Member Award Reports

2016 AEA Early Career Researcher Travel Award Report

Zoe Aitken, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne

I used the AEA Early Career Research Travel Award to travel to the United Kingdom in 2016. The award enabled me to attend the Society for Social Medicine Annual Scientific Meeting and the Lancaster Disability Studies Conference, and also supported a month-long collaboration visit at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

I have a particular interest in applying novel epidemiological and statistical analytic methods to improve causal inference in social epidemiology. My research aims to form a better understanding of how socioeconomic circumstances influence the effect of disability acquisition on mental health. The award enabled me to present my research to an international audience of experts in the field of disability as well as an opportunity to discuss methodological approaches with leading researchers in social epidemiology, which directly influenced my thinking and research direction. During my month-long visit at LSHTM, I worked with leading experts in the field of causal inference, attending seminars, discussing my research and working on shared research interests involving propensity scores and causal mediation analyses.

The award was instrumental in facilitating collaborative work with researchers in the United Kingdom which I hope will lead to productive and ongoing research collaborations. It was a very rewarding and invaluable experience and I would like to thank the AEA for making it possible.

2015 AEA Early Career Researcher Travel Award Report, Dr Katy Bell

2015 AEA Early Career Researcher Travel Award
Dr Katy Bell, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney

In 2015 I was very fortunate to be awarded an AEA ECR Travel Award. This award enabled me to travel to the University of Auckland, New Zealand to meet with Professor Rod Jackson and the researchers involved in ‘Vascular Informatics Using Epidemiology and the Web (VIEW)’. As a result of meeting with Rod and the team, we are now embarking on a number of collaborative research projects involving epidemiologists and statisticians in Sydney, Auckland and Gold Coast. These include the original project I proposed for the travel award -to investigate the clinical usefulness of long term risk prediction equations, as well as further projects examining ways to account for drop-in and drop-out treatment effects when developing contemporary risk equations, and the potential for new highly sensitive troponin tests to lead to Over-diagnosis and Over-treatment. The Travel Award has been incredibly helpful in facilitating what is certain to be a long term and productive collaboration.

2015 IEA-AEA Exchange Award - Recipient Reports

REPORT BY: MRS JYOTISHNA MUDALIAR International Epidemiological Association (IEA) - Western Pacific and Australasian
Epidemiology Association (AEA)
Exchange Awards 2015

I would like to thank the IEA for this travel grant to undertake Professional Development Program at the University of Sydney and University of Auckland in the month of May, 2016. The overall aim of this initiative was to provide a small grant for stimulation and support of collaboration and exchange activities between Australia and New Zealand and a lower middle income country in the Region.

The targeted objectives and achievements of utilization of this initiate are as follows:

Objective 1: Enhance existing IEA-AEA inter- country collaborations and stimulate new collaboration.

I was able to enhance existing IEA – AEA inter-country collaborations though visiting the following Universities and meeting with collaborators on current clinical and health research projects:

a) University of Sydney: Dr Camille Raynes-Greenow and A/Prof Kirsten Black and other team members.
b) University of Auckland: Dr Bridget Kool, Judith McCool and Jalal Mohammed

I was also able to meet with professionals from the following administrative offices at the University of Sydney which was facilitated by Dr Camille Raynes-Greenow, A/Prof Kirsten Black and Ms Danielle Somers from the Office of Global Health.

  1. Kerrie Henderson: University Policy Manager Policy Management Unit, Office of GeneralCounsel in regards to Policy development process at an academic institution
  2. Andrew Black: Director, Research Development and Collaboration
  3. Andrew Morison : International Development Coordinator (Japan, Korea & Pacific, Office of Global Engagement
  4. George Carayannopoulos: Manager, Office of Research & Research Training, Sydney Medical School
  5. Rebekah, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney in regards to providing assistance to students and research capacity building for Pharmacy faculty at the Fiji National University.

Objective 2: Build epidemiologic capacity and advance epidemiology

At both universities I received mentoring support and learnt how to use SPSS software and data cleaning to carry out data analysis for collaborative epidemiological studies.

I have worked on a collaborative clinical research project with A/Prof Kirsten Black from University of Sydney, and this study was based at the Antenatal Clinic at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital which is the main national referral hospital for Fiji. We recruited 2200 women at antenatal and followed up women post-delivery with the rate of 72%. Due to lack skills and expertise in data analysis within the local team which caused delay in the project completion and write up, A/Prof Kirsten as a mentor and investigator was requested for assistance. Together with A/Prof Kirsten Black and Dr Camille Raynes-Greenow I am conducting the data analysis and preparing my first publications.

