The john snow scholarship a trojan horse approach to attracting medical students to public health
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Donna B Mak, AFPHM & University of Notre Dame Greg Stewart, AFPHM PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Donna B Mak, AFPHM & University of Notre Dame Greg Stewart, AFPHM. The John Snow Scholarship: a Trojan horse approach to attracting medical students to public health. Aims. Describe the John Snow Scholarship (JSS) & its rationale Present findings from its first 5 years of implementation.

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Donna B Mak, AFPHM & University of Notre Dame Greg Stewart, AFPHM

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Donna B Mak, AFPHM & University of Notre Dame

Greg Stewart, AFPHM

The John Snow Scholarship: a Trojan horse approach to attracting medical students to public health.


  • Describe the John Snow Scholarship (JSS) & its rationale

  • Present findings from its first 5 years of implementation


  • Review of published and unpublished AFPHM documents

  • Discussions with key program personnel

  • On-line surveys of medical students, recruitment via medical schools & student associations

  • Written & verbal feedback from JSS recipients

Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM)

  • A Faculty of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians

  • Established 1990

  • Accredited by Aust Medical Council to undertake education, assessment and professional development of public health physicians.

Public health workforce issues

  • Few opportunities for students, junior Drs to ‘try before you buy’ public health medicine

  • Medical workforce growth: public health < clinical

No. of public health physicians

John Snow Scholarship


  • Improve the profile of public health medicine among medical students & medical graduates by providing opportunities for professional networking between medical students and AFPHM fellows and advanced trainees

  • Brightest and best medical graduates enter & complete AFPHM training, & practice as public health physicians

  • JSS video

John Snow Scholarship


To increase the proportion of medical students who:

  • Are able to identify public health medicine as a medical speciality.

  • Are able to identify the AFPHM as the learned college for specialist training of public health physicians.

  • Consider public health medicine as a career option.

  • Ultimate outcome objective: medical graduates enter & complete AFPHM training, & practice as public health physicians

John Snow Scholarship

Educational principles

  • Alignment with

  • medical schools’ public health curricula (horizontal integration) and

  • AFPHM competencies (vertical integration of public health medicine education)

  • Transparent, unbiased assessment processes

Kick Start Your Career

AFPHM John Snow Scholarship

Win one of 9 scholarships to present your work at

Population Health Congress, Tasmania, September 2015 .

Scholarship includes full conference registration ($600) and

travel assistance (up to $600)


for more information

Closing date for applications – 3rdOctober 2014

Medical students of Australian & NZ medical schools eligible to apply

JSS application & assessment

MBBS curriculum

FAFPHM competencies

Reflection (<1000 words) re MBBS work wrt 1-2 AFPHM learning objectives

Presentation plan (<500 words)

Dean’s letter of support



Double-blind summative assessment of written applications by AFPHM fellow & registrar to select state JSS recipient; assessment rubric published.

State JSS recipient practice presentation to AFPHM fellows & registrars

Formative assessment by AFPHM fellow & registrar (state-based); assessment rubric provided to JSS recipients.

JSS recipientspresent their work at RACP Congress (registration & <=$600 travel support)

Abstracts published in Internal Medicine Journal & on JSS webpage

Invited to AFPHM President’s dinner

Summative assessment of oral presentation by AFPHM fellow & registrar, & health consumer to select national winner; assessment rubric provided to JSS recipients.

AFPHM learning objectives

JSS applications by year and jurisdiction

NZ students eligible to apply from 2012

JSS topics, 2013

  • Cultural Contexts and Mass Communication: Perspectives on Anti-smoking Campaigns in Indigenous Populations

  • Great and terrible moments of public health history - Tuberculosis: New York City’s epidemic in the 1980s

  • Patient delivered partner therapy for Chlamydia in Victoria

  • Reflections on a valuable epidemiological research experience investigating health literacy and obstructive sleep apnoea

  • Can practicing dentistry in a low socioeconomic area lead to depression- a cohort study

  • Sit Less: Move More – The Silent Dangers of Prolonged Sitting Times

  • Working together to develop successful Aboriginal health interventions: what have we learnt?

Awareness of public health medicine & AFPHM

  • 33.7% unaware of public health medicine as a specialty/career option before hearing about the JSS

  • 81% unaware that AFPHM is the learned college responsible for the training and assessment of public health physicians

  • 67.2% reported  awareness of public health medicine as a speciality/career option and 62.8%  awareness of AFPHM on hearing about the JSS

Most valued aspects of the JSS experience

  • Presenting their original work at a national conference

  • Attending a national conference

  •  understanding of public health medicine and public health practice

  •  understanding of public health medicine as a career

  • Personal interaction with AFPHM fellows and trainees, and like-minded students

Beyond awesome

Being a John Snow Scholarship … allowed for a rare chance to speak at an intercontinental conference, to network with a number of elite specialists and trainees in a number of fields, and to soak up the rays of both cutting-edge Public Health and the wider scope of medicine. It's something that was ‘beyond awesome' for a 4th year student.

To anyone even mildly considering this rare opportunity, I thoroughly recommend just going for it. The scholarship is designed so that you are able to use prior work you've already completed, and to add a few thoughtful reflections to it.

Thomas Ding, NZ

A rare opportunity during medical school

I always had an interest in public health … the idea of working on the ‘big picture' of health had long appealed to me. However, until I applied for the RACP John Snow Scholarship, I didn't have a good understanding of what public health was all about.

The Population Health Congress was the first conference I attended and presented at, a rare opportunity during medical school. I was impressed by the variety of projects that all of the finalists had worked on. The questions asked by the audience challenged me on the spot and made me think about how I might work further on my health promotion project in the future.

Georgina Taylor, Tas

I received so much positive feedback that has encouraged me to consider further options for study and research in public health.

A whole new world

The scholarship gave me an opportunity to see a whole new world. It was too easy to be caught up in the details of clinical medicine as I went through my rotations in teaching hospitals. I had very little understanding of the overall picture of the challenges facing current and future doctors. The process of preparing for the scholarship, as well as the great presentations I saw, gave me a rare opportunity to think and analyse from a public health perspective. This experience was extraordinarily valuable, since it would be crucial to understand aspects of public health no matter what field of medicine I pursue.

It was a great experience and I strongly encourage everyone to apply. You don't need to have a piece of work fit for the MJA. I used an assignment I did in 2nd year of medical school.

Duo Wang, NSW


  • Trojan horse approach seems to stimulate students’ awareness and appreciation of public health

  • JSS incorporated into RACP Foundation

  • Use of social media to promote JSS limited by lack of RACP policy

  • Expansion limited by public health physicians capacity

  • Cost effective?


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