Health management interns get a head start on COVID-19

New health management interns (from left) Sree Brahmapuram, Kira Hofer, Jeremy Asuit and Tamika Baloch.

The newest intake of management interns have started six months early in order to help with the COVID-19 response in Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD).

The four new interns were welcomed to the Public Health Unit on the Cumberland campus in September for a crash course in how the district runs testing and tracing, as well as planning ahead to maintain a healthier and COVID-free Western Sydney.

Some made an even earlier start – Jeremy Asuit is a nurse who was working in Western Sydney’s pop-up testing clinics, and Sree Brahmapuram was assisting with drive-through clinics in Sydney’s inner west as part of his role in health administration at Concord Hospital.

The two are joined by Kira Hofer and Tamika Baloch as the latest inductees into the WSLHD Management Graduate Program; a two-year internship across the district while obtaining a Masters of either Health Service Management or Health Information Management through the University of Tasmania.

Three of the four new interns grew up in Western Sydney, while Tamika (second from right) is from Bowral in the Southern Highlands.

Tamika studied international relations due to her love of languages, and it was an internship working in food security in India that solidified her interest in public health.

“I came back to Australia determined to work in medical administration but then landed this opportunity instead,” Tamika said.

“I’m looking forward to working with people who make a real difference in the community and seeing where that leads me.”

Sree studied medical science and it was his experience in medical administration this year showed him the importance of effective management.

“When COVID-19 hit it took really great management to get on top of it quickly and reallocate all the resources accurately to make sure we could test thousands of people,” Sree said.

Jeremy saw the similar impact of people in WSLHD including Integrated and Community Health chronic care manager Joanne Medlin and fellow management intern John Dillon.

“They really encouraged me to go for this opportunity,” Jeremy said.

“This will give me unique exposure to different tasks and really experienced people in those leadership roles.”

Kira studied public health promotion and policy, and worked for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead before securing this internship.

“I’ve always had a passion for health, I just didn’t necessarily know what aspect I wanted to specialise in,” Kira said.

“It’s very appealing to do so many different placements and see what sticks.”

Health management graduate Leila Brenna, who started her placement earlier this year, said the experience so far had given her great understanding of a wide range of portfolios.

“The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need for managers to be flexible and adaptable to respond to the dynamic needs of staff, patients and the community,” Leila said.

“The health management graduate program provides a unique opportunity to develop the skill set required for successful future health managers.”

The new interns will continue with the Public Health Unit until February and then begin their usual three-to-six month rotation between different departments across the district.