Establishing A Community Of Practice: Practical Applications For Public Health Graduates



The Public Health Practitioners of the future, must exhibit practical skills, innovative thinking and flexible attributes, to master roles in dynamic work landscapes. To respond to this need, the School of Medical and Health Science at Edith Cowan University have utilised a comprehensive Work Integrated Learning (WIL) approach, including professional placements, Pebble© Portfolios and Industry engagement strategies to prepare Health Science students for careers in Public Health. This provided a model for effective public health career planning and implementation. This included interviews recorded as digital narrative case studies from health and safety industry professionals, a Career Change Consultant and University Careers team. The WIL approach was instigated and evaluated using a two phase process. This included (1) consultation with industry practitioners (n=17) using case study digital interviews and representing generalists professionals and the range of Public Health specialisations studied by students. (2) Involved student digital stories based on their professional placements and industry interviews (n=16). A case study approach will be presented to reflect how industry integrated work practice and effective networking and collaborative partnerships provide a platform to foster graduate public health skills and capabilities. A range of flexible employability orientated teaching and learning options will be explored to provide authentic public health career development opportunities for public health students. Key messages 1. Work integrated learning is an effective strategy to support public health career planning. 2. Professional Portfolios effectively package public health skills/attributes. 3. Industry engagement via digital narratives supports partnerships and relationship building in the public health sector.


Anne Polley

Edith Cowan University, Western Australia.

I am am a lecturer in Public Health, based at Edith Cowan University in Perth. I have worked as an academic at two universities in Perth for over 10 years. My background is in health promotion program planning and evaluation, predominantly diabetes prevention and physical activity, consulting to local governments to evaluate community based programs and university teaching. My passion is educating and supporting Health Science and Public Health Graduates to develop employability skills to pursue roles in the Public Health Sector. I am currently completing a Masters of Public Health (Research) at Edith Cowan University.