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The journey of an aspiring researcher


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Cleveland State University, Levin College of Public Affairs

The students who enrol in Menzies’ courses learn from researchers and public health practitioners who are actively addressing critical issues such as mental health, nutrition, substance abuse, child health and development, as well as chronic diseases such as cancer, kidney disease and heart disease. In partnership with Charles Darwin University, Menzies offers three master’s coursework programs with embedded research projects that have been designed in response to major public health challenges in Northern and Central Australia, and neighbouring international regions. Choosing Menzies was therefore an obvious choice for Aditi.

Aditi has always been passionate about healthcare, so pursued a doctorate in pharmacy in her home country of India. Close to completion, she witnessed the world hit by a pandemic that would debilitate economies, shut down countries and cause millions of deaths. As the number of COVID-19 cases climbed, cities went into lockdown and Aditi had to complete her exams online. At this time, she truly began to realise the shortage of epidemiologists required to comprehend and mitigate the spread of the virus — especially in India. “This is why I decided to switch careers,” she says.

As a pharmacist, Aditi's training focused on drug research and development. However, the novel nature of COVID-19 meant that there were no existing drugs available to combat the virus. Aditi realised the importance of public health policy, the crucial role that research plays in improving healthcare outcomes and how professionals who specialised in these areas could be more effective in combating this pandemic and the ones to come. Determined to make a difference, she decided to pursue the Master of Public Health/Master of Health Research at Menzies.

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The Master of Public Health/Master of Health Research double degree equips students with the tools to investigate, critique and respond to real-world population health problems in local and global contexts. It also grows advanced knowledge and skills in health research design and evidence-based practice.

Two degrees, greater impact

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Commencing her studies online, after a month, international borders finally reopened, and Aditi was on her way to Darwin to study with Menzies. There, she discovered that keen guidance and unwavering support were not just reserved for virtual learners — these were part of the signature Menzies package.

“Everyone was helpful,” she says. “They provided me with books and my lecturers were incredibly welcoming. I could ask them a question about anything, and they would always have a helpful answer. With their support, I quickly got used to the process of completing my assessments and to life on campus.”

“I know anything will be possible thanks to my dual degree. Next semester, I will be working on a research project that will certainly help me assess my research skills. Then, I will come to a decision.”

“With my newfound knowledge, I would love to be a peer researcher or pursue a career in public health policy,” she says.

While all classes have been enlightening, it's the research design course that gave Aditi a better idea of what she wanted to achieve professionally. This course exposed her to various research methods, including the different world views present in articles and publications. More importantly, it gave her an understanding of the basics of research, such as how it should be conducted and the ethical issues that researchers must consider.

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Aditi spent her first semester focusing on global health, epidemiology, and health policy. These topics gave her significant insight into the broad field of public health. This semester, she’s exploring environmental policy and Indigenous health — both of which have piqued her interest. The first taught her how environmental policies can impact health outcomes and how they can be used to mitigate the risks associated with environmental hazards. The latter opened her eyes to the importance of culturally responsive healthcare and policies that consider the unique needs and perspectives of Indigenous populations.

Sparking new passions

“It could be a mixed method study or qualitative research. I am also interested in G6PD deficiency and gestational diabetes, which is something a lot of women suffer from. I can only choose one, but I’m sure my research guide will help me make the right decision.”

“Right now, I’m considering studying the mental health of parents whose children suffer from autism,” Aditi says.

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Master of Public Health/Master of Health Research students apply their knowledge by conducting a research project under the guidance of an expert in the field. This hands-on opportunity enables them to consolidate their learning and gain hands-on experience within the context of public health and health research. The guidance of one of Menzies research experts ensures that the project is well-designed and executed, leading to meaningful and relevant outcomes.

Advancing knowledge through practical application

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Although Aditi is uncertain about which career path she will take after graduation, one thing is certain: she is determined to use her education to make a positive impact on communities in her home country India. With her passion for public health and health research, she hopes to address key issues facing underserved populations and contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of those in need. Before that, she hopes to gain some professional experience in Australia — an endeavour she’s excited about and believes will better equip her to serve her people.

Inspired and ready to uplift

An enriching education awaits at the Menzies School of Health Research

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Master of Public Health/Master of Health Research CRICOS Course Code: 103123K. CRICOS Provider No. 00300K (NT/VIC) | 03286A (NSW) | RTO Provider No. 0373 | TEQSA Provider ID PRV12069