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AHRA WHRTN Award inspires five female health researchers in Queensland to advance their careers

This month, five female early and mid-career health researchers in Queensland received financial support from the Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA) Women’s Health Research, Translation and Impact Network (WHRTN) to advance their careers and continue research that is improving health outcomes for all Australian women.

They are part of a national group of thirty-six individuals who received up to $15,000 from the inaugural AHRA WHRTN Early and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Funded Awards.

Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners congratulations all the award winners, particularly the following researchers within its partnership:

·         Dr Heena Akbar, Queensland University of Technology and Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research

·         Dr Jane Currie, Queensland University of Technology and St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney

·         Dr Priya Martin, University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (Toowoomba)

Award recipient Dr Heena Akbar from Queensland University of Technology and Woolworths Centre for Childhood Nutrition Research said the award allows her to continue working with Maori and Pacific communities to address health inequalities and improve their quality of life.

“As an early career researcher, I aspire to lead and advocate for Pacific health research and inform policy development that can translate to better health outcomes for Maori and Pacific women and their families in Australia.

“With this WHRTN EMCR award, I can continue to translate my research findings and grow my expertise in implementation science with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and refine methods of working with members of communities as co-researchers,” Dr Akbar said.

Dr Jane Currie, from the Queensland University of Technology and St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney, was incredibly excited to win the award.

‘The WHRTN EMCR will support an evaluation of a domestic violence nurse-led service with Micah Projects in Brisbane. Specifically, the award will help me develop data linkage skills to demonstrate the impact of the domestic violence service on access to healthcare.

“This award creates an opportunity for me to enhance my skill set, which will be invaluable in continuing my research focus on access to healthcare for vulnerable populations, particularly people experiencing homelessness,” Dr Currie said.

Dr Martin from the University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (Toowoomba) explained it is important for healthcare workers to have access to high quality organisational professional support, to help them navigate changing and challenging times.

“While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been felt by everyone, recent research is illuminating the bigger hit female healthcare workers in the frontline are experiencing. As a working mother myself, juggling work, research and parental commitments can sometimes leave me overwhelmed.

“The WHRTN EMCR Award will provide me the resources needed to investigate which organisational support measures are best placed to enhance female healthcare worker mental health and wellbeing, which will be crucial as we navigate the remainder of this pandemic and in the post-pandemic period,” Dr Martin said.

About AHRA:

The Australian Health Research Alliance is the peak body representing Australia’s network of seven Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres and three Centres for Innovation in Regional Health accredited by the National Health and Medical Research Council. AHRA provides one voice for “Better Health Through Research”.

The Centres are strongly supported by the Government and work regionally and nationally, funded by Partners, State and Federal government, with strong support through the Medical Research Future Fund. See www.ahra.org.au

About WHRTN:

The Network, funded by the Morrison Government, The Hon Greg Hunt MP and the Medical Research Future Fund, is a national collaboration across community, health services and academic institutions set to boost national and international collaboration on women’s health, build health workforce capacity, develop leaders in women’s health, and advance research and translation to deliver impact and better health for Australian women.

Commonwealth Funding grant number: EPCD000014

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