Bachelor of Public Health & Health Promotion
Health promotion combines a range of activities directed at raising the health of individuals and populations. Broadly put, health promotion is based on the World Health Organization perspective that health is a complete state of physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health promotion is not just concerned with education: rather it is concerned with developing people's physical, social, economic, domestic and work environments to support their health and wellbeing. Health promotion also emphasises developing the ability of people to influence and shape their own environments and health, especially when they act collectively.
Importance of field education
Health promotion work placements provide undergraduate students, university staff and field supervisors with the opportunity to work together to develop the student's capacity to undertake health promotion practice. Host agencies also benefit from the work placement program as the tasks completed by students often make significant contributions to the achievement of key organisational goals.
How long are placements?
Students must complete a total of 120 hours of practical field work in conjunction with a series of university workshops.
When are placements in Health Promotion?
Placements are run over all University trimesters for third year health promotion students and can be undertaken throughout the trimester, on a staggered 2-3 days per week basis or condensed into a full-time 3-4 week block.
What are the prerequisites for field education?
Students must be in their third year of the Health Promotion degree and have passed HSH201, Planning and Evaluation 1.
Student vs. paid worker
Students do not need to be paid for work undertaken while on work placements. However, the School of Health and Social Development expects that if any costs are incurred in undertaking assigned work, then students would be appropriately reimbursed.
Health promotion field placements are designed to be diverse and challenging to students that allows them to link theory with practice within the broader community. The Deakin University Bachelor of Public Health and Health Promotion degree requires students to undertake one placement in their degree that includes a variety of settings across metropolitan Melbourne and provincial Victoria.
Settings for placement
Health Promotion encompasses a broad range of areas in society. Examples of agencies that have been involved with hosting health promotion students in previous years are:
- Community Health Services
Caulfield Community Health Service
Whitehorse Community Health Service
Eastern Access Community Health (EACH)
Manningham Community Health Service
Dental Health Services Victoria
Department of Health
- Local government
City of Booroondara
Cardinia Shire Council
Banyule City Council
Monash City Council
- Voluntary Organisations
Asthma Foundation of Victoria
Eating Disorders Victoria
Women's Health East
Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS (Y.E.A.H.)
Throughout the course of the semester, students are required to submit 2 assessment tasks and an additional assessment is given by the agency in the form of a performance evaluation.
1 - Practicum Proposal (20%)
2 - Project report with work book (60%)
3 - Agency evaluation (20%)
The following steps give a brief overview of the practicum placement process.
Step 1: Expressions of Interest from Agencies
Agencies who are able to host students express their ability to do so to the Unit Chair at the beginning of the year.
Step 2: Student/Agency Allocation
At the 1st workshop, students consider agency offers. Students are matched to a prospective agency at workshop 2.
Step 3: Student Contacts Agency
After allocation of agency, the student contacts their prospective supervisor
Step 4: Student/Agency Meeting & Agreement
An initial meeting is held with both parties to discuss context and tasks.
Step 5: Placement confirmation
Students present the agreement as Asst task 1a. This agreement confirms practicum status, project goals and obligations.
Step 6: Placement commences
Students commences placement as per practicum agreement agreements
Step 7: University Contact with Agency
Through the course of the placement, the Unit Chair will phone the agency supervisor for a summary of the student's progress.
Step 8: Agency Evaluation
On completion of the field placement, the supervisor completes an evaluation of the student's performance.
Your first placement can be a daunting task and you may be feeling nervous or anxious in commencing your placement. Fortunately you are not alone and this section will give you an insight into the experiences and feelings of other students on placement.
Maria Stopes International Australia
Nerida Burnham and Shannon Myers
Nerida and Shannon worked in partnership with Marie Stopes International Australia researching and gathering data for a web site aimed at dispensing information about sexual reproductive health to 12 to 17 year olds.
Marie Stopes undertakes important work in relation to sexual reproductive health, with the aim of improving the health and quality of life for women and their families. Marie Stopes International Australia provides services to many Asian and Pacific countries and is also committed to working with Australia's Indigenous community.
