Romana Kafedžic

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

  • Romana Kafedžić

Bachelor of Health Sciences in Public Health and Society and Policy

Consultant, Nicholas Hall & Company Ltd, London

After studying a medicinal course at the University of Otago, but finding her experience in Dunedin unfullfilling, Romana was determined to find another 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 here 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 learned isn’t just New Zealand focused; 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, viewpoints of key stakeholders and cost-benefit analysis of my decisions, etc.’

Romana had the opportunity to put this 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 and how similar events would impact mental health projects going forward. 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 would like to develop national level, and potentially international level health policies, ranging from restricting fast food outlets and food advertising to promoting more holistic health practices, as opposed to the traditional patriarchal model of taking a pill for something.’

Originally from Croatia, Romana enjoyed physical activities to reflect her studies in health, such as swimming, running 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 then moved to London, launching her career in the UK at The Royal Society within diversity and education policy administration, and later at Springer Nature publishing company assisting with the Scientific Data research journal.

Following this, Romana began 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.

Currently Romana works at Nicholas Hall, a consumer healthcare solutions company. As a Consultant, she researches the market for new, innovative health products and therapeutic devices; and develops business, sales, and R&D strategies for international clients. This includes travelling to visit clients in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the USA.

‘It is incredibly exciting working abroad, witnessing firsthand the new technologies being developed, how artificial intelligence is being used to save money for healthcare systems worldwide, and most importantly the very real impact these solutions have to the health of individuals and the public overall.’

With so many pivotal applications a Health Sciences degree can have, Romana encourages those looking to study in a non-clinical health setting to ‘think big’.

‘The Health Sciences degree is definitely designed for those have a long-term vision, and can see the bigger picture 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 am able to 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 wellbeing of people, and this degree provides an opportunity to do so on a large scale.’

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