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Posts Tagged ‘Master of Public Health’

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

JCU to fight disabling tropical diseases with WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has picked James Cook University as a partner to battle diseases that kill more than a million people and make more than a billion people sick every year.

JCU to fight disabling tropical diseases with WHO

The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (Image: JCU)

JCU’s College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences (CPHMVS) has been designated a WHO Collaborating Centre for Vector-borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases (VBDs and NTDs)—recognising a long history of collaboration with WHO and providing a formal framework for future joint activities.

For the past 20 years JCU has been a WHO Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) for the Control of Lymphatic Filariasis, Soil-Transmitted Helminths and other Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Professor Peter Leggat, co-Director of the new WHOCC said the new designation means JCU will be broadening its remit to include the control of some of the world’s most neglected tropical diseases, such as dengue and leprosy.

“We are thrilled to be working ever more closely with WHO and our network of partners towards controlling and eliminating some of these serious tropical diseases. The designation reflects our historic contributions to WHO, and our broad expertise and deep commitment in the field,” he said.

“Through the CPHMVS and the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), JCU has established itself as a leading academic centre globally in education and research in tropical health and medicine,” said Professor Leggat.

“The WHOCC’s expertise will be extremely valuable in supporting WHO’s capacity to implement its mandated work in the global control of tropical diseases, for example in its long-term vision of a world free from blinding trachoma and leprosy,” he said.

“The burden caused by vector borne diseases, which account for 1/6th of human illnesses and disability suffered worldwide, and neglected tropical diseases, many of which are carried by vectors like mosquitoes and ticks, account for at least 11% of the global burden of disease. Some of them occur in tropical and subtropical Australia, such as trachoma, intestinal worms and dengue,” said Professor Maxine Whittaker, co-Director of the new WHOCC.

“We know that neglected tropical diseases affect neglected populations: the 1.4 billion people who are classified as the world’s poorest, and for whom accessible health services, clean water and good sanitation, are not available. Every year there are more than 1 billion cases and over 1 million deaths from vector-borne diseases, globally,” she said.

Professor Whittaker said the college will support WHO’s capacity building priorities for effective control of vector borne and neglected tropical diseases, including the scale-up and evaluation of WHO-recommended surveillance and response, control and elimination strategies.

“In addition to their impact on health, vector borne and neglected tropical diseases contribute to an immense social and economic burden and can perpetuate the cycle of poverty. However, many of these diseases are easily preventable, and may be eliminated with improved water and sanitation, vector control, and universally accessible primary health care, as part of the sustainable development goals.

“The WHOCC will support a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to people’s health and well-being,” said Professor Whittaker.

She said JCU will also continue to work in the field of elimination of lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis).

Professor Whittaker said in addition to the invaluable work of providing assistance to affected countries and peoples, the WHOCC has the potential to provide placements and work integrated learning opportunities for JCU students as well as research education and research collaborations.

Professor Peter Leggat, AM, is Professor in Public Health and Tropical Medicine and currently President of The Australasian College of Tropical Medicine.

Professor Maxine Whittaker is the Dean of the College and Deputy Director of the AITHM.

JCU has one of the largest postgraduate programs in public health in Australia with more than 900 students enrolled. Courses include a popular Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine program and these courses have received national and international recognition.

Study medicine at JCU Medical School

Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Semester intake: February each year
Duration: 6 years

Study public health at JCU

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Semester intake: February and July each year
Duration: 1.5 years

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Discover more about studying medicine or public health at Australia’s Tropical University, JCU!

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Sydney School of Public wants to know if dogs make people happier

The effect of dog ownership on adult human health is the focus of a new pilot study by the University of Sydney.

Sydney School of Public wants to know if dogs make people happier

Do dogs make people feel happy?

Led by Associate Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the Charles Perkins Centre and Sydney School of Public Health, the research team is seeking 100 non-dog owners to participate in the trial—people who are considering owning a dog as well as those who have no interest in doing so.

“Dog ownership is very popular in Australia with over 40 percent of households owning at least one dog,” Associate Professor Stamatakis said. “While anecdotal evidence suggests dog ownership is beneficial for human health, there is currently scant scientific evidence to back up this perception.

“Our research will provide valuable insight into the health benefits of dog ownership which could support programs promoting and enabling dog ownership as a means to increase physical activity, improve general health and prevent cardiovascular and mental illness.”

Differences in physical activity, cardiovascular and metabolic health, and psychosocial well-being will be assessed for three groups: participants who acquire a dog within one month, after an eight-month waiting period, or do not adopt at all.

