School of Population Health

Student Profile

Dr Jaffly Chen image
Master of Public Health (MPH) / Master of Health Management (MHM) with Extension (Dual Degree with Research Component)
Mode of study : 
Full-time; Distance
Country : 
Australia
Previous Education : 
Bachelor of Medicine

I decided to study public health and health management because I felt that despite being a clinician and in the privileged position to make a difference in many unwell people’s lives, I was not doing enough on a system-wide level to ensure good health for all. As a clinician, I can have a substantial local impact, however, I have since childhood aimed to have a national or worldwide impact with my work. UNSW is one of the leading public health and community medicine institutions globally and I actually quite appreciate the focus on Asia as it is indeed where I feel we need to be focusing our investigate efforts in the coming decades. 

Most important thing learned

Participation has never been more crucial than in postgraduate studies. Sometimes the value of these courses is less in the didactic material (which is still essential), but the connections you make with fellow students, the experiences you are able to share, and what everyone can learn together, especially from such a diverse cohort where students come not only from Australia but also not only from clinical healthcare professions. 

Most challenging thing

As an external student, it can be hard forming the connection I’ve mentioned above. However, it truly is a case of what you put in is what you get out. If you are able to attend lectures in person, that is great, however, you can also reach out to classmates virtually, set up study teleconferences, or engage more deeply in forum posts to formulate a better learning experience for all!

Enjoyed the most

I feel that learning is always such a privilege and have very much enjoyed hearing the stories coming from other students in what they’ve witnessed during the course of their own studies or work. Instead of me having to go out to all these different sites to better understand our healthcare system, UNSW has brought all these insights to the one place and genuinely enhanced our ability to learn.

Message to newly commencing students

Just give it a go! Dive as deep into the material as you can and don’t look back. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! I went through a difficult situation in one of my trimesters and the course staff were extremely understanding and went out of their way to help me not fall behind. I wouldn’t have made it through that trimester without them!

How degree will assist in your career

Clinical medicine is an area I would never want to leave completely. However, with a degree from the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, I now stand much better placed to open doors towards a broader career that includes health systems consulting, digital health and medical technology innovation, and health policymaking both domestically and across the wider globe.

Westpac Future Leaders Scholar
Schwarzman Scholar
See UNSW News item on Jaffly Chen