Law student interns making a difference in the Pacific

14 December 2022
Working on the Pacific Legislative Framework
Sydney Health Law hosted three student interns this semester, they have been working in collaboration with the Public Health Division of the Pacific Community.
Sydney Health Law Interns

Three remarkable students have spent the semester interning at Sydney Health Law, the health law research centre within the Sydney Law School.

Jonna Mathiessen, Maja Vasic and Nina Qiu all took part in the 12-week program where they worked under the tutelage of Professor Roger Magnusson from Sydney Health Law.

The internship involved working in collaboration with the Public Health Division of the Pacific Community, an inter-governmental organisation that includes the USA and Australia which focuses on strengthening development in Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs).

The program follows on from the Law School’s involvement in the Pacific Legislative Framework, an ambitious project to develop model public health legislation in the Pacific Islands.

Interns were focused on researching options for the regulation of international trans-border alcohol advertising and recommending regional and national responses.

Jonna Mathiessen was thrilled at what she was able to learn through the regulatory options during the internship.

“I think we often overlook the influence marketing has on our decisions and consequently our health outcomes,” Mathiessen said.

“The impact of cross border alcohol advertising is immensely complex and the options for regulation are equally complex.”

“Through the internship, I was able to expand my knowledge of both local and international public health regulation.

“This allowed me to build on my experience as a Research Associate at the Australian Law Reform Commission to formulate recommendations and suggestions for the Pacific Commission to regulate cross-border alcohol advertising.”

Sydney Health Law Interns

Intern Maja Vasic said that working alongside the Pacific Commission to tackle these problems was an educational highlight.

“Working with the Pacific Commission was invaluable,” Vasic said.

“We got the chance to hear first-hand from the experts about the health issues facing their community and about the efforts that have been taken so far to address those issues.

“The internship has taught me to appreciate the relationship between health policy and the law.”

Nina Qiu echoed her fellow interns’ sentiments about the program.

“I had a fantastic time working as an intern with Sydney Health Law,” Nina said.

“I really enjoyed the collaborative structure of the internship where I was able to work with two other brilliant interns who are like-minded but also diverse in experience and background.

“I feel like this internship has meaning for the real world and the area of public health, I am very grateful to be a part of it.”

The internship not only provided participants with a valuable learning opportunity, but also gave a chance to play a part in making beneficial changes for people’s lives.

Mathiessen said this was the most rewarding part of the experience for her.

“The opportunity to work to potentially create a positive impact on the lives and health of Pacific Island communities has been the highlight of this internship for me.”

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