Over the course of eight months, participants in the Physical & Affective Wellbeing Study of dog owners (PAWS) pilot will be asked to complete a small number of questionnaires over the phone and visit the Charles Perkins Centre or be visited at home three times for some simple physical measurements.

“These initial results will also inform the methods of a much larger trial, the first controlled trial to examine the health effect of ‘real world’ dog ownership,” Associate Professor Stamatakis explained.

What is public health?

Public health is society’s response to threats to the collective health of its citizens. Public health practitioners work to enhance and protect the health of populations by identifying their health problems and needs, and providing programs and services to address these needs. Studying in this field as an international student gives Canadians an understanding of the public health realm on an international scale, making Australia a top choice for Canadians.

At the Sydney School of Public Health, the Master of Public Health program is open to students from health and non-health backgrounds. Public health is

  • preventing disease;
  • promoting health; and
  • prolonging life.

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intakes: March and July
Duration: 1 year
Application deadline: Candidates are encouraged to apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Entry Requirements: A successful applicant for admission to the program requires

  • a minimum four-year full time degree or equivalent qualification from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification; or
  • a shorter degree from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification, and non-degree professional qualifications and/or substantial relevant experience and/or other relevant qualifications.

Apply to the Sydney Public Health School!

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If you have any questions about studying at the Sydney School of Public Health, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

New Master of Public Health offered at Macquarie University

OzTREKK is pleased to announce that Macquarie University has introduced a Master of Public Health!

New Master of Public Health offered at Macquarie University

Study public health at Macquarie University

The Department of Health Systems and Populations within the faculty of Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences will offer a Master of Public Health from 2017. Inter-disciplinary public health specialisations will be available in health law, ethics, and policy; health leadership; environmental health; global health; and research.

This is the perfect professional degree to engage in for a 21st-century approach to education and practice aimed at preventing disease, promoting health, and supporting healthy lives in a globalised world.

Career Opportunities

Studies in public health prepare you for careers in

  • health education
  • health promotion
  • research and policy development
  • project management
  • public health
  • health and community administration
  • advocacy and non-government organisations
  • international health and development
  • Public Health Clinical Practice

Examples of titles held by Master of Public Health graduates include (but are not limited to):

  • Public Health Specialist
  • Public Health Intelligence Officer
  • Health Partnership Program Manager
  • Epidemiologist
  • Health Data Analyst
  • Project Coordinator
  • Senior Legal Policy Advisor (Health)
  • Public Health Advisor

Potential employers include government, non-governmental organisations, business, public health clinical or community settings, multilateral aid organisations, or other groups concerned with health, human rights, indigenous issues, environmental health, health leadership, and/or development.

Graduates of the Master of Public Health research specialisation interested in pursuing further higher degree research would also be well-equipped to do so, and to move further into a research career.

Master of Public Health Specialisations

Students undertaking this course can choose from the following Master of Public Health specialisations:

  • Environmental Health
  • Global Health
  • Health Law, Ethics and Policy
  • Health Leadership

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: North Ryde, Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intakes: February and July
Duration: 1.5 – 2 years
Application deadline: Candidates are encouraged to apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Apply to the Macquarie University Public Health School!

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If you have any questions about studying at Macquarie University and the Master of Public Health program, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

Study at the Sydney School of Public Health

Public health is
•   Preventing disease
•   Promoting health
•   Prolonging life

How do we encourage a more physically active population? How can we campaign to reduce tobacco use? How do we influence health policy?

Public health analyses and acts upon the problems that prevent us from enjoying a good healthy life. Achieving these goals comes in many forms: generating knowledge of the public health problem, advocating for change and solutions, and helping implement those changes. Above all, public health is about people – often the most vulnerable in our communities – giving them the power of education and programs which will improve their health, prevent diseases and prolong their lives.

Every day, graduates from the Sydney School of Public Health are making a difference to the lives of people in Australia and across the globe.

Sydney public health students and alumni talk about what drew them to the field, and where their postgraduate studies are taking them.

Learning opportunities are aimed at developing the essential knowledge and required skills of practitioners in the practice of public health, including the effective management of community health problems to improve conditions and outcomes. The programs are offered at a graduate diploma and master’s degree level with an emphasis on a modern approach to improving health outcomes within disadvantaged and developing communities.

