Jenny Rodger is Project coordinator for the Patterns of Cancer Care for Aboriginal People at Cancer Council. She studied MSc Environmental Epidemiology & Policy in 2002. She is also the new coordinator for the brand new Sydney Alumni Chapter.
“I decided to study at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine due to a chance meeting with a friend who was studying at the School. This person did not have any medical background like myself (my undergraduate was Geography and Arabic Texts) and she was so enthusiastic and speaking so highly about the exemplary teaching of the School, also how supportive the learning environment was and the fact that non-medics were welcomed. This initiated me to apply to complete post graduate studies there.
The biggest challenge I faced while studying was not having any pervious knowledge about health. However as mentioned before I found the quality and support of the teaching overcame this. I also gained tremendous help from other students. The School ensured that there was a supportive environment not only from tutors but also from other students as well.
My degree at the School has most certainly been the path to where I am now. The degree has given me a sound foundation to embark on a career in public health and epidemiology and even ten years later I still refer to my learning materials.
The relationships formed on the course with other students have been extremely useful. I was able to join study groups or pair up with individuals to bounce ideas off each other over coursework during my time studying there. Since leaving the School I have maintained contact with students one of which very kindly introduced me to the idea of becoming a Distance Learning tutor which has been a wonderful way of keeping links with the School.
There have been several proud moments since I left the School – I have presented posters at conferences, I am currently submitting a paper on Aboriginal Prostate cancer to a journal, and at the end of the day doing my very small part to try and mitigate health inequalities for the Aboriginal people of Australia, there is much work to be done!
In the future I would really like to continue working on different research projects and feel that I am contributing to improve health outcomes in any small way. I would also dearly like to continue with the Distance Learning tutoring for the School which will provide skills and knowledge for future health care workers/researchers.”
Several staff and students from the School attended the 9th World Congress on Health Economics held in Sydney July 2013, and I was thrilled to read in the Alumni Newsletter that there would be an Alumni get together for ex-students in Sydney during the conference. This was my first opportunity to attend an Alumni event since leaving the School in 2002.
We had a gathering near the conference venue and it was wonderful to meet staff and students who were presenting at the conference, and also to meet some of the other Alumni living in Australia. Although the numbers were not great it inspired me to think about setting up a Chapter as it was so interesting to not only discover how other student’s careers had progressed, but I thought it was also a good opportunity to collaborate and network.
I contacted the Alumni office and a Chapter has been set up in Sydney, so far there are about 10 members from Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle and Brisbane. Hopefully as the chapter grows and new members join we will be able to set up individual Chapters in these other cities.
In the meantime there will be an informal Sydney Alumni get together in December before the festivities set in and the whole of Australia slows down for the summer. Also next year there is the 20th International AIDS Conference held in July 2014 in Melbourne so there will be possibly another Australian Chapter meeting in Melbourne.