Early career researcher Amy Carrad shares experience as mentee in 2022 National Mentoring Program

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Students and Young Professionals in Public Health (SYPPH) Committee – PHAA

The PHAA’s nine month mentoring program aims to unite experienced public health professionals (mentors) and early career PHAA members (mentees) with 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.

The SYPPH committee asked Amy Carrad about her experiences as a program mentee.


Amy Carrad smiling at camera.
Amy Carrad










About Amy Carrad

Q: What is your professional background in?

A: I have a background in public health, settings-based health promotion, and local food system governance.


Q: Which PHAA Branch or Special Interest Group (SIG) are you part of?

A: I’m not part of any SIGs, but now that I’m in the ACT, getting to Branch events is much easier than when I was in NSW, which usually involved commuting from Wollongong to Sydney.


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

A: I’m a Research Fellow in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University, and Coordinator of the Menzies Centre for Health Governance (within RegNet). The project I currently work on is led by Dr Ashley Schram, Prof. Sharon Friel, Dr Belinda Townsend and Dr Patrick Harris. We’re researching power and privilege (no small feat!), and their connections to public policy and, ultimately, health (in)equity. The goal is to develop indicators to allow evaluators to monitor the distribution of power and privilege (in the context of public policy for health equity). We also want to test a toolkit for evaluating the exercise of power and privilege in the public policy process.



A Q&A on Amy Carrad’s mentee experience

Q: What prompted you to apply to the mentoring program?

A: It’s hard to remember, but probably promotions for it in the PHAA newsletter and on their social media. I’d not previously participated as a mentee in a program like this but decided I’d little to lose. The factor that cemented my decision to apply was reading about potential mentors in the Mentor Handbook, as there were people listed in there that I look up to and thought I could learn from.


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

A: I was an Early Career Academic/Researcher throughout the 2022 mentoring program, after completing my PhD at the end of 2019. At the start of the program, I was in my final six months of a three-year stint working on an Australian Research Council project investigating the role of local governments and civil society organisations in food system governance. Knowing the contract was soon ending, I was also applying for jobs, and transitioned to a new job in a new city.


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

A: I learned that I should be more strategic about the tasks and roles I undertake in my current job, to set myself up well for being employed in the next one.

I also learned that the more senior people I look up to still might not have the answers to the ‘problems’ I see myself having (e.g., struggling to get the motivation to write). I remember us laughing about that.


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

A: When applying, the Mentor Handbook very useful. It was a great summary of mentors who would be involved in the program and helped me create my application’s mentor shortlist. I liked the simultaneously structured and flexible nature of it – having direction about forming program objectives was useful, but having the freedom to arrange what worked best for my mentor and I (when to meet, what to talk about) allowed us to have a positive experience.


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

A: Previously, I would hesitate to participate in programs like these, unsure if I’d get anything out of it. However, I’m glad I jumped in as it was a fun experience, and now I’ve applied for a mentoring program run by the Network for Early Career Academics (NECTAR) at ANU. You might feel overcommitted (who doesn’t!) but having hour-long meetings every month (or whatever you agree upon with your mentor) isn’t very much, and you’ll probably enjoy the brain break from whatever intense academic tasks you’re undertaking.


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, who, where possible, work 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 aims to accept 40 mentee-mentor pairs in 2023.


Mentee Program Benefits

  • Guidance and advice regarding your career ideas, helping you make more informed career choices
  • Opportunity to meet a public health professional with experience in your area of interest
  • Advice on resources relevant to your area of interest
  • Enhanced professional development and increased confidence


More program participants share their experiences






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