience working clinically in health, but public health is a new area for me. I enrolled in the internship program as I thought it would provide an amazing opportunity to consolidate knowledge I had learnt in the MIPH/MPH program, with practical experience. The opportunity to undertake the internship in India appealed to me, as this would expose me to a different culture and environment than I was used to – something I think is necessary to truly understand the term ‘international public health’. 


image - Internship Student Profiles


Abela Mahimbo

Master of Public Health / Master of Health Management (Dual Degree)

I had the prestigious opportunity to do a Master of Public Health / Health Management degree at UNSW. Coming from a clinical background, I had limited experience and exposure to the field of public health. I was excited at the commencement of the internship program at WHO SEARO offices as I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to gain hands on experience on issues pertinent to public health.



Key Contacts

Dr Holly Seale (Domestic placements)
Course Convenor
T +61 (2) 9385 3129

Dr Padmanesan Narasimhan (International placements)
Course Convenor
T +61 (2) 9385 3944

David Muscatello (International placements)
Course Convenor
T +61 (2) 9385 8659

Vanessa Green
T +61 (2) 9385 1928