Objective 3: Advance career through new and existing mentoring relationships

I received guidance and mentoring support from both the universities in the area of writing for publications and was able to prepare and submit abstracts from existing collaborative research projects to the following conferences:

a) RANZCOG. Abstract Titled: “Prevalence of overweight and obesity and sociodemographic associations amongst antenatal mothers at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Fiji”. Authors: Mudaliar J, Nusair P, Rouse I Melville P , McCudden L, Raynes-Greenow C Black K
b) The Pacifica Medical Association (PMA). Abstract titled: “Building research capacities and capabilities in Fiji: Are we there yet?” Authors: Jyotishna Mudaliar, Bridget Kool, Janice Natasha, Judith McCool

I also had an opportunity to attend team research meeting with Camille and Kirsten and to listen to 3 PhD students presentation of their research updates.

 

REPORT BY: MRS GADE WAGU
Advanced Field Research Methods Short Course, (Data collection methods, data analysis approaches and results reporting)

The International Epidemiological Association Exchange Award enabled me to attend a two day Advanced Field Research Methods Short Course conducted by Associate Professor Elizabeth Hoban, Associate Professor Jo Williams and Dr Jan Moore of the School of Health and Social Development from Deakin University in November 2015.

The workshop was very hands-on, and provided very useful and practical advice about research methods and their application, and provided plenty of opportunities for practice. I gained new insights into the analysis of qualitative data sets, reporting on the findings and preparing clear, targeted presentations to policymakers and health practitioners. The course was really useful because it gave me the opportunity to learn from various research disciplines working in different settings in Australia that had come together to interact and share ideas on how qualitative research can be managed. The knowledge and skills gained at this short course have prepared me to be a contact person in the Pacific Research Centre for the Prevention of Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases (C-POND) office where I am based in Suva in Fiji. I am now able to guide and assist staff on the collection, management and analysis of data associated with a range of C-POND projects; guide the design and implementation of future research project proposals; and make clear, targeted presentations advocating for change around pressing public health issues such as Non-Communicable Diseases.

As a recipient of the IEA/AEA: Western Pacific Region – Exchange Award, I would like to thank Professor Tony Lamontagne and the IEA organizing committee for giving me this opportunity as well as Professor Marj Moodie for assisting me in the process. This award was very important to C-POND because as a self-funded team of young researchers, we are constrained in terms of opportunities to attend short courses abroad.

2015 AEA Mid-Career Travel Award Report from Dr Helen Kelsall

Dr Helen Kelsall, Monash Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, MonCOEH, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University

In 2015 I was fortunate to be awarded the AEA Mid-Career International Travel Award. My research program includes occupational health and public health epidemiological research, and veteran health epidemiological research is a key interest. This award enabled me to travel to Washington D.C., USA, where many departments and institutions central to military and veteran health research and policy and practice in the United States of America are located.

I attended an international conference ‘Military and veterans’ health after a decade at war: lessons learned and the road ahead’, Washington D.C., July 2015 - an apt theme considering the 1991 Gulf War and Afghanistan and Iraq Wars. My three presentations were based on recently completed major projects that were funded by the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs. 1) Comparison of health impacts and veterans’ health care systems between Australia and the USA for post-1990 deployments. Magruder K, Sim M, Kelsall H. 2) Posttraumatic stress disorder in 1990-1991 Gulf War veterans, Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Kelsall HL, Creamer MC, Page MJ, Forbes AB, Sim MR. and 3) The Australian Gulf War Veterans’ Health Follow Up Health Study 2011-2012. Kelsall HL, Ikin JF, Gwini S-M, Forbes AB, Sim MR.

One project was undertaken as a United States and Australia Joint research effort for which the aim was to gain an understanding of the differences and similarities between the military deployment contexts, health impacts, and veterans’ health care systems between Australia and the USA for post-1990 deployments. Our US collaborator, Professor Kathryn Magruder, Medical University of South Carolina and I co-presented at the conference. We followed up with an invited presentation at the US Veterans Affairs department to an audience of military and veteran health researchers, practitioners and policy makers. While in Washington I also met with members of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, who undertake and publish key reviews of 1991 Gulf War veterans’ health. Such presentations, introductions and meetings with international military and veteran health researchers and officials enabled me to meet these key people and to disseminate and to raise the profile of our research, build connections, and better appreciate common veteran health issues and future directions.

Finally, as I coordinate the Master of Public Health (MPH) in our School, in closing my visit to the Washington D.C surrounds, I took the opportunity to visit the renowned Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD (around 65 km from Washington D.C.) and met with the Coordinator to learn more about their MPH and Practicum program.