Welcome to Australia Awards Scholarships students
Latest news | January–June 2014

Latest News

Collaborative research and capacity building opportunities with Indonesia

August 2014

The Office for Global Health, represented by Danielle Somers, visited Indonesia last week to take part in the Australia Awards Information Days in Jakarta and Bali and meet with alumni and collaborators in both cities.

Joined by colleagues from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Professor Rodney Smith), Faculty of Agriculture and Environment (Associate Professor Budiman Minasny) and the Australia Awards Office at the University of Sydney (Ms Amy Wan), the team met with prospective students who were awarded either a Masters or PhD level scholarship.

Over 200 scholars attended the event in Jakarta and a further 100 scholars in Bali, with strong interest in the Master of International Public Health, Master of Clinical Epidemiology, Master of Health Policy and Master of HIV, STIs & Sexual Health.

The Australia Awards Indonesia team, managed by Coffey International, outlined the new role of the new On Award Strategy Manager Ms Therese Faulkner and the Short Courses Coordinator Mr Janne Laukkala, to further enhance collaborative ties between Indonesia and Australia.

Danielle Somers also met with the newly appointed Director of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta, Professor Amin Soebandrio and Professor David Muljono, an Honorary Associate Professor with the Sydney Medical School.

The University of Sydney's Australia Awards Office hosted an alumni dinner in Jakarta and Bali for graduates from the Australia Awards program, to reconnect with our esteemed graduates and to explore further collaborative research and capacity building opportunities between Australia and Indonesia.

Australia Awards Information Days in Indonesia

Australia Awards Information Days in Indonesia

Australia Awards Information Days in Indonesia

Australia Awards Information Days in Indonesia

SMS welcomes DFAT Australia Awards Fellows from South East Asia and Sub-Sahran Africa for HIV program

On 4 August 2014, the Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre and the Office for Global Health at the University of Sydney held a reception to welcome fellows invited to participate in the Global Intensive Professional Program in HIV (GIPPH), led by Dr Shailendra Sawleshwarkar. The GIPPH program is run by a cross disciplinary team, which includes members drawn from the Medical School, School of Public health, Business School and Faculty of Health Sciences and in collaboration with the Kirby Institute. The University's International Portfolio provides project management support and advice.

HIV/AIDS presents a major public health challenge leading to increased demand for enhancing educational and research skills across Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. There is increasing need for public health practitioners who understand the epidemiology of HIV and STIs, the impact of HIV and STIs on high-risk and vulnerable populations and the development and implementation of evidence-based policy and health promotion strategies and an understanding of how to refine strategies through conduct of research. The Global Intensive Professional Program in HIV will empower fellows to effectively coordinate responses to HIV/AIDS by strengthening human resources and institutional capacities leading to enhanced workforce development and improvement in health systems.

The GIPPH provides opportunities to enhance professional experience and develop networks by attendance at the International AIDS conference, visits to Centres of Excellence and leadership development. At the end of the Program, the fellows from Cambodia, Indonesia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe will be able to use their skills to build program and research capacity and contribute to the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

This 3 month multilateral program is supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the Australia Awards Fellowships program and runs from 16th July to 24th September 2014 and includes fellows from several Ministries of Health, hospitals and Universities. This is the fifth round of funding received from DFAT to deliver this program in the region.

Welcome to Australia Awards Scholarships students

Welcome to Australia Awards Scholarships students

Welcome to Australia Awards Scholarships students

Welcome to Australia Awards Scholarships students

STOP PRESS: Successful Saving Lives at Birth seed grant bid!

More details

Bangkok Alumni dinner

1 August 2014

Professor Kirsty Foster, Associate Dean (International) and Ms Senice So, Manager, International Relations, Office for Global Health hosted a dinner for alumni of the Sydney Medical School in Bangkok Thailand on Friday 1st August.

Seven graduates attended including Dr Panuratn Thanyasiri, MD PhD, now Assistant Director at Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital in Bangkok, Professor Methee Chayakulkeeree, MD PhD, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Mahidol University, Dr Ramanpal Thakral, MBBS, a graduate of the Sydney medical Program who is now Head of travel medicine at Bangkok Hospital, Mr Kentaro Sato and Ms Pariya Krisdathiwadh who are both graduates of the Brain and Mind Institute Masters program, Dr Saskaan Nimmaanrat, Anaesthetist Prince Sonkia University and Dr Chaiyaporn Boonchalermvichian who is a Haematologist-Oncologist at Bumrungrad International Hospital.

