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Sarah Macfarlane
Sarah Macfarlane, PGCertPH Graduate.

As a new mum, Sarah studied part time to complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health during 2015 whilst on leave from her now part-time Health Promoter role at Community and Public Health (CPH) in Christchurch.

"My past work on the administrative side of the health sector, and experiences travelling overseas witnessing the impact of poverty and inequity on different populations, led me to value health as a resource for living that everyone should enjoy. It was important to me to become an active community member when I returned from my 'overseas experience,' at which time I began to look for a career that I hoped would make a positive difference to people's lives."

With no previous tertiary qualification, Sarah was advised to study the undergraduate Certificate in Health Promotion, through University of Otago's distant learning programme, which she completed in 2011. Armed with newly gained knowledge of health promotion strategies relevant to New Zealand's situation, and the boundless enthusiasm of a recent graduate, it was not long before Sarah gained a Health Promoting Schools role, where she was encouraged to complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health (PGCertPH).

"I finally found my passion in working with communities to address health needs. I feel truly fortunate to be able to put theory into practice and to be supported by my workplace to continue to up skill. Studying the broader field of Public Health, taught by the inspiring lecturers at Otago, has galvanized and strengthened my health promotion practices; particularly focusing on policy change to address the determinants of health, and working more closely with Māori communities to reduce the equity gap."

Sarah plans to complete the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health (DPH) over the next few years, whilst she learns to balance her new family and work responsibilities.

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