A mentor’s experience: A Q&A blog on the National Mentoring Program

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Students & Young Professionals Committee – PHAA

The PHAA’s nine month mentoring program unites experienced public health professionals (mentors) with early career PHAA members (mentees) who have similar interest areas. The program aims to build the capacity of mentees, provide experience in mentorship to public health professionals, and offer valuable networking opportunities.

Shayal Prasad, of the Students & Young Professionals in Public Health Committee, discusses the National Mentoring Program with 2021 mentor Dr Geoff Clark, a Senior Health Security Advisor with the Government of Vanuatu.

Dr Geoff Clark

Dr Geoff Clark


A Q&A profile of Dr Geoff Clark

Q: What is your professional background in?

A: Public Health clinician

Q: Which PHAA branch or special interest group (SIG) are you a part of?

A: The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health SIG, and the International Health SIG.

Q: What does your current role involve, and what is the current project/report you are working on?

A:  Provide technical advice on existing and emerging infectious disease preparedness and response.  Currently focused on COVID 19.


A Q&A on Dr Clark’s mentor experience

Q: Why did you apply for the mentoring program?

A: To use my knowledge and experience to support the future of the public health workforce

Q: What stage of your career/study were you at when you applied and participated in the program?

A: Mid-career professional

Q: What did you gain or learn from participating in the mentoring program?

A: I had the opportunity to learn more of areas of public health that I did not have a lot of experience in.

Q: What elements of the program stood out to you?

A: I liked the ‘hands off’ approach to the mentoring relationship once matching had occurred with mentor and mentee. This allowed for an organic development of the relationship between the mentor and mentee

Q: From your perspective as a mentor, what advice do you have for prospective mentors interested in applying?

A: The program provides a great opportunity for growth for mentors and the opportunity to give back to the public health profession through supporting novice public health professionals.


About the PHAA National Mentoring Program

The PHAA National Mentoring Program coordinates and facilitates the pairing of PHAA members early in their public health career with experienced members in the mentees’ area of interest.

The program runs over the course of nine months and primarily functions as a way to initiate a mentee-mentor relationship. The program is purposely flexible in design to allow mentees and mentors to work together in identifying the mentoring needs of the mentee, and develop corresponding objectives for the mentee-mentor relationship over the duration of the program.

The program aims to build the capacity of early career members of the PHAA through teaching, training, networking, and providing them with appropriate resources. The PHAA National Mentoring Program will accept up to 30 mentee-mentor pairs in 2022.

Mentor Program Benefits

  • Opportunity to facilitate the mentee’s professional growth
  • Revitalized enthusiasm and affirmation of your role as an experienced worker
  • Networking opportunities
  • Gain experience in explaining the scope and skills of your work to others

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