Alumni were keen to share their happy memories of Sydney University and were eager to stay in touch.

SYMPOSIUM: In Search of Excellence: joint research projects leading to clinical excellence

1 August 2014

Several academics from Sydney Medical School participated in a highly successful Symposium In search of excellence: joint research projects leading to clinical excellence hosted by Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. Collaborative research projects in diverse areas of medicine: mycology, hepatology, urogynaecology have been occurring over a number of years and the Symposium afforded an opportunity to showcase that work and to look to further studies in those areas and in the area of renal medicine where there is expertise at both universities in laboratory and in clinical research. Please refer to the program for further details.

The Australian Ambassador to Thailand His Excellency Mr James Wise, attended the event and congratulated all involved.

Presenters included Professors Weiland Meyer and Professor Jacob George and Dr Muh Geot Wong from Sydney Medical School and Professor Anan Srikiatkhachorn, A/Professor Suvit Bunayvejchevin, Professor Pisit Tangkijvanich and A/Professor Talerngsak Kanjanabuch from Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine. There was ample opportunity for researchers to discuss each institutions strengths and to plan future studies together.

Welcome to Australia Awards Scholarships students

Vote for University of Sydney project to win Popular Choice award at Grand Challenge's Saving Lives at Birth initiative

The University of Sydney has submitted a grant proposal to Grand Challenge: Saving Lives at Birth, which has been short-listed along with 51 other proposals and is now in the 'Finalists' category.

There is a People’s Choice Award depending on the number of votes it receives from all of us. The voting system is now open and will remain opened till 31 July, 2014, 5:00 pm US EST. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will be announced on August 1st.

To vote for our proposal you need to access the following web site,

  1. savinglivesatbirth.net/innovation/2014/innovators/all
  2. Create a login account
  3. Once you have your account you need to Login
  4. Go to the list of ‘Finalists’
  5. Then Vote for our proposal titled "Can lactoferrin correct iron deficiency in pregnancy more effectively than iron supplements to prevent low birthweight, preterm birth and potentially improve neonatal survival?"

UPDATE: Successful Saving Lives at Birth seed grant bid!

Professor Michael Dibley's Test the efficiency of naturally occurring lactoferrin in correcting iron deficiency and preventing low birth weight and preterm birth grant proposal has been awarded a seed grant for the Saving Lives at Birth scheme.

See the Press Release for more details.

Global & Interprofessional Perspectives on HIV Testing symposium

The Global and Interprofessional Perspectives on HIV Testing Symposium was held at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 16 July, attracting around participants from organisations such as NSW Health, the Australian Dental Association, the Kirby Institute, private practice and local Universities.

Inviters speakers from the USA, China and Australia reported on their research which aimed at exploring HIV testing in the dental setting. In Australia, it is estimated that almost 27,000 people are living with HIV, but about 14% of them don't know they have HIV. The World Health Organisation recently called for greater efforts to treat gay men, transgender people, prisoners, people who inject drugs and sex workers, who together account for about half of all new HIV infections worldwide.

The HIV Rapid Test only requires blood for a finger stick prick or oral fluid from a swab, with results available in 1-20 minutes (not requiring laboratory facilities). The availability of the test allows patients to learn their results by the end of their dental appointment and be linked to care immediately.

Next week, the AIDS 2014 conference will be held in Melbourne (20-25 July 2014) expecting over 14 000 delegates. President Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé and artist and activist Sir Bob Geldof will be among the high-level speakers who will join thousands of the world’s top AIDS researchers, community leaders, people living with HIV and policy-makers at AIDS 2014. More information can be found at www.aids2014.org

L to R: Associate Professor Mark Schifter, Dr Anthony Santella, Professor Lisa Metsch, Dr Lirong Wang and Associate Professor Richard Hillman.

Improving education for future health workers in Indonesia

The forum Improving the standard of education for future health workers in Indonesia – The HPEQ project, hosted by the Office for Global Health and the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre, took place on Thursday 3 July at Sydney University.

View more details and the presentations here

L to R: Professor Judy McKimm, Associate Professor Chris Roberts, Associate Professor Titi Savitri Prihatiningsih and Associate Professor Kirsty Foster.

Associate Professor Titi Savitri Prihatiningsih and students.

Associate Professor Chris Roberts presenting Dr Nur Afrainin Syah's PhD thesis.