With a large number of units of study to choose from, you can tailor the program to suit your individual needs. You may choose to take a variety of subjects or study subjects within one of five pathways:

  1. Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Communicable Disease)
  2. Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Injury)
  3. Public Health Research
  4. Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Chronic Disease)
  5. Health Economics/Health Policy

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intakes: March and July
Duration: 1 year
Application deadline: Candidates are encouraged to apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Entry Requirements: A successful applicant for admission to the Master of Public Health program requires

  • a minimum four-year full time degree or equivalent qualification from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification; or
  • a shorter degree from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification, and non-degree professional qualifications and/or substantial relevant experience and/or other relevant qualifications.

Apply to the Sydney Public Health School!

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If you have any questions about studying at the Sydney School of Public Health, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Sydney public health researchers awarded top grant

Public health researchers at the University of Sydney tackled one of the biggest issues facing modern healthcare: turning healthy people into sick patients due to over-diagnosis and over-treatment made possible by new, highly sensitive screening and diagnostic tests.

Sydney Public health researchers awarded top NHMRC grant

Learn more about Sydney Public Health School

A panel of seven experts explored the hotly debated topics at a public forum from on May 30 at the university.

“We will consider a radical idea that sometimes wiser healthcare means less healthcare. Or at least, less healthcare for people who don’t need it, so we can give more healthcare to people who need it,” said Professor Alexandra Barratt, from the Sydney School of Public Health.

The research team was recently awarded a $2.5-million National Health and Medical Research Council grant to establish a Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) to develop strategies to mitigate the over-diagnosis and over-treatment issues.

“Recently, we have witnessed an explosion of new diagnostic and screening technologies available including advanced imaging, biomarkers and genomic tests. Some of these tests are even marketed directly to the public,” added Professor Barratt, CRE Chief Investigator.

“Ideally these tests improve health by identifying diseases or risks that need to be treated; however, sometimes these tests lead to over-diagnosis and over-treatment which not only harms patients but wastes health resources through unnecessary procedures.

“The CRE will focus on cancer and cardiovascular disease. New diagnostics are already appearing in clinical use in these areas, and these diseases account for a large burden of death, disease and health care spending in Australia.

Public health researcher and ethicist Associate Professor Stacy Carter said, “Most importantly, this research is about improving health outcomes for patients, in Australia and internationally.

“Our findings will assist patients, citizens, healthcare funders and health professionals to adopt helpful new technologies and avoid harmful new technologies to get the best possible outcomes from our healthcare system.”

Health psychologist Professor Kirsten McCaffery said “We are an internationally leading, multidisciplinary team and Australia is at the forefront of this new area of research. This funding puts us in a unique position to continue and expand the world class work we are doing.”

Public Health at the University of Sydney

The public health program at the University of Sydney focuses on the prevention of illness and the promotion of health, with practitioners playing a proactive rather than a reactive role, especially with regard to the coordination of relevant community resources. The program provides the opportunity to develop skills and acquire knowledge essential for the effective practice of public health, including the effective management of community health problems.

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intakes: March and July
Duration: 1 year

Apply to the Sydney Public Health School!

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If you have any questions about studying public health at the University of Sydney, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Friday, May 27th, 2016

JCU Master of Public Health / MBA combined degree

James Cook University has an illustrious record in public health education and research. The Public Health and Tropical Medicine discipline at  JCU represents one of the largest graduate public health training programs in Australia, and was one of a select group of academic institutions funded by the Australian Government to assist in training public health professionals.

JCU Master of Public Health / MBA

Study at James Cook University

Within the business discipline, leading-edge postgraduate study areas reflect global industry needs. Strong links to industry  and government agencies enhance opportunities for students within the program. Students develop leadership skills in the  management of people, organisations and change.

The joint Master of Public Health / Master of Business Administration degree enables health professionals to gain advanced management skills while undertaking further study in the area of their specialisation.

The program aims to develop the following knowledge and skills:

  • Understanding current major health and management issues, managing information and human financial resources within health care delivery organisations
  • Critical analysis by health managers in the context of national and global economic and political environments
  • Identification and analysis of management issues in health care delivery organisations and the identification of appropriate solutions

Program: Master of Public Health / Master of Business Administration
Campus: Townsville
Duration: 2 years
Semester intakes: February and July
Application deadline: Candidates are encouraged to apply a minimum of three months prior to the program start date.

Apply to James Cook University Public Health School!

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Learn more about studying public health at James Cook University. Please email OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

JCU academic flying high

James Cook University academic Professor Peter Leggat was recently elected to the International Academy of Aviation and Space Medicine.