About the practicum
The project of putting together a website required a number of important activities to be completed by Nerida and Shannon. Notably, focus groups were held with representatives of the target age group to obtain their reflections on information currently available to this age group relating to sexual reproductive health. Recruiting participants of this age range for the purposes of a focus group can be extremely difficult, and made more challenging by the sensitive nature of the topic up for discussion. With the information obtained in the focus groups, Nerida and Shannon assessed it against information currently available to determine if gaps or inconsistencies in the information existed. They then adapted this information for use on a web site targeting young people in Australia.
Nerida and Shannon were excited to be working in partnership with a prestigious health organisation like Marie Stopes on such a worthwhile project contributing to the health of young woman. They remarked that their involvement in the project led to greater confidence in applying the skills and knowledge gained in their studies at Deakin University. Nerida and Shannon were also very appreciative of the opportunity to work with "a group of amazing people", adding that the whole practicum experience provided many benefits to their professional capacities.
Working in an international context helped give both these health students a much broader perspective on what was possible working in the field of health. It was an opportunity to turn theory into practice and, as such, genuinely felt they could make a difference to the health of others. Involvement in the practicum was also rewarding from a practical perspective by helping to expand their network of professional contacts, while also improving their communication and reporting skills. For Nerida and Shannon, the experience generated great enthusiasm about working in the field of health, with Shannon inspired to nominate for Australian Youth Ambassador with AusAid.
Chinese Health Foundation of Australia
Jasmine worked with the Chinese Health Foundation of Australia on a variety of health issues important to this population group.
The Chinese Health Foundation is a non profit organisation established to promote the health of the Chinese community in Australia. They provide training in relevant health issues to community leaders, assist other organisations communicate health messages to the Chinese population, identify health needs within the Chinese community and provide programs that target these needs, as well as run many other health related services.
About the practicum
Central in Jasmine's Practicum was her involvement in the 'Good Life Club', a program aimed at people over 50 with diabetes and related health problems such as heart disease. Tasks required in the 'Good Life Club' project included searching and assessment of web based information related to diabetes and associated health issues, producing press releases, evaluation of the service provided by the 'Good Life Club', and organising a number of seminars with the Chinese community. The information Jasmine collected and assessed was then incorporated into the 'Good Life Club' web site to provide accurate and helpful information on diabetes to the Chinese population.
The opportunity to apply skills and knowledge attained during undergraduate studies in Health Promotion was one of the best things about the Practicum according to Jasmine. Engaging those skills, and applying new ones, improved her communication and professional competence, giving her greater confidence in her abilities and widening her career outlook.
The practicum gave Jasmine a chance to meet others in her field of interest, thereby increasing her professional network resources. The need to communicate with others in Chinese also helped Jasmine practice and improve her multi-lingual abilities. Overall, the practicum and the Chinese Health Foundation provided a wonderful opportunity to focus her talents on a project that was both stimulating and of benefit to her professional training.
Student Life on Burwood Campus
Mathew joined the team at Student Life located on the Burwood campus of Deakin University, Melbourne.
Student Life offers staff and students many health related services including clinical and nursing services, counselling services, and health and well-being programs. Student Services at Deakin is also progressing towards a greater emphasis on Health Promotion with projects aimed at 'Mental Health Week' and specific issues pertinent to groups within the student population such as mature age and international students.
About the practicum
Mathew worked on a research project examining alcohol and drug use among the resident student population at Deakin University, Burwood. The first task to complete in the project was a literature review to assess if the topic had been researched previously, and if so, what these other research attempts had found. With the literature review as a solid foundation, Mathew then developed a questionnaire to give to students so that information from residential students and off campus students could be collected and compared. An ethics application was also prepared by Mathew before the project finished at the end of semester.
The outstanding aspects of the practicum for Mathew were the degree of responsibility given to him in the project, the opportunity to develop professional networks, and the application and advancement of skills important in his professional development.