News January–June 2014

OGH welcomes Dr Cassie Zhou, Head of Department of General Practice, Haikou Municipal Hospital

June 2014

The Office for Global Health hosted a visit by Dr Cassie Zhou from Hainan. Hainan (海南) is an island province at the southernmost part of China, just across the Gulf of Tonkin from Vietnam. "Hainan" literally means "South of the Ocean."

Dr Zhou is Head of Department of General Practice, Haikou Municipal Hospital as well as a member of the Chinese National Steering Committee for General Practitioners. Associate Professor Kirsty Foster, Dr Narelle Shadbolt, Professor Tim Usherwood met with Cassie, and compared the Australian and Chinese medical education and health care systems. We exchanged ideas of how we could work together to meet the Chinese Government's targeted reform of the general practitioner system by 2020.

It is Dr Zhou’s first visit to Sydney we look forward to seeing her return.

Research, exchange and collaboration with our Indian partners

25 June 2014

At the invitation of Mr Sunjay Sudhir, the Consul General of India, Dr Shailendra Sawleshwarkar (Senior Lecturer, Sydney Medical School) and Ms Amanda Sayan (International Development Manager for South Asia, Office of the Vice Chancellor) presented Research, exchange and collaboration with our Indian partners at an event at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney on Wednesday 25th June 2014. Current investment and trade perspectives were discussed, with a range of presentations from Mr Kumar Parakala from KPMG, Ms Sushmita Chadha from the State Bank of India, and Mr Mohit Sharma from Mindfields.

Dr Sawleshwarkar and Ms Sayan outlined the University of Sydney’s health related projects in the areas of injury, non-communicable diseases, maternal and child health, public health and nutrition, cancer and the use of information technologies to improve health (such as mobile phones). Key research projects include several NH MRC funded grants led by the George Institute for Global Health in the area of blood pressure control, clinical decision support systems for primary health care using smartphones, salt reduction, and family led rehabilitation following stroke. Dr Sawleshwarkar leads a collaborative partnership model for HIV and STIs prevention and education with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

The Office for Global Health will host Professor Dr Arun Jamkar from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) in mid September to expand our collaborations in the area of cancer. Following this visit, the Sydney Medical School will join a University wide delegation to India in early November, including scheduling several meetings with key collaborators at the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), IIT Madras, the George Institute for Global Health in New Delhi and discussions with our student exchange partners at Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (DMIMS) and Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore.

Welcome to Australia Awards Scholarships students

24 June 2014

The Sydney Medical School welcomed 9 students awarded Australia Awards Scholarships today, as part of their orientation to the University, managed by the Australia Awards Office in the International Services portfolio.

Students from Vietnam, Pakistan, Fiji, Indonesia, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria were welcomed by the Director of the Office for Global Health, Danielle Somers, alongside the course coordinators and administrative staff who will be assisting the scholars during their candidature at the University of Sydney. The students have chosen courses such as the Master of International Public Health, Master of Health Policy, Master of Medicine (Clinical Epidemiology) and Master of Medicine (Infection and Immunity, The study and research opportunities provided by Australia Awards Scholarships develop skills and knowledge of individuals to drive change and contribute to the development outcomes of their own country.

Dr Van Dinh Nguyen

Dr Van Dinh Nguyen, from Vietnam, will be undertaking his PhD under the supervision of Clinical Associate Professor Sheryl van Nunen and Clinical Associate Professor Suran Fernando. Mr Nguyen is an academic clinician researcher and lecturer from the Department of Allergy, Hanoi Medical University and a Physician at Bach Mai Hospital, Hanoi. He teaches fifth year students at Hanoi Medical University and third year students at the Hanoi University of Pharmacy.

The orientation program included a course on "Advanced Skills for Academic Success" and introduction to the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA).

OGH hosts University of Gadjah Mada delegation

A delegation from the Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), Indonesia spent last week at the University of Sydney, hosted by the Office for Global Health (10-12 June 2014).

The delegation was led by the Director of the Health Professional Education Quality (HPEQ) project, Muhammad Mansuyur Romi and Titi Savitri, Associate Professor and Head of Medical Education. The team included Savitri Shitarukmi Harsono (Secretary of the Department of Medical Education), Ide Pustaka Setiawan (Vice Director of Clinical Skills Laboratory) and Hikmawati Nurokhmanti (Year Coordinator of Clinical Skills Laboratory). Associate Professor Savitri will remain in Australia until the end of September, hosted by the Office for Global Health under the supervision of Associate Professor Kirsty Foster, to undertake an Endeavour Executive Award.

