Bachelor of International Public Health: One student's experience

"Stay true to what you are passionate about, and don’t be afraid to create a different path for future research and practice within population health."
Tuesday, June 15, 2021

In January 2018 the PLuS Alliance launched the fully online degree, the Bachelor of International Public Health (BIPH) at ASU and UNSW.  The BIPH embodies the core principles of the PLuS Alliance to develop solutions to global challenges with social impact and  was designed to improve the health of communities locally and internationally.  Enhancing the student experience across the three campuses of the PLuS Alliance is one of the great things that we achieve.  As the first cohort of students of the online BIPH prepare to graduate, UNSW BIPH student Fenella McKirdy reflects on her experience.  

Fenella is an accredited ballet teacher with Australian Teachers of Dancing, a member of AusDance and has danced professionally in Australia and internationally.  Fenella’s goal is to make dance participation programs more accessible, inclusive, and equitable for those living with disabilities.  She says, “Dance (specifically Ballet) has many physical and emotional benefits, and I would like to see all people be able to participate.”

What have you found the most rewarding and useful about your study at UNSW School of Population Health? 

Through online study, I have been able to take courses at both Arizona State University and UNSW. This allowed me to study anywhere, and as a result I was able to complete part of my degree overseas. All my lecturers and tutors have been engaging and responsive. Although I have been studying online, each subject has been immersive and fulfilling. 

What has been the biggest learning from your study at the School and why? 

For the Capstone course, I chose to undertake a research project which examines inclusive dance participation programs for children living with disability in New South Wales, Australia. I was guided and mentored by Dr Rona Macniven and gained a good understanding of research practice.

What impact would you like to have in population health and how will your study help achieve this? 

I aim to have an impact on making dance participation programs more inclusive and equitable. Dance (specifically Ballet) has many physical and emotional benefits, and I would like to see all people be able to participate. 

What is next for you after you have completed your study? 

I am working towards creating my own studio that delivers inclusive classes in NSW – both in person and online. I would also like to continue with dance research, gaining and documenting findings of its benefits for people living with various non-communicable diseases. 

What advice would you give those who are considering or just started out studying at the School? 

The lectures and tutors at UNSW are encouraging and supportive of students who consider new ways of creating social change – stay true to what you are passionate about, and don’t be afraid to create a different path for future research and practice within population health.

Highlights of the Bachelor of International Public Health

The Bachelor of International Public Health (BIPH) degree aims to meet the growing global demand for public health workers. This innovative  programme is designed to build and strengthen the international public health workforce and to address a projected 18 million healthcare worker deficit worldwide.  The current Coronavirus outbreak has acutely highlighted this in different regions of the world.

The 100% online coursework is designed specifically to meet student requirements in relation to critical needs areas of public health (global health policy, data and informatics, systems thinking, ethics, economics and community-based care). The BIPH prepares students for new approaches to emerging global and public health issues related to communicable and non-communicable diseases, women’s and children’s health, mental illness, indigenous health and environmental health. The inherent flexibility of its structure allows students to tailor the program to their individual needs and skills requirements.

The engagement with different perspectives, teaching methodologies, cultural contexts and in-country circumstances, makes the academic experience unique, equipping BIPH graduates with highly transferable and desirable skills.

>       International collaborative degree program that aligns with global health needs

>       Online and accessible, world-class academic offerings

>       Engagement with public and private partners

>       Global exchange and placement opportunities

>       Jointly developed coursework from the PLuS Alliance universities

Click on link for further information and how to enrol on the online degree Bachelor of International Public Health.

Bisi Olulode, Communications Officer