Full Members of the Academy or Academicians are selected for their outstanding contribution to aerospace medicine or recognise the eminent position they hold in this field or both. Full Membership is limited to 250 globally.

JCU Public Health School

Study aeromedical retrieval at JCU

“It is a great honour to be selected by the Academy,” Professor Leggat said. “It was a special privilege to know that my Academy nomination was championed by two of Australia’s leading aerospace medicine specialists,” he added.

The Academy was founded in 1955, its objective being the promotion and search for new knowledge in aerospace medicine, as well as contributing to international co-operation among those devoted to education and research in this particular field.

Aerospace medicine includes aviation and space medicine, the fields of medicine concerned with the maintenance of health, safety and performance of all those involved in aviation and space travel, in particular pilots and aircrew, but also all those involved in spaceflight.

Professor Leggat is currently Professor and Deputy Dean in the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences at JCU. The College conducts one of the largest postgraduate public health programs in Australia, including specialisations in fields such as tropical and travel medicine, aeromedical retrieval and disaster health.

Professor Leggat is also the Dean of Education of The Australasian College of Aerospace Medicine, a professional organisation that oversees training and recognition of doctors working in aerospace medicine.

He will be invested as an Academician at a ceremony in Rome in 2017.

JCU Master of Public Health in Aeromedical Retrieval

The Master of Public Health (MPH) at JCU enables health professionals to gain postgraduate qualifications in the public health sector and is designed to serve the needs of health professionals in rural and remote areas, particularly in the tropics. JCU offers majors in Aeromedical Retrieval, Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness, Communicable Disease Control, and Health Promotion.

Graduates with an MPH Aeromedical Retrieval major will also be able to integrate and apply an advanced body of theoretical and technical knowledge in the discipline of public health, with depth in the epidemiology, history, physiological effects, and management of patients undergoing aeromedical retrieval in a range of aircraft and settings including the impact of ethical, cultural, legal and financial issues.

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 1.5 years
Application deadline: While there is no set application deadline for this program, applicants are strongly encouraged by the university to submit their applications a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Entry requirements: In order to be considered for JCU’s Master of Public Health, applicants must

  • have completed an undergraduate degree in a related field; or
  • provide evidence of professional and academic attainments, including employment for a minimum of five years in health-related activities, as meets the approval of the faculty.

Apply to James Cook University Public Health School!

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Would you like more information about studying public health at James Cook University? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith: adam@oztrekk.com.

Friday, March 18th, 2016

Monash University at the forefront of consumer rights in public health

World Consumer Rights Day (March 15) is an annual occasion for celebration and solidarity within the international consumer movement—a movement that is vital in public health and medicine. The theme for 2016 is antibiotic resistance.

Monash University’s Adjunct Associate Professor Ken Harvey has been involved in combating antibiotic resistance for over 30 years. He was a founding member, and at various times author, Chair of the Antibiotic Writing Group and Board Member of Therapeutic Guidelines Limited. Recognising that pharmaceutical promotion was also a driving force for inappropriate antibiotic use, he has also been a prolific campaigner for truth in drug advertising.

Monash University Public Health School

What’s the truth in drug advertising?

Dr Harvey is an organiser and speaker at a seminar on the Advertising of Therapeutic Goods and Services to be held at the University of Sydney on March 17, 2016; one of a series of events celebrating WCRD.

“The seminar will explore the number of current policy issues associated with the advertising of therapeutic goods and services in Australia that warrant debate,” Associate Professor Harvey said.

Associate Professor Harvey, from the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, has a long-standing research interest in medicinal drug policy and, more recently the promotion of complementary and alternative medicine.

“Few consumers understand that most complementary medicines (labelled AUST L) are not evaluated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration to see if they work. In addition, there are no effective sanctions for misleading promotion,” Associate Professor Harvey said.

He said that the escalating use of vitamins and supplements represents a triumph of marketing hype over science and that mandatory labelling of complementary medicines (‘this product has not been evaluated by Australian health authorities to see if it works’), as well as legislation for timely and meaningful sanctions for advertising violations should be introduced.

“There is also a need for increased and better targeted post-marketing surveillance and reporting by the Therapeutic Goods Administration,” Associate Professor Harvey said.

In addition, there is concern that some groups of health professionals have uncritically embraced diagnostic and therapeutic modalities that lack evidence and put consumers at risk.  At the forthcoming seminar, Associate Professor Harvey will present a case study of unlawful advertising claims made by chiropractic clinics and the belated response by the Chiropractic Board of Australia to address such claims.

