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Wednesday 2 June 2021 4:16pm

Professor Patricia Priest admits to a “little twinge of pride” at seeing her former students and colleagues working in the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 team.

Professor Priest, the former head of Otago's Department of Preventive and Social Medicine (PSM), was seconded to the Ministry in Wellington for six months to help lead the pandemic response.

In her role as Chief Clinical Adviser Epidemiology she crossed paths with a number of PSM alumni.

The PSM alumni are spread across the Ministry working in different COVID teams. They include a recent undergraduate Public Health student, MPH students, an MPH graduate who had been a Teaching Fellow, and a recent Post-Doctoral Fellow.

“It shows that at this time in particular Public Health is a very marketable qualification and they've learned skills that are valuable to the Ministry of Health. I'd been Head of Department when all of them were either students or post-doctoral so I had a little twinge of pride when I saw them all up there.”

Working at the Ministry

Sarah Mitchell

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Sarah Mitchell is grateful to be able to work from her home in Dunedin with daughter Evie “a valued team member.

Master of Public Health

Sarah completed her Master of Public Health in 2019, which used an integrative approach to help better understand antimicrobial resistance. For the past year she has had the opportunity to use her public health knowledge and skills in the context of COVID-19.

She works as a Senior Advisor in the Science and Technical Advisory (STA) team in the COVID-19 Directorate at the Ministry of Health. The STA team seeks to monitor the many scientific questions about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 and to inform an evidence-based response to the pandemic. Some of the work done by the Science and Technical Advisory is available to the public here. Sarah is grateful to be able to work from her home in Dunedin, and her daughter Evie (pictured, 19 months) is a valued team member!

Dr Christian Marchello

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Christian Marchello

Former Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for International Health with Professor John Crump

Christian has joined the Science and Technical Advisory team at the Ministry of Health as a Senior Advisor. His experience in clinical laboratories as a medical laboratory scientist, biosecurity and bio-terrorism, and infectious disease epidemiology gives a unique perspective on a team of highly-skilled scientists that aid in providing the government and public with up-to-date evidence-based advice on COVID-19.

Sam Carr

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Sam Carr

Master of Public Health

Sam joined the COVID-19 Response and Coordination team in January 2021. Before moving to the Ministry of Health, Sam worked as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine and completed an MPH thesis through the Centre for International Health. Under the supervision of Professors John Crump and Katrina Sharple, Sam's thesis examined antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella Typhi globally, and sources, prescribing, and consumption of antimicrobial medicines in Yangon, Myanmar.

In his role at the Ministry, Sam works with colleagues across in COVID-19 Health System Response Directorate and wider Ministry to respond to queries from Parliament, healthcare service providers, and the public. His public health training has provided him with the skills to critically assess and interpret health information and provide clear responses for a lay audience.

Adibah Khan

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Adibah Khan

Bachelor of Health Science majoring in Public Health

Adibah is working as an advisor in the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Health System Response. She has experience in the Royal Commission Inquiry into the Christchurch Attacks. Her experience includes the life of a third culture youth living in Aotearoa and the influence of public health in this journey.

Hannah King

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Hannah King

Master of Public Health

Hannah joined the Ministry's Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) team in May 2020 while in the final stages of completing her MPH thesis. Her thesis centred on the development of a new model and measure of people-centred joined-up care for mental health service-users. In her role in the MIQ team, Hannah works closely with the Ministry's Public Health and Infection Prevention and Control teams to develop the operational health policy that underpins the MIQ system. Hannah's background microbiology and immunology, coupled with the public health knowledge and skills she developed through her MPH, have been invaluable to her as she has navigated the exciting and ever-changing landscape of MIQ.

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