Public health student’s inspiring and immersive experience at HTQ

30 May 2024

Gurmati Kaur’s career dream is to work in policy and planning, so she jumped at the chance to complete a placement with Health Translation Queensland (HTQ) thanks to a partnership with The University of Queensland’s (UQ) School of Public Health.

Gurmati, or ‘G’ as she is known to her colleagues and friends, was nervous but soon found she had a role in adding a student voice to the HTQ Mental Health Collaborative Group project.

“The collaborative group meetings were lively but friendly,” G said.

“I listened to the challenges faced by people from different organisations and backgrounds and saw them working together to create an outcome that will empower their community.

“It was a privilege to join the discussion with stakeholders from hospitals, universities, and research institutes and critically analyse the facts and evidence they presented.”

As an international student from northern Punjab, G welcomed the opportunity to get industry experience before entering the workforce.

“It is the sort of hands-on experience that I was looking for, and the HTQ team was so amazing that I didn’t want to leave,” G said.

“For people who haven’t experienced a professional workplace, it is great preparation for what to expect in the field.”

UQ School of Public Health Principal Learning Designer, Rebecca Johnson, explained the placement partnership has mutual benefits for students and industry partners.

“The students get an authentic work-integrated learning experience, enhancing their confidence and competence before they graduate,” Rebecca said.

“Our industry partners gain a willing and enthusiastic team member to help with their workload in an increasingly resource-constrained environment.

“For many partners, having a student temporarily with the team allows them to drive work forward that otherwise may not get done as quickly and to canvas what to expect in a graduate.”

“In our Masters program, we carefully tailor the placement, aligning the industry partner’s needs with the student’s interests and passions as best we can.

“G is one of the first students we have placed with HTQ, and from all reports, her supervisor, Sarah Scott, has been incredibly welcoming and generous with her time.”

While G wants to stay at HTQ, she will finish her studies in July and return to India.

Her next steps are to find a job, continue her professional development and, one day, complete a PhD.

“The environment is a hot topic, and we need it for our health and survival, so I hope my PhD will be in this field,” G said.

With undergraduate and postgraduate programs, the UQ School of Public Health is always looking for industry partners interested in work placements. For more information, please email Rebecca Johnson.

For details about HTQ’s Mental Health Collaborative Group, visit our webpage or contact Sarah Scott.

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