Students & 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 Associate Professor Brahm Marjadi about his experiences as a mentor.
A Q&A profile of A/Prof Brahm Marjadi
Q: What is your professional background in?
A: I have an eclectic mix of backgrounds! I was trained as a medical doctor and general practitioner (GP) in Indonesia, but I am not registered to practice in Australia. After graduating, I became a lecturer in medical microbiology, practiced as a GP and a Health Promoting School doctor in Indonesia, then undertook a HIV management course in Sydney. I also completed a Master of Public Health degree and PhD in Community Medicine, both at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), focusing on healthcare-associated infection control and prevention. After a two-year stint working on non-communicable diseases at UNSW, I returned to the grassroot public health field, and now teach Social Determinants of Health at the School of Medicine, Western Sydney University, by sending medical students to community-based health and social services.
Q: Which PHAA Branch or Special Interest Group (SIG) are you part of?
A: International Health SIG (Co-Convenor 2014-2020; General Committee Member 2020 to date) and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) SIG (Founding Member; Convenor 2020-2022; Committee Member 2022 to date).
Q: What does your current role involve, and what is the current project/report you are working on?
A: I am an Associate Professor in Community Engaged Learning and the Associate Dean for Engagement at the School of Medicine, Western Sydney University. I am currently working on improving Social Determinants of Health curriculum for Years 4 and 5 of our 5-year MD curriculum, and restructuring LGBTQIA+ Health contents across the whole MD program. I am leading or involved in mixed-methods research projects across various aspects of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, focusing on overlooked/forgotten populations. In PHAA, I am working on a couple of advocacy works via PHAA Policy Statements and submissions along with DEI SIG and other colleagues.
Q: Why did you apply for the mentoring program?
A: I’ve had many mentors (approaching 40) since my undergraduate years to whom I owe my career and professional development. I am here to pay forward all their generous time and guidance, by mentoring others. I am a massive fan of mentoring and I am very humbled to have received the PHAA Mentor of the Year award in 2022.
— Public Health Association Australia (@_PHAA_) October 14, 2022
A Q&A on A/Prof Marjadi’s mentor experience
Q: What stage of your career/study were you at when you applied and participated in the program?
A: I was a mentee in the PHAA NSW Branch Mentoring Program in 2008, just at the end of my PhD studies. Coming from Indonesia and educated in Australia, I was seeking opportunities to develop a career in global health. As soon as I became an Australian Permanent Resident, I joined the SYPPH Mentoring Program as a mentor.
Q: What did you gain or learn from participating in the mentoring program?
A: Apart from paying forward my mentors’ generosity to me, which is mentally very satisfying, I learned a lot about aspects of public health to which I wouldn’t normally have access. I learned that there is a set of transferable skills for whichever public health field one wishes to specialise in – and also if one wishes to be a generalist public health professional which, I learned from personal experience, is a very cool and useful area!
Q: What elements of the program stood out to you?
A: The PHAA SYPPH Mentoring Program has an exceptional matching process. The program is very well structured and solidly driven by an amazing group of students and early career professionals. I am always amazed by the energy and level of fun I observe in our Zoom meetings with the team and fellow participants!
Q: From your perspective as a mentor/mentee what advice do you have for prospective mentors/mentees interested in applying?
A: If you ever doubt whether you need a mentor, that means you DO need a mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask! Just say “I want to learn about this, could you help?” or “I have done X, Y, and Z; do you have any suggestions what else I could do now?” or “I saw your work and it’s so cool! Can I learn from you?” No desire to learn is ever silly.
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 will accept up to 40 mentee-mentor pairs in 2023.
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
Mentor applications are open until Friday 17 February, 5pm AEDT. Apply now.