A close up of water falling on to a pair of hands. Photo: Unsplash

Social justice at the heart of new one-year Master of Public Health

Social justice at the heart of new one-year Master of Public Health

New degree developed with industry leaders to reflect public health in modern society

A greater focus on Indigenous health, use of big data, and a deeper understanding of how public health intersects with social justice are three of the new specialisations that will underpin the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) redesigned one-year Master of Public Health.

The postgraduate degree, which will open to students in 2023, can be studied completely online or on campus. The new Master of Public Health will help students refine their area of public health focus by offering a range of specialisations including Social Contexts, Big Data, Indigenous Health and Research.

Quite uniquely in Australian programs, the degree also has an option available to all students to take an extended work placement, which supports graduates in developing the skills they need to enter the workforce. Even if they do not take up the option of a work placement, the course is designed to ensure all students learn through working on real-world problems.

Professor Patricia M. Davidson, Vice-Chancellor and President of UOW, said public health is the linchpin of a healthy, functioning society, and understanding the role that social justice issues plays in public health is fundamental to growth and development of future generations.

“Public health does not exist in a vacuum. Our health, and the choices we make, are a product of our background, our socioeconomic status, and our environment. Understanding the nexus between these concepts is fundamental to helping our graduates make a real difference to our health and wellbeing. This is particularly important for helping to close the gap and deliver better outcomes for First Nations people,” Professor Davidson said.

Professor Annette Braunack-Mayer, Head of the School of Health and Society at UOW, is delighted with the new Master of Public Health.

“In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a greater understanding of just how important public health is to our society and to our own daily lives. Our new Master of Public Health has been designed in close collaboration with our industry partners across government, not-for-profits, and the private sector to connect our students to the big public health challenges of our time,” Professor Braunack-Mayer said.

“We are proud of our degree and can’t wait to welcome students to the course next year.”

For more information about the Master of Public Health or to find out how to apply, visit: https://www.uow.edu.au/study/social-sciences-advocacy/master-public-health/ 

A public webinar, titled The Future of Public Health: Challenges and Opportunities, was held on Thursday 1 December 2022. During the webinar, Professor Davidson spoke to a panel of experts about the public health challenges of our time and in the future. 

The panel comprised Professor Stacy Carter, Director of the Australian Centre for Health Engagement, Evidence and Values at UOW; Senior Professor Anthony Okely, from UOW’s Early Start Research Institute and Global Leader of the Sunrise Study; Associate Professor Marlene Longbottom, Principal Research Fellow of the Ngarruwan Ngadju First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre; and Dr Tanya Buchanan, CEO of Cancer Council Australia.