The schedule included site visits to the General Practice Unit at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital and the clinical skills simulation laboratory at Nepean Clinical School, as well as several meetings to discuss opportunities for collaboration with staff from the Office for Global Health, Sydney Nursing School, the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, the Sydney School of Public Health, the International Portfolio and the Sydney South East Asia Centre (SSEAC).

The Health Professional Education Quality project is funded by the World Bank and has the objective to strengthen quality assurance policies governing the education of health professionals in Indonesia through: 1) rationalizing and assuring competency focused accreditation of public and private health professional training institutions, 2) developing national competency standards and testing procedures for certification and licensing of health professionals, and 3) building institutional capacity to employ results based grants for encouraging use of accreditation and certification standards in the development of medical school quality.

Sydney Medical School (SMS) staff will return to UGM next month to further explore collaborative activities.

Dr Stuart Lane (Senior Lecturer in Critical Care) with the University of Gadjah Mada delegation

Launch of The State of the World's Midwifery 2014 report


The International Congress of Midwives, 1-5 June 2014, Prague, Czech Republic, launched The State of the World's Midwifery 2014 report.

A report released by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund together with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners reveals that major deficits in the midwifery workforce occur in 73 countries where these services are most desperately needed. The report recommends new strategies to address these deficits and save millions of lives of women and newborns.

Findings from the Every Newborn Series

Findings from the Every Newborn Series, published in The Lancet, paint the clearest picture to date of a newborn’s chance of survival and the steps that must be taken to end preventable infant deaths. New analyses indicate that 3 million maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths can be prevented each year with proven interventions.

The series highlights the magnitude of underreporting of newborn births and deaths showing that babies who are stillborn, born too early, or who die soon after birth are least likely to be registered, even in high-income countries. It analyses data on newborn survival for 195 countries - some of the most improved, as well as the worst affected countries - and outlines the interventions necessary to save lives.

Some key findings include:

  • Ending of preventable child deaths: Accelerated change for child survival, health, and development needs more focus on a healthy start to life.
  • Prioritisation of birth day risk: The day of birth is the most dangerous for mothers and their babies, and results in more than 40% of maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths.
  • Counting of every newborn baby: One in three babies does not receive a birth certificate before their first birthday. Nearly all of the 5.5 million stillbirths and neonatal deaths each year have neither birth nor death certificates. This situation is indicative of fatalism around newborn deaths and stillbirths, despite the fact that most of these deaths are preventable.
  • Investment for a triple return: Care around the time of birth saves mothers and their newborn babies and prevents stillbirths and disability. By 2025, high coverage of care would save 3 million lives.
  • Targeting of specific health system bottlenecks: Important impediments to the scale-up of the most effective facility-based care include finance and workforce, especially skilled midwives and nurses.
  • Unprecedented opportunity for progress: The Every Newborn Action Plan is based on epidemiology, evidence in this Series, and global and country learning, setting.

Fifteen Pacific Islands nations agree on actions to eliminate barriers to services and ensure availability of supplies.


"GRANDuation": Australia Awards Scholarship Alumni showcase in Manilla

Dr Giselle Manalo (Sydney School of Public Health) and Professor Michele Ford (Sydney South East Asia Centre) celebrated the achievements of several University of Sydney graduates who have now returned to the Philippines, at the Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila on 28th May, 2014.

This event was held to recognise the Australia Awards Scholarship holders who have successfully finished their post graduate programs in Australia and to participate in a showcase of the different levels of Re-Entry Action Plans of awardees, from “development to results”. Dubbed as a “GRANDuation,” this event was hosted by the Philippines Australia Human Resource and Organisational Development Facility (PAHRODF), which is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The event was attended by around 800 people, including 450 awardees, heads of their agencies, officials from Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, counterpart Philippine Government Agencies, and other stakeholders. The Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Mr Bill Tweddell, provided the keynote address.

Earlier in the day, Professor Ford delivered a public lecture at the Third World Studies Centre, Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines, entitled "From Migrant to Worker".

Dr Manalo and colleagues from the Sydney School of Public Health will return to the Philippines to meet with their counterparts in July, to further explore opportunities for student and staff exchange and research collaborations.

