Healthy Communities Journal Club – AMSA Australia

Name of the activity: Healthy Communities Journal Club 

Country/NMO: AMSA Australia

Program: Healthy Lifestyles & Non-Communicable Diseases

Contact information: contact [email protected] to get in touch with the Activity Coordinator

Type of the activity: Continuous Activity

Category: Capacity Building

Focus area: Prevention of NCDs and Health Promotion

Sustainable Development Goals addressed: SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), SDG 17 (Partnerships)

General description:

Data from the Health Ministry of Indonesia shows that the highest rate of women cancer cases is breast & cervical cancer consecutively. based on primary data filled in by 154 respondents in the age range of 14-39 years, a knowledge score of 6.44 out of 10 was obtained which was quite good. However, respondents still rarely do self-screening for breast cancer and have not done the HPV vaccine. Through this campaign SCORA CIMSA tries to promote cancer prevention to the society.

Problem statement:

“Unhealthy communities” that encourage the obesogenic lifestyle are rising rapidly in the Australian population and worldwide. 89% of deaths in Australia leading to an increasing global disease burden of NCDs such as heart disease and type II diabetes, along with many other conditions. As a student-led organisation, we aim to motivate medical students towards healthy lifestyles, with the hope that it inspires them both in their own lives, and the wider community.

Target groups:

  • Medical students


  • General population
  • Medical students
  • Other health professionals


We aim, through research-focussed discussions to prompt medical students to realize current gaps in public health NCD-related (and communicable disease related) research, as well as help in promoting evidence-based decision making. We have the following goals: 

> Build critical appraisal skills to evaluate the evidence-base surrounding NCDs/communicable disease 

> Understand the causes of the causes of ill-health, beyond just medicine such as the social, cultural, structural, commercial and environmental determinants of health 

> Be able make evidence-based decisions surrounding care of patients (through research discussions) 

> Understand the policy process; be able to review and evaluate current policies and campaigns that play a role in determining health (by engaging with external stakeholders such as Doctors For Nutrition Australia, as well as with internal AMSA bodies such as AMSA Policy) 

> Develop motivation to participate in research that promotes healthy communities

Indicators of Success:

A survey will be sent out at the beginning and end of the year – the first will assess students’ current level of understanding and motivation to engage in public health related research, and the end survey will repeat this, and additionally probe for increases in knowledge or motivation to promote healthy lifestyles and communities. This post-Journal club evaluation ‘quiz’ will be at the end of the year, and will combine research skills and critical appraisal that has been learnt throughout the year – by looking at the differences in the first quiz vs the last quiz, the level of success of the program can be evaluated.


Journal Club will occur once a month, on the first Saturday. The coordinators will be the Healthy Communities national coordinators, and will be directly facilitated by the AMSA Healthy Communities Research Officer. This means coordinators will determine themes and speakers for discussion ,whilst the RO will reach out to speakers, aid students in developing presentations, leading the discussion after the presentation of the chosen paper, and running the game-show quiz component of each journal club. This Journal Club was piloted in 2022 to great success, and thus is certainly sustainable as a project. The addition this year is guest academics – which will be contacted ahead of time through AMSA’s base of guest speakers and other known individuals related to the research topic discussed. There is little risk to students and speakers, as it is conducted online via zoom. Sessions are not recorded and thus there is no need to seek permission for recordings. 

Plans for evaluation:

Each journal club has a ‘gameshow’ component, which is essentially a ‘quiz’ at the end of the session to assess each individual’s knowledge acquisition in a fun and interactive way. These quizzes and results will be posted and reported to monitor the progress of knowledge acquisition at the end of the session. The themes from each quiz at end of each month will stay consistent; ie. ‘Evidence-based decision-making’ might be a theme, and questions under it will relate to this and be general (what type of lit. review is the highest evidence?) OR specific (in Australia, what is the CVD risk for people 60yo + with diabetes?) 

As aforementioned, we will also have a beginning of year & end of year survey/quiz to assess current knowledge vs knowledge-gained post Journal Club attendance at the end of the year. 

External collaborations:

Yes, we will be – for guest speakers in each month’s journal club. This journal club is not funded in any way by grants/sponsorships. Guest academics will be contacted via Australian universities’ research portfolios (ie. James Cook University academics), or external organizations that AMSA Healthy Communities has a relationship with (such as DFN Australia), or any other researchers already existing in AMSA’s past guest speakers list. 

Enquire now

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