Five years ago, Anika Buining was diagnosed with endometriosis, a chronic pelvic pain condition which affects an estimated 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years*. It is the widespread prevalence of this chronic condition and the lack of any long-term treatment options that led her down the path of Public Health at Griffith University.
When asked about her newfound vocation, Anika explains that chronic pelvic pain conditions aren’t acknowledged nor included in the Australian Government’s policies – whether it is to address women’s health, Indigenous or rural and remote health strategies.
“This set a fire in my belly and gave me the passion to advocate for women’s health. I saw time and time again a lack for advocacy and government lobbying. There is a large gap between best evidence and practice,” she says.
“My Public Health degree has and continues to give me the tools to help lobbying for change as well as the skill set to help re-orientate health care systems.”
Anika currently works for the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood and has been an active board member of QENDO, a Queensland based women’s health NGO providing support to women affected by endometriosis in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. She also sits on Queensland Health’s Integrated Pain board and has participated in the first ever virtual integrated pain centre for rural and remote patients.
“What I love about public health is the diversity and the ability to relate it to almost everything.
“Public health professionals are all working towards the same common goals of building healthy policy, creating supportive environments, re-orientating health services for all – young, old, sick, healthy.”
A recipient of the New Colombo Plan scholarship, Anika says a defining moment that consolidated her career path was her recent public health tour to Vanuatu with Griffith University.
“The objective of this excursion was to liaise with government and non-government organisations, all working collectively for the common good of humanity,” she beams.
“I want to help build holistic health systems and empower vulnerable population to create change they wish to see within their communities. This is the power to public health: empowering and assisting communities make the change they desire,” she adds.
Throughout her studies Anika faced many personal challenges – one being her health. This did not deter her from striving to pursue her goals.
“I have had an overwhelming amount of support from Griffith University’ staff. The fact that I am still able to complete a full workload over three trimesters rather than two has made a major difference in my uni journey.
“I am forever grateful to my tutors and lecturers who continue to nurture my skills, pushing me to go further and be the best version of myself. Students must remember they are running their own race, and no one should tell you otherwise,” she concludes.
Learn to tackle public health challenges head on with a Public Health degree at Griffith University. You’ll learn from award winning teachers and world-renowned researchers how to address major health issues including chronic disease, sexual health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, physical activity, drugs and alcohol abuse.