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Student story

Romana Kafedžić

20 July 2023

"My degree has provided an incredible platform from which to launch my career..."

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Realising her passion for public health whilst studying first year medicine in Dunedin, Romana was determined to find a way to meet her passion for promoting health, which meant the non-clinical Health Sciences degree at UC was a perfect fit.

“I have spent most of my life growing up in Christchurch and thought I would give the University here a go! A few of my family members studied there and they absolutely loved it, and most of my friends attend this University, so it seemed like the natural choice over other universities,” she says.

Romana found her Health Sciences studies to be exactly what she was hoping for in a degree.

“I enjoyed so many aspects,” she says. “The content we learn isn’t just New Zealand based; the health models are international, and actually implemented in real life scenarios. We constantly have a wide selection of amazing guest speakers, from all over the world with so much experience and wisdom to pass on.”

“I personally loved receiving a problem regarding a health issue and writing an essay on how to solve it, the potential consequences and cost-benefit analysis of my decisions, stakeholder analysis, ethical implications, and prediction of success really played into my strengths of having an analytical personality.”

Romana had the opportunity to put these passions into practice during an internship with the Christchurch District Health Board.

“I was allocated a number of tasks by the CDHB, including organising community events, and later writing a research paper based on the outcome of these events. It was an excellent learning experience, especially for getting accustomed to a professional environment, and seeing how my degree was applied to real life scenarios.”

As such, Romana has high expectations of where her experiences can take her in a career.

“I hope to one day work for the Ministry of Health in New Zealand, and potentially the World Health Organisation or the United Nations. I would like to develop national level, and potentially international level health policies, ranging from immunisation to tackling gender and ethnic minority disparities.”

Originally from Croatia, Romana enjoyed physical activities to reflect her studies in health, such as swimming, walking and going to the Rec Centre. She also enjoyed going to the local farmers market and visiting spots around Christchurch, as well as attending UC events.

After graduating her Health Sciences degree, Romana began her career with Koti Technologies as a Market Research Analyst, investigating the demand for water purification products for hospital and healthcare facilities globally.

She then worked as a Research Analyst for Clubfoot Aotearoa, a non-profit supporting children born with the rare clubfoot disease. Romana’s role involved a large amount of data collation from family interviews and international partners to develop more effective healthcare models, particularly for providers in New Zealand and the Pacific.

Romana moved to London in 2017, launching her career in the UK specialising in the pharmaceutical sector as a Research Coordinator for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, managing research grants and events, including the annual Health Services Research and Pharmacy Practice (HSRPP) conference.

Later Romana worked at Nicholas Hall, a consumer healthcare solutions company. As a consultant, she developed strategies for client growth in existing and new healthcare categories and geographies. Her client base was international, seeing her travel to France, Belgium, USA, and The Netherlands.

Currently Romana works as a Project Manager for global company Reckitt, within their UK Innovation Hub. As a Project Manager, Romana manages a cross-functional team ranging from R&D, medical, safety, to finance and sales in order to launch innovative products in intimate hygiene and infant care.

At Reckitt she is also a member of the diversity and inclusion committee; has launched a book club; and been awarded a scholarship to become an ambassador of the prestigious One Young World organisation.

“The Health Sciences degree is definitely designed for those have a long-term vision and can see the bigger systemic issues in health. Health is a very individual experience, however the real change comes from addressing public health issues head on. My degree has provided an incredible platform from which to launch my career. With a firm understanding of public health theories and problem-solving approaches, I can apply these skills to my career.

“If you’ve got a lot of ambition then definitely give Health Sciences a go! There are so many ways to improve the health and well-being of people, and this degree provides an opportunity to do so on a large scale.”

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