This is Public Health: Australian Students’ Understanding of Public Health

By Caoimhe Geraghty and Rebecca Fanany.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Young adults are a frequent target of health promotion campaigns in Australia yet there is evidence to suggest that this cohort has little understanding of the nature and intent of Public Health initiatives in their own environment. This paper describes the results of a study that evaluated the knowledge and understanding of public health of a sample of 333 first year health science students at an Australian University.

Students were asked to submit photographs depicting their ideas about public health and accompany these with a written rationale for their choices. The results of the study suggest that the students at this level have a narrow interpretation of public health and do not understand the organized nature of public health efforts or the aims of such initiatives.

This study provides important insight into the thinking of this cohort of young Australians, both in the context of preparing them for future careers in public health as well as in relation to their response to health promotion campaigns targeting them.

Keywords: This is Public Health Campaign, University Students, Understanding, Australia, Health Promotion Campaigns

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.177-196. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.055MB).

Caoimhe Geraghty

Associate Lecturer, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Science, City Campus, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I currently work as an Associate Lecturer of Public Health at La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia, where I teach in several first year Health Science subjects. I am also involved in Public Health subjects for second and third year including the Field Placement capstone subject. My current research centres on understanding of Public Health, higher level education and student recruitment. Past research, while working with the National Suicide Research Foundation of Ireland, looked at suicide prevention in youths. I also have a keen interest in Health Promotion, in which I hold my Masters and I am currently undertaking a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education.

Dr. Rebecca Fanany

Lecturer in Public Health, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Latrobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

I am a lecturer in Public Health at LaTrobe University in Melbourne where my responsibilities are mostly in connection with large courses required for all first year health students in all disciplines. My research focuses on language and culture in health and relates in large part to Indonesia. I have written a number of books and articles on language related topics as well as the influence of culture in health and other areas.