Smiling man in suit standing in office lobby.

Kennedy Ben Shuli, 28 March, 2022

Kennedy Ben Shuli uses creative thinking and health strategy to help communities stay healthy and safe.

I became interested in studying public health when I was still living in a refugee camp. I was impressed by the work done by Red Cross public health officers to support the most vulnerable people in the camp. This influenced my already existing desire to study and work in areas that contribute to measures that prevent disease and improve the wellbeing of individuals and the community we all live in.

I chose QUT because it has a good reputation for preparing graduates to be job ready by providing valuable real-life employability skills and experiences. The safe and positive learning environment provided to students, as well as the academic support, were also some of the reasons I chose QUT.

Undertaking placements helped me understand how to apply workplace guidelines and health requirements when working with vulnerable people, a skill I now apply in my current role when developing or advising on policies that would impact vulnerable people.

A student with a backpack stands in front of an ornate door while on an international study tour A young, smiling Kennedy wears a hat local to South East Asia.

I am grateful for the experience of the lecturers and tutors. They added a lot of value to my learning experience and inspired me to pursue my dream in public health. Guest lecturers also provided ‘just in time’ information and credible public health topic contents that helped to resolve some of the misconceptions I had about public health courses and the future of the health industry.

I would encourage students undertaking this degree to take some time to do volunteering work in the community while studying. This will increase their visibility to industry stakeholders and other employers. Students would also benefit from workshops and career development opportunities provided by the university.

I work as a policy officer with the Queensland Department of Health. I have a strong passion for developing and contributing to policy and decisions that will positively impact on the lives of the most vulnerable population groups.

My role involves preparing informed briefs, policies and action plans that aim to improve the wellbeing of all Queenslanders. I enjoy this as it presents me with new situations and challenges, that always keep me interested and learning new ways to improve my skills. This type of environment has enabled me to be incident-ready and apply creative initiatives in times of urgent circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

I have been able to contribute to and initiate different measures that have had a significant impact on the community. During the onset of the pandemic I initiated a responsive contract with translation service providers for flexible and urgent translation work to respond to the needs of the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. I also provided advice on different strategies to engage the community to ensure they understand and adhere to public health directions set out by the Chief Health Officer and other Government authorities.

People working in an office

I contributed to the development of the Queensland Health COVID-19 Action Plan for multicultural communities and developed strategic policy plans to improve the delivery of COVID-19 messages, directions and vaccine rollout strategy to meet the needs of multicultural Queenslanders.

You can find translated COVID Safe resources on the Queensland Health website.

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Author

Kennedy Ben Shuli

Graduate, Bachelor of Public Health

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