Vanessa Hammond uses her skills gained and honed during the course of her master’s study at the Cancer Society Social and Behavioural Research Unit in her role as a Public Health Analyst for the Southern District Health Board.
Vanessa’s master’s study investigated the occupational ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure of New Zealand outdoor workers and resulted in much interest within industry and the media.
Making a difference to work practices was a resultant highlight at the end of her research. However the time during her research also had highlights. “ I enjoyed the technology we used; UVR dosimeters, and I was fortunate to be supervised by Tony Reeder; a supervisor of very high calibre,” she explains.
Other highlights included, “working in the field with the study participants”, and “learning how to analyse data,” Vanessa adds.
While probably not often quoted as a highlight by those who have completed a master’s qualification, Vanessa enjoyed learning how to undertake statistical analyses of data. Unexpectedly, it is her confidence ad competence in statistical analyses that is one of the most important skills she uses in her career now.
Vanessa’s role within the DHB involves the analysis of data in a rich variety of fields, including analysing the impact of alcohol on emergency department and hospital admissions, investigating Queenstown Lakes District’s high and rising giardiasis notification rates, and investigating the association between PM10 air pollution and acute respiratory events in Invercargill.
“During the course of my master’s in the Social and Behavioural Research Unit I was given every opportunity to learn and practise my own statistical analyses.” Vanessa explains.
Through the variety of Vanessa’s work we see that her skills are being put to use for the good of our communities. Practising and enhancing the real essence of Public Health.