Christie Allan, Clinical Trials Program Coordinator
Degree: Bachelor of Health Science (Honours)
Passion: Improving lives through tailored healthcare
Christie graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science (Honours) in 2016. Throughout her studies she actively sought opportunities to engage with her chosen field, through placements, voluntary roles and part-time work. It was this experience that gave her the edge, and opened up the door to her first full-time job in public health. Whilst still at the start of her career, she’s taken on diverse jobs, gaining exposure to healthcare communications, advocacy, health promotion and research.
What’s your current job?
My job title is Program Coordinator – Clinical Trials at Cancer Council Victoria. It’s all about delivering projects that improve patient access to cancer clinical trials, and build the capacity of clinical trial sites operating in Victoria.
A major project within that remit is the management and sustainability of an online platform called the Victorian Cancer Trials Link, which connects people affected by cancer with cancer clinical trials in Victoria. I also collect and analyse data about clinical trial activity in Victoria, and the roll-out of various promotional campaigns.
When you first graduated, could you see a clear career path or were you unsure?
My public health career is relatively young, but it’s already spanned positions in advocacy, research and health promotion. When I started my Bachelor’s degree, I wasn’t really sure what it would lead to. I enrolled knowing that I had a keen interest in public health, but no more specific than that. It was through the placements, volunteer positions and casual employment opportunities that I pursued during my degree that my career path emerged.
What helped you get your first public health job?
The placements, volunteer positions and casual employment opportunities that I engaged in during University really helped me by allowing me to create positive relationships with others in the public health sector. I started off in a part time, project officer position and worked my way up from there – developing and utilising new skills along the way.
In particular, one of the positions that helped me was my role as Chair of the Victorian and Tasmanian Youth Cancer Advisory Board at the Victorian Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Service. As a member and leader of the Board, I was fortunate enough to be involved in the design of youth-friendly spaces at major oncology centres, advise on curriculum development and delivery in health professional education, and collaborate on a series of patient information resources for young patients and their carers. This role allowed me to put what I had learnt at University into practice, requiring quite a diverse public health skill set.
Immediately after my degree, I worked as a Research Assistant at Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM), where I was involved in projects with the Department of Epidemiology and the Medical Education Research and Quality Unit. Working at SPHPM provided another platform for me to foster the skills and relationships that I had developed in my undergraduate degree, putting them to work on a variety of projects.
Now, working at Cancer Council Victoria, I have been afforded further opportunities to develop my public health, leadership and relationship management skills. When I started, it was very much in a support capacity. However, through hard work and a willingness to learn new things, I am now responsible for program implementation and monitoring.
What is the most personally rewarding aspect of working in public health?
The ability to improve the lives and experiences of a group of people through the delivery of tailored services.
What has been the main value of your Monash degree?
For me, it’s been the ability to create sustained professional relationships, engage in external volunteer and placement opportunities, and develop a varied and practical skill set.
What is your advice to final year public health students preparing to enter the workforce?
Don’t be afraid to give it a go! Maximise the opportunities and networks you are provided at Monash, but also look for additional avenues to practice the skills you have gained in your degree.