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Lucinda studied Biomedical Science/ Master of Human Nutrition at Monash University/ Deakin University
What's your job about?
The Department of Health is part of a hugely important portfolio which supports the health care system of Australia. We touch on many aspects of health care, from preventative health promotion activities to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to Medicare and much more. I am working in an area which influences food and nutrition policy in Australia. We aim to influence the eating behaviours of Australians to tackle the monumental challenge presented to us in the form of overweight and obesity rates. We work with the statutory body Food Standards Australian New Zealand to improve areas such as food labelling, food additive regulation and food fortification to improve the quality of foods in Australia and enable consumers can make informed decisions. The job is varied, but entails a lot of writing and research. We present the Commonwealth’s perspective to various aspects of food and nutrition policy which often requires writing responses and briefing senior staff and Health Ministers.
What's your background?
Despite being born in London, I am a Melbournian through and through having lived there since I was two years old. I grew up and went to school in Kew before attending Monash University in Clayton to study Biomedical Science, then attended Deakin University in Burwood to study a Master of Human Nutrition. I made the move to Canberra for the Department of Health’s graduate program in January this year. While there are many aspects of Melbourne I miss, there are many hidden gems to living in Canberra such as the non-existent traffic. Canberra also allows you to meet some wonderful people from really varied backgrounds. I have found this to provide me with a great sense of perspective.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes. Depending on what area in the Department you work, there is an area for everyone. There are very technical areas, however there are many roles for generalists. For the roles I have been in, good writing and research skills and a willingness to learn on the job would make you suitable.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Having a fun, exciting and dynamic team is something I enjoy most about my job. I love when an exciting project or topic comes up and the team abuzz with excitement chatting about our opinions and thoughts. I also love the fantastic morning teas and lunches to celebrate a teammate’s birthday or achievement; it’s great to have that sense of rapport. An added bonus is being in a predominantly women’s team and taking bets on who is going to win The Bachelor…
What are the limitations of your job?
At Health we do three rotations during our one year graduate program. It’s fantastic to be able to experience different areas of the Department and see the varied work they do. However, it can feel like once you’ve finally settled in and have a good grasp of the section you’re working in, it’s time to move onto your next rotation. It also makes it challenging to see projects from inception to completion.
Pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
My advice would be to enjoy the days off you get during university, nothing compares to the 4 weeks of annual leave you get working full time. Conversely, I would tell my past student self that life gets a lot better on a full time salary!
Why did you choose the Department of Health?
I chose the Department of Health because my interests lie in disease prevention (particularly obesity), and I wanted to work at a level which had the ability to affect the health outcomes of the population.
What are you interests?
I would say I’m your pretty standard person who enjoys all the good things in life – cake, wine and fluffy animals. I also occasionally enjoy being outdoors and going for walks and runs in the sunshine and generally being active.