Timor-Leste Scholars Graduate

Sydney Medical School congratulates Noeno Anuno Sarmento and Diana Vieira, the first scholarship students from Timor-Leste to graduate from the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Sydney. More

Royal Welcome

Hoc Mai Foundation staff and students from Sydney Medical School attended the Welcome Reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Sydney Opera House on Wednesday 16th April, 2014.

The 3 students had all previously completed scholarship placements at hospitals and universities in Viet Nam and were provided the opportunity to exchange ideas concerning public health and development issues with the Royal couple and the strong contingent of representatives from not-for-profit and charitable organisations present.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Opera House


From right to left: Mr Jason Dibbs (Hoc Mai Foundation/Office for Global Health staff), Ms Kristy Noble (Hoc Mai Scholar 2013), Dr Aimee Wiseman (Hoc Mai Scholar 2011) and Dr Aneuryn Rozea (Hoc Mai Scholar 2011)


The Duke of Cambridge draws a laugh from Dr Aimee Wiseman, Hoc Mai Foundation Scholar

Forum event - Displaced Women, Double Challenge

11 March, 2014


Naomi Steer presenting at the Displaced Women, Double Challenge forum

On Saturday 8th March, the University of Sydney co-hosted a successful International Women's Day forum entitled Displaced Women, Double Challenge, in partnership with the humanitarian medical organisation Médecins Sans Frontières. The forum attracted over 250 participants who registered for the event to hear about the significant challenges that migrants and refugees face when settling in another country, including access to the most basic health care services.

The Displaced Women, Double Challenge forum was moderated by the ABC’s Fenella Kernebone and consisted of two panels; the first addressing the health needs and access to health care for women once they have arrived and resettled in Australia and the second panel highlighting the international issues, such as access to health care for women in their home country, whether health needs are a determining factor in leaving a country, as well as cultural issues.

Two South Sudanese refugees Ms Aduk Dau Gideon Duot and Ms Elizabeth Adau and Afghan Hazara refugee, Ms Sajida Ashrafi, shared their personal stories of resilience and the health issues that faced them in leaving their home countries and resettling in Australia.

The panelists included stimulating presentations from Naomi Steer (National Director, UNHCR Australia), Tane Luna (Médecins Sans Frontières), Mitchell Smith (NSW Refugee Health Service), Nooria Mehraby (NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors), Bronwen Blake (NSW Refugee Health Service) and Lyndal Trevena (University of Sydney and Asylum Seekers Centre).

Click on thumbnail images to enlarge


Sydney University visits Indonesia for Australia Awards

11 March, 2014


Ms Danielle Somers (Director, Office for Global Health) and Ms Senice So (International Relations Manager, Office for Global Health), joined colleagues from the International Student Office (Ms Amy Wan, Australia Awards Manager) and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Dr Mark Melatos, Associate Dean Postgraduate Coursework) in Indonesia last week, as part of the Australia Awards Scholarships Information days in Jakarta and Bali. The team met with several prospective Australia Awards scholarship awardees, interested in studying postgraduate coursework and research degrees at the University of Sydney. The Australian government, through its Australia Awards scholarship program, is providing 519 awards to Indonesia as part of the 2014/2015 round (which is now open, and closes on 18th July 2014.

Following the scholarships event in Jakarta, the team met Mr John Leigh, Director (Health), Development Cooperation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and discussed several concurrent projects in Indonesia, including primary health care (and the Indonesian government’s plans to build capacity in this sector), the use of mobile technologies to deliver key health messages to improve child and maternal health in the districts currently part of the pilot project managed by Coffey International).


The University of Sydney team hosted an alumni dinner at the Ritz Carlton and invited Associate Professor Titi Savitri Prihatiningsih, from the Faculty of Medicine Universitas Gadjah Mada to this event to further plan the itinerary for her Endeavour Executive Award, to be undertaken in Sydney. This award will provide the opportunity for Associate Professor Prihatiningsih to focus on the organisational underpinnings of clinical schools and teaching hospitals associated with the University of Sydney. Reconnecting with alumni is an important strategy of the Sydney Medical School in Indonesia.


Following the event and briefings by the Australia Awards Scholarship team in Jakarta, the University of Sydney staff explained the options available for the core and elective units of study in the Masters of International Public Health and the Master of HIV, STIs and Sexual Health/Master of Philosophy with students at the scholarship event at the Mercure Sanur in Bali, followed by an alumni dinner in Seminyak, Bali.