Hayden Mackenzie

Master of Epidemiology student Hayden wanted to explore population-based research and analysis methods.

A picture of Hayden Mackenzie, Master of Epidemiology student

Master of Epidemiology

Moving from a clinical career to a research-oriented one, I wanted to expand my research skills and specifically explore population-based research and analysis methods. I’d always been stirred by questions like “How would people’s health outcomes change if we paid attention to X?”, and the idea of finding answers to these sorts of difficult questions I think is a really worthwhile challenge.

I’d looked around, and Melbourne was ranked among the best universities both locally and globally for the kinds of projects I find interesting. I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit part of the appeal was the campus and its architecture – I love the sense of history they convey and it reminds me how many people have walked these paths before me.

For me, the appeal of science in general is shining light on ideas which improve our understanding of the world. At the moment epidemiology has been thrown into the spotlight of that pursuit as we try to navigate our way through a global pandemic. I’m fortunate that being a student of the field has allowed me to start developing the skills to approach questions of enormous impact to humanity, and to help assess and translate the flood of information coming through different channels currently.

Good science involves separating the reliable information from the unreliable, and turning that information into good decisions. This course has really helped fine tune my ability to tell the difference between good and bad information, and ask better questions of the data so that we can make better decisions.

Currently I work as the Research and Development Lead at Work Healthy Australia – a company which partners with workplaces to triage, manage and reduce workplace injuries. What I love most about it is that the data we collect and the experience we have allows us to ask and answer really interesting questions about why injuries occur, in whom, and what factors influence recovery. The lessons we take from this allow us to have a huge positive impact on the recovery of individuals, many of whom are in low-income roles and can’t afford to be off work. It’s a nice situation where everybody wins, and we get to advance the field while we’re at it.

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