The School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash has organised and supported the seminar together with the University of Sydney, the Foundation for Effective Markets and Governance, Choice (Australian Consumers’ Organisation) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Civil society organisations represented include the Consumers Health Forum, Friends of Science in Medicine, Australian Skeptics, Doctors Reform Society and Stop the Australian (Anti) Vaccination Network.

Monash University Public Health School

With diverse leadership, across four campuses, the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine is the faculty’s principal source of skills in epidemiology (including clinical epidemiology), biostatistics and large scale clinical data-management.  The school emphasizes expertise in large epidemiological studies, multicentre clinical trials, clinical registries, evidence synthesis and health social science.

The Master of Public Health a 12-unit public health program provides students with the full range of quantitative, analytical and communication skills necessary to work in the broad domain of public health. It especially focuses on developing skills in the quantitative methods of the population-based health sciences and their problem-solving application for primary care provision both in Australia and for developing countries.

Health specialisation streams are offered in

  • Clinical Research Methods
  • Health Economics
  • Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Health Services Management
  • International Health
  • Occupational and Environmental Health
  • Research

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Melbourne, Victoria
Semester intake: February
Duration: 1.5 years
Application deadline: While there is no set application deadline, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Entry Requirements: Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree. With an application, students should also submit a 250-word statement of purpose outlining their area of interest and the reason why they would like to complete the course, and an updated curriculum vitae/resume outlining relevant work experience.

Apply to Monash University Public Health School!

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For more information about studying at the Monash University School of Public Health, contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at 1-866-698-7355 or adam@oztrekk.com.

Friday, March 11th, 2016

JCU professor honoured as a Fulbright Ambassador

James Cook University’s Professor Peter Leggat AM has been selected as a Fulbright Ambassador.

James Cook University public health

Prof Peter Leggat AM

Professor Leggat is one of 27 distinguished Australians based in Australia and in the United States (US) selected for a new flagship initiative by the Australian American Fulbright Commission, which awards prestigious Fulbright Scholarships for study in the US.

He received his certificate of appointment as a Fulbright Ambassador from the Hon. Steve Herbert, Minister for Training and Skills Victoria, and the US Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr John Berry, at the Fulbright Presentation ceremony honouring 2016 Fulbright Scholars held in Melbourne on Feb. 25.

“It was an honour to be selected as an Inaugural Fulbright Ambassador,” Professor Leggat said.

“Fulbright Ambassadors will contribute to enhancing and promoting the Fulbright Scholarship Program, and help to strengthen cultural and academic exchange between Australia and the US,” he said.

“I am looking forward to further championing the Fulbright Scholarship program, particularly here in northern Queensland.”

Professor Leggat is the only Fulbright Ambassador selected based in Queensland and his initial term will run for two years over 2016 – 2017.

Established 66 years ago, the Australian American Fulbright Commission hosts the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship program, which aims to promote educational and cultural exchange between Australia and the US as well as support research and study by Australians in the US and the by Americans in Australia.

As a measure of the prestige and impact of the program, there have been more Nobel Prize winners (54) among Fulbright Scholarship alumni than from any other exchange program.

Professor Leggat, himself a former Fulbright Scholar, is based in the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences in Townsville.

James Cook University Public Health School

JCU has one of the largest postgraduate programs in public health in Australia with more than 800 students enrolled. Courses include a popular disaster and humanitarian health specialisation at Graduate Certificate and Masters level and these courses have received national and international recognition.

The Master of Public Health at James Cook University enables health professionals to gain postgraduate qualifications in the public health sector and is designed to serve the needs of health professionals in rural and remote areas, particularly in the tropics.

There are five majors available within the Master of Public Health: Generic, Aeromedical Retrieval, Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness, Communicable Disease Control and Health Promotion.

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 1.5 years
Application deadline: While there is no set application deadline, candidates are strongly encouraged  to submit their applications a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Entry Requirements

In order to be considered for JCU’s Master of Public Health, applicants must

  • have completed an undergraduate degree in a related field; or
  • provide evidence of other qualifications recognised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine as equivalent to the above; or
  • at the discretion of the Dean of College submission, as an exceptional case, of other evidence of professional and academic attainments, including employment for a minimum of five years in health-related activities.

Apply to James Cook University Public Health School!

