Swapping the dental chair for prisoner care

From performing oral health checks to researching mental health rehabilitation, Shannon Dias’ career in public health has taken him from Papua New Guinea all the way to prison…in a research capacity that is.

As an overseas trained dentist, Shannon experienced firsthand how socioeconomically disadvantaged and vulnerable populations had worse oral health outcomes.

These experiences and insights ignited his desire to create change at a community-level so Shannon enrolled in UQ’s Master of Public Health – the number one ranked program in Asia Pacific for Public Health.

“I chose UQ to complete my Master of Public Health degree because the university has a great reputation and is one of the world's leading accrediting bodies for MPH programs.”

Learning from professors and lecturers who were internationally renowned epidemiologists and population health researchers, Shannon was well-placed to study a broad range of topics from health systems and biostatistics to health policy and global HIV/AIDS control.

“The MPH gave me the knowledge and tools to be in a position to help solve current health problems and address health inequalities at a population level. I would definitely recommend this degree to Australian and International health professionals from a broad range of backgrounds and disciplines as it provides you with a breadth of knowledge and highly specialised skills to forge the career you want in public health.”

Throughout his Masters of Public Health, Shannon gained valuable experience through a dissertation research project. While completing his dissertation on sexually transmitted infections in Papua New Guinea (PNG), he was fortunate to be employed as a research assistant on the project. This in-field experience proved most valuable, giving Shannon the skills to critically evaluate medical evidence, conduct systematic reviews, and apply appropriate statistical techniques.

Shannon’s research contribution helped to inform the National Department of Health in PNG on its policy regarding sexual health and STI/HIV prevention and was published in a high impact, internationally renowned epidemiology journal.

Currently employed as a Research Officer at the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research, Shannon is working to implement practices that improve the recovery and social inclusion of people with severe mental illness. In addition to this, in his role as an Honorary Research Fellow with The Mater Research Institute, Shannon is researching prisoner rehabilitation with the goal of informing transitional programs and ‘throughcare’ services for ex-prisoners. 

Shannon’s long term career goal is to work with the World Health Organization (WHO) on prisoner health.

Learn more about UQ's Master of Public Health


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