David Humphries (Monash University, 2011)

Current job title: Critical care resident, The Alfred Hospital

Areas of interest: Climate change and health, Refugee and asylum seeker health, HIV and Sexual health, Health Systems and Policy, Public health and Epidemiology

What are you doing now?
Currently working full-time in Intensive Care whilst studying for the ACEM primary exams, which I hope to sit early next year. I’m also undertaking some consultancy work for The Global Fund: the project aims to inform the Fund’s forthcoming strategic framework specifically by benchmarking and tracking progress on gender equality in relation to the three diseases. Somewhat painfully I am also (oh so) close to submitting a manuscript for publication that looks at equity in relation to receipt of timely appropriate care for children with symptoms of malaria or pneumonia in Uganda.

What did you do after finishing medical school?
After completing my internship and first residency year at a large tertiary hospital I have just returned to Melbourne following two years away from full-time clinical medicine. And oh how good that was. My girlfriend and I spent six months driving, camping, surfing, and locuming our way around Australia, before moving to Stockholm to study a Masters of Global Health at the Karolinska Institute (think Hans Rosling’s bubble visualisations). After graduating I was fortunate to obtain some consulting work together with my supervisor, completing projects for both SIDA (the Swedish Government’s Development Agency) and The Global Fund, which helped put the theory into practice.

What was your ‘big break’?
The ‘biggest breaks’ I’ve benefitted from have been mostly moments of inspiration: often from people or experiences that have served as important motivators. One important example was convening the Global Health Conference in Melbourne, back in 2008. This provided connections to an inspiring group of like-minded students as well as academics, activists, and policy-makers and demonstrated the role that AMSA can play in forging your own Global Health path.

Where are you headed/what’s your dream job? Are you in it now?
It is my hope to marry a career in critical care medicine (ED and ICU) with translational research and health policy implementation at a global level.

What did you study that has helped you (during or since medical school)?
During medical school I enrolled in some politics and IR subjects (to feel like a ‘proper’ university student), and also completed an Honours BMedSci degree that enabled me to spend four valuable months in Vanuatu collecting data for a project in conjunction with an international health research institute. Electives, holiday projects, and internships overseas, as well as John Flynn placements in Indigenous communities back home, opened my eyes to the bigger questions surrounding health equity and care provision in diverse environments. A Masters of Public or Global Health (or equivalent) adds an important theoretical underpinning, which has the dual benefit of also informing one’s clinical work. The Centre for Sustainability Leadership runs a useful Fellowship Program that encourages you to consider your own personal (and your career’s) sustainability impact. In your own time, I’d really recommend auditing online MOOCS (search across EdX, FutureLearn, Coursera), podcasts (see Lancet Global Health, BBC Health Check, Guardian Development, and definitely Ezra Klein’s recent interview with Jim Kim on Vox), and volunteering within your local community in areas you’re particularly passionate about.

Top tips for students interested in a similar global health pathway?
Don’t be afraid to reach out and definitely, definitely don’t be afraid to take the path less travelled.

When I’m not doing global health, you’ll find me…
Travelling and exploring the great outdoors.

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