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.