Around the universities and research institutes

Cate Swannell
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja16.1710C2
Published online: 17 October 2016

Flinders Northern Territory medical student Ian Lee has won the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) Indigenous Student of the Year Award. The third-year student at Flinders’ Darwin medical program was recognised for his contribution to encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in training to become remote doctors via the university’s NT Medical Program and other programs. Mr Lee commenced studying medicine in 2011 as a mature student in order to support health outcomes for people in rural and remote areas of the NT. “I’ve already got my eye on a few remote communities I’d like to go to work once I’m finished,” he says, adding he enjoys also being chair of the AIDA Student Representative Committee and a director on the AIDA Board. “I like to encourage any Indigenous person who wants to study medicine. I have encouraged a lot of people to apply to do it, including my niece, and then encourage them to continue on. We are hoping that as more come through, then more will stay in the Territory and not be interested in going anywhere else. Many of our students do an internship at Alice Springs and look at different communities they’d like to work.” Mr Lee, who previously completed an information technology degree at the University of Canberra, moved back to his Larrakia homelands in order to be close to his family and roots. At the AIDA annual awards last week, the President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Phillip Truskett also presented awards to Bond University Associate Professor Dr Bradley Murphy (Indigenous Doctor of the Year) and University of Western Sydney Professor Jennifer Reath (Associate Member of the Year).

Dr Alexandra Webb from the Australian National University Medical School has been recognised among Australia’s best teachers, winning an Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, worth $10 000. Dr Webb was recognised for developing and implementing an integrated medical imaging curriculum that engages medical students in active learning through the use of technology and authentic learning. “I love my job and am very passionate about creating educational environments to engage students in learning about anatomy and anatomical imaging,” she said. “Incredible advances in technology have enabled us to view the body in new ways that further enhance the fascination associated with learning about the body. I enjoy incorporating these new technologies into my teaching, together with the study of anatomical specimens, to create active and blended learning environments.” Associate Professor Suzzanne Owen from Griffith University’s Griffith Health also won an OLT citation, for leading Go Health Go Griffith: an innovative educational partnership facilitating the aspirations and capabilities of high school students from diverse backgrounds for careers in Health.

Two PhD students from Bond University’s Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice have been selected for prestigious awards. Thanya Pathirana, a PhD student in Evidence-Based Medicine, as well as a tutor of Clinical Skills, was awarded the Early Career Researcher Workshop Award by the Australasian Epidemiological Association (AEA) for her abstract on her study to estimate prevalence of overdiagnosis in cancer titled Quantifying the extent of overdiagnosis associated with cancer screening, using prostate cancer as an example. Loai Albarqouni was selected for the annual AEA Student Conference Award presented at the AEA Annual Scientific Meeting in September. He was chosen for his exemplary abstract submission titled Indirect evidence of reporting bias in medical research: a cross-sectional survey which showed that reporting biases are still common in medical research. The award is offered to only two early career researchers per year and allows them to participate in workshops at the AEA Annual Scientific Meeting.

The University of Melbourne’s School of Medicine is the best in the country, and 26th in the world, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities list released last month. The rankings list the best universities in the world overall, and then by broad study areas. Melbourne was the top-ranked Australian university, finishing 40th overall. Monash University’s School of Medicine was second in Australia, and 34th in the world, while overall Monash was ranked 79th in the world. University of Sydney’s School of Medicine was 3rd in Australia, and 36th in the world, while the university as a whole ranked 82nd. The University of Queensland’s School of Medicine was 4th in Australia, and between 51st and 75th in the world, and UQ ranked 55th in the world overall. University of Western Australia’s School of Medicine, and the University of Adelaide’s School of Medicine also made the top 100; Deakin University’s School of Medicine, and the University of New South Wales’ School of Medicine were in the top 150; and the University of Newcastle’s School of Medicine was in the top 200.

Dr Rene Stolwyk and Dr Dana Wong of the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences (MICCN), together with Associate Professor Dominique Cadilhac from the Monash University School of Clinical Sciences, have recently won funding from the Victorian Government via the Victorian Stroke Clinical Network (VSCN) for two separate projects relating to the subacute care of patients with stroke. Neuropsychologist Dr Dana Wong’s project focuses on increasing access to a group rehabilitation program for patients with stroke who have memory problems. The Monash Memory Skills Group, which has helped improve everyday memory functioning for patients with stroke since launching at the Monash Psychology Centre in Notting Hill in 2014, will be rolled out and evaluated at two public health services, in collaboration with Austin Health and Monash Health. The second project, led by Dr Rene Stolwyk and Lauren Arthurson of Echuca Regional Health, will see the development and evaluation of a new teleneuropsychology rehabilitation service. The hospital’s stroke survivors have not previously had access to such a service, which will provide assessment and treatment for stroke-related cognitive, behavioural and mood impairments. For both projects, Associate Professor Cadilhac, Head of Translational Public Health and Evaluation (Stroke and Ageing Research), and her team will conduct program sustainability and feasibility evaluations. The ultimate goal is to provide evidence from these projects that will support further expanding of the availability of these neuropsychological services to patients with stroke throughout Australia.

Dr Natalie Hannan, from the Department Obstetrics and Gynaecology, has been awarded an Inspiring Women Fellowship with support from host organisation, the University of Melbourne. The Inspiring Women Fellowships, valued at $150 000 each, operate over 3 to 5 years and are designed to support women in the early and middle stages of their careers to remain in their profession while managing other responsibilities. Dr Hannan’s project title is Investigating mechanisms of preeclampsia and developing novel therapeutics.

The Kirby Institute at the University of NSW has announced that Darryl O’Donnell, CEO of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) will have the academic title of Adjunct Associate Professor conferred upon him. “This award recognises Darryl’s dedicated contributions to research at the Kirby Institute, as well as has his role as a community leader in response to HIV in Australia, particularly in his current role as CEO of AFAO,” said Professor Andrew Grulich, head of the HIV Epidemiology and Prevention Program at the Kirby Institute. “Strong partnerships and collaborations between researchers and community are vital in our continued response to HIV,” said Professor Grulich. “Conferring this role upon Darryl will help facilitate even greater communication and partnership between research and community”. President of AFAO Dr Bridget Haire also said the appointment will further strengthen the excellent relationship between the Kirby Institute and AFAO, and is a well-deserved recognition of Darryl’s achievements in the sector. “In particular, the award notes Darryl’s intellectual leadership in the national conversation on HIV spanning many years, as well as his outstanding academic record.”

Mr Sean Sadler, from the University of Newcastle’s School of Health Sciences, has been awarded a citation from the Australian Awards for University Teaching for the use of interactive, research-driven methods of teaching to inspire and motivate students to engage with the podiatry program and become lifelong learners. “Sean Sadler is a sessional staff member whose diverse yet complementary roles as teacher, clinician, and researcher, have led him to become an outstanding educator that uses a range of teaching methods to stimulate students’ curiosity for learning,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Andrew Parfitt. “Sean’s teaching philosophy motivates and inspires students therefore maximising their engagement with course material and the podiatry profession. His empathetic approach to feedback and the hands-on style to learning ensures students become life-long learners and critical thinkers.”

  • Cate Swannell



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