Public Health: Shwetha Shankar

Dr Shwetha Shankar graduated with a Master of Public Health from the University of Melbourne and also holds a Bachelor of Dental Surgery. With a keen interest in health promotion, Shwetha works toward shifting community attitudes, driving policy change and improving the provision of health service to populations in need.

Shwetha is currently working at Hepatitis Victoria as a Health Promotion Officer. Here, she works to plan and deliver health promotion activities to increase awareness about viral hepatitis amongst priority populations.

“As part of my role Idesign, conduct and evaluate education sessions for people from priority populations, including young people, people in custodial settings, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people from CALD backgrounds.
“I provide workforce development training around viral hepatitis to people who work with these priority population groups including healthcare professionals, Aboriginal Health Workers, community and welfare workers, drug and alcohol workers, prison officers and custodial staff and education sector staff. As part of this I also collection necessary data for evaluation of these sessions.”

While working at Hepititis Victoria Shwetha has delivered many projects providing viral hepatitis related education sessions.

“One of the things I enjoy most about my role is getting the chance to meet and work directly with different community groups. We try to keep things engaging and some of my favourite viral hepatitis education promotions I’ve worked on include:

  • StreetShot: a photographic and video competition for at-risk young people involving those from an Aboriginal background and CALD communities. The first ever Victorian state strategies for viral hepatitis B and C were released at the event by Mary-Anne Thomas MP, who also awarded prizes to winners on the day - July 28th, 2016.
  • Pregnant mothers’ groups: I delivered information around how to keep mums and their babies healthy- mainly to CALD communities and used a number of translators (up to five for just one particular session!)
  • World Hepatitis Day celebration 2017: raising awareness among the community at Bourke Street. We came up with innovative activities to make viral hepatitis education more exciting. Spin the wheel, face painting, picture card activity and more.
  • Grants program: as part of the LIVERability festival (World Hepatitis Day events), we started a grants program to involve the Aboriginal community specifically since they have proven difficult to reach when it comes to having a yarn on viral hepatitis. This program was key in breaking these barriers, especially in regional Victoria!”

Shwetha was an active participant in campus life, taking part in many of the various clubs and activities on offer.

“The campus is gorgeous and I loved spending time there. I was involved as a volunteer with the UMSU and in managing a number of events for student programs. I found that the teachers were always easy to approach and happy to help- this greatly reduced stress around exam time! I thoroughly enjoyed the entire MPH course and had a ball during the graduation ceremony.”