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Learn more about studying public health. Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

University of Sydney experts discuss Zika virus

University of Sydney public health experts say a causal relationship between Zika virus infection during pregnancy and microcephaly is strongly suspected but not yet proven as the WHO declared the mosquito-borne virus a global public health threat.

The World Health Organisation Director-General Margaret Chan has declared the outbreak of Zika virus a public health emergency—only the fourth time the WHO has declared a state of emergency.

It’s estimated there are more than four million people living in areas populated by the Yellow Fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), which is responsible for spreading the disease.

University of Sydney Public Health School

Learn more studying at the University of Sydney

Yellow fever mosquito, which is present in far north Queensland, can also spread dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever viruses and other diseases.

The Pan American Health Organisation says that Zika has spread in 24 nations and territories in the Americas, with reports it is rife in Asia.

“Declaring Zika virus a public health emergency has happened relatively early in the outbreak compared to the comparable declaration for Ebola virus,” says Dr Grant Hill-Cawthorne, a medical virologist from the University of Sydney.

Addressing a media conference on Feb. 2, he said the WHO declaration reflects a need by the global community to deal with infectious disease emergencies more rapidly.

“We need to communicate the risks to these people. We need the global community to get on board to aid in control efforts in South America and the other areas affected by the Zika virus.”

The virus is suspected of causing thousand of birth defects in Brazil but no firm causal link has been established. The first reported case of Zika infection was in 1947 in a macaque in Ziika forest, Uganda, after which the virus is also named.

“The emergency alert is a call to arms to focus on research in this area, particularly to establish a clear link between the Zika virus and the reported subsequent birth defects, especially microcephaly, which refers to reduced head size and brain damage,” he said.

Pregnant women travelling to countries with the Zika virus should apply insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin early in the morning, said University of Sydney entomologist, Dr Cameron Webb.

While echoing a federal government warning to reconsider travelling to 22 nations where Zika is transmitted, Dr Webb acknowledged it might be impossible for everyone to avoid or delay their travel plans.

Explaining how transmission of the virus could occur in Australia, Dr Webb said, “What happens is someone steps off the plane, shortly after they arrive in Australia they’re bitten by a local yellow fever mosquito who becomes infected and can pass the virus on to the local community.

“In the absence of the yellow fever mosquito in our major cities, the risk of outbreak are low,” he said. “We do have these mosquitoes in far north Queensland, areas around Cairns and Townsville are the places where we might likely get a small outbreak of Zika virus.”

Dr Webb said that if the virus were to spread to far north Queensland, Australian authorities would be well prepared. The yellow fever mosquito posed a threat to people because it had migrated out of the jungle and into the cities, but it could not survive in the southern states as the winters were too cold, he noted.

“Because 80 per cent of infections are asymptomatic there’s quite a significant likelihood of infected people returning to Australia, but unless they happen to travel to far north Queensland, the risk of them being bitten by an appropriate mosquito is relatively small,” said the University of Sydney’s Professor Lyn Gilbert, who is clinical lead of Infection Prevention and Control at the Western Sydney Local Health Network.

Dr Grant Hill-Cawthorne says it’s likely the Australian Government will be asked to contribute to a global effort led by the WHO against Zika.“A lot of the efforts will now be on countries like Australia to help South American countries to get on top of this.

“I think it would be very prudent, particularly considering that we are likely to see cases in Northern Queensland, it would be in Australia’s best interest to try and help on the ground where the concentration of cases are greatest.”

Public Health at the University of Sydney

The public health program at the Sydney Public Health School focuses on the prevention of illness and the promotion of health, with practitioners playing a proactive rather than a reactive role, especially with regard to the coordination of relevant community resources. The program provides the opportunity to develop skills and acquire knowledge essential for the effective practice of public health, including the effective management of community health problems.

Public health a Sydney Uni is open to students from health and non-health backgrounds. Public health is

  • preventing disease;
  • promoting health; and
  • prolonging life.

Program: Master of Public Health
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intakes: March and July
Duration: 1 year
Application deadline: Candidates are encouraged to apply a minimum of three months prior to the program’s start date.

Entry Requirements: A successful applicant for admission to the Master of Public Health program requires

  • a minimum four-year full time degree or equivalent qualification from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification; or
  • a shorter degree from the University of Sydney or an equivalent qualification, and non-degree professional qualifications and/or substantial relevant experience and/or other relevant qualifications.

Apply to the Sydney Public Health School!

*

If you have any questions about studying public health at the Sydney Public Health School, please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Public Health Schools Admissions Officer Adam Smith at adam@oztrekk.com.