Of those skills honed through involvement in the practicum, three stood out as particularly important to the success of the project. Time management skills were one of these important skills, helping Mathew to balance the demands of independent working with being part of a team. Also related to working in a team were the enhancement of skills related to teamwork, for example, compiling reports for different team members and communicating effectively with other team members. Finally, and self-evidently, Mathew's research skills were given an appreciable boost by participating in the practicum with Student Life. In conclusion, Mathew recommended future students make the most of the opportunities that the practicum unit has to offer.
Rachel Penno and Erika Hare
Rachel and Erika were kept very busy in their practicum with Nutrition Australia, working on individual aspects related to National Nutrition Week.
Nutrition Australia is a peak community nutrition education organisation. Their goal is to promote health and wellbeing in the community by providing policy makers, health professionals, educators, and the public with important, scientifically based nutritional information. National Nutrition Week is the showpiece of these educational endeavours.
About the practicum
Rachel was given the task of 'Project Officer' involved in organising a trivia night fundraiser for Nutrition Australia, while Erika undertook the role of 'Nutrition Week Officer' implementing plans for Nutrition Week. A diverse range of activities were involved in completing both of these roles, requiring Rachel and Erika to engage a great number of the skills they had acquired in their undergraduate degrees. The trivia night organised by Rachel is Nutrition Australia's biggest fundraiser for the year and necessitated co-ordination of the venue and catering, organising donations for the night, and developing relationships with the media including issuing press releases. Erika's activities involved making contact and developing relationships with local sporting organisations, sponsorship appeals, as well as liaising with Nutrition Week coordinators and collecting information for evaluating the various activities during the week.
Both Rachel and Erika found that gaining an insight into the running of a Health Promotion organisation such at Nutrition Australia was a highlight of their practicum experience. They added that the responsibilities given to them during their projects helped bolster their confidence in applying the skills and knowledge learnt through their undergraduate studies. For Rachel and Erika, involvement in the practicum was a challenging, yet very enjoyable part of their degrees.
Rachel and Erika remarked that the practicum had assisted them with expanding their range of professional contacts, as well as helping to create greater awareness of the practical issues faced by Health Promotion organisations. Generally, involvement in the practicum helped these students discover the areas of health they had a passion for, something these students felt was an important consideration when making choices about their careers in Health Promotion. The commitment and the genuine enthusiasm for the projects these students undertook was very much in evidence. Rachel and Erika agreed that they had gained both personally and professionally from their involvement in the practicum program.
Monash University Accident Research Centre
Andrew Mashoian & Paul Jones
Andrew and Paul joined up with the Monash University Accident Research Centre to investigate the use of personal protection equipment by skateboarders at council owned skate parks.
While the research centre is well known for its work on motor vehicle accidents, they also examine accidents occurring in the workplace, at home, and during recreational activities, such as in the project undertaken by Andrew and Paul.
About the practicum
The research that Andrew and Paul undertook in their practicum covered all facets involved in scientific research and included applying for ethics approval, reviewing relevant literature, collecting data in the field, and writing a report on their findings. Contact was made with relevant local councils about the regulations they had in place regarding the use of protective equipment by skateboard riders, and these regulations were compared with observed use of protective equipment as well as council's efforts to have these regulations transfer into safer behaviours by skaters. Andrew and Paul were able to collect data from over 300 skaters, and given the scarcity of research into the subject, hope to publish their findings in a health journal in the near future.
For Andrew and Paul one of the highlights of their practicum was the level of responsibility entrusted to them in all aspects of the research. The opportunity to conduct research from its inception to, what they hope will be a published article, was also of great significance to their practicum experiences, not to mention the variety of tasks involved.
Participation in the Practicum unit helped improve Andrew and Paul's skills base as well as expand future opportunities and possible career paths. Their involvement in the project helped add to their professional resources by providing an opportunity to put into practice time management and organisational skills, that were required given the large number and variety of tasks required in their research project. Excellent communication skills were also integral to the success of their project, liaising with local governments, skaters, supervisors and co-workers, and many other important stakeholders. Both Andrew and Paul found the Practicum unit to be a very worth while part of the course and an excellent opportunity to bring together their previous learning and skills and apply them to an important health issue.