I spent my co-op working at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) in their Western Region office in Downtown Vancouver. PHAC is a federal department that promotes health, prevents chronic and infectious diseases, and responds to public health emergencies in Canada. I was a part of the Public Health Capacity and Knowledge Management Unit, which is responsible for increasing the Agency’s understanding of public health capacity and health security systems, as well as conducting health systems analysis for input on policy and program development.
During my time there, I worked on a variety of interesting files. My major project for the summer was to produce a research report on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in BC, which included analyzing antibiotic resistance and utilization trends, summarizing the major AMR policy initiatives in the province, and presenting opportunities for PHAC engagement. I was also given a lot of other neat opportunities, like meeting in-person with Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer and conducting a literature review on chronic emergency management for the Vice President of PHAC’s Health Security and Infrastructure Branch.
My unit was very supportive, and I was given a fair amount of independence and was able to take leads on certain projects, so I was able to further develop some of the skills I learned in the MPP program. My experience at PHAC has given me a better understanding of federal government work and fostered my career interests. I think the skills and knowledge that I’ve gained over the summer have positioned me really well for future government work, particularly in the field of public health.