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

Latest News

International opportunities for students with OGH

Students in the Sydney Medical Program (SMP) are required to complete an Elective Term in their final stage of studies. The elective term is an integral part of the medical curriculum and is for credit. A strategic approach to internationalize learning is to use the elective period as an opportunity to broaden students’ intercultural perspectives, appreciate sociocultural variability in professional practice, and improve their intercultural interaction skills. Like many Universities around the world, the University of Sydney incorporates the development of global perspectives as one of our graduate attributes.

Currently, an average of 60% of our Year 4 students from the SMP undertake an elective placement overseas. Whilst Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom are the top 3 overseas destinations to undertake an elective placement currently, the Office for Global Health is also actively seeking to encourage placements in the Asia Pacific region and source funding opportunities to support students to travel to the region (such as the AsiaBound grants program).

In October and November, Associate Professor Kirsty Foster visited our partners in China, Thailand, Vietnam and India, who accept SMP students undertaking electives. We have agreements we have in place with our partners at Fudan Medical School (China), Peking University Health Science Centre (China), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), Chulalongkorn Medical School, Bangkok (Thailand), Mahidol University (Thailand), CMC Vellore (India), DMIMS (India), and several placements in Vietnam through the Hoc Mai Foundation, such as Tu Du hospital and Viet Duc Hospital.

Regular visits in country such as these ensure that we closely monitor and assess students’ participation and supervision. OGH aims to foster high quality, highly ranked partnerships with key institutions to provide medical students with opportunities to develop an understanding of the social and economic determinants of disease as well as the interconnected nature of health worldwide, to experience other systems of health care, to enhance their clinical skills, to work with diverse and/or underserved populations, and to understand the cultural issues that affect behavior in patients seeking and in providers delivering health care. Undertaking an elective abroad also provide students with the opportunity to be immersed in a different culture, to be discomfited by this experience, to examine their own preconceptions about medicine, and to learn the crucial value of cultural humility.

Fostering new linkages for medical student electives also increases the professional opportunities available for students upon graduation and allows students to develop new international networks amongst supervisors and their peers.

International student study room at Fudan University – complete with international students

Fudan University Medical College Campus

Waiting room Siriraj Hospital Mahidol University Bangkok – at the end of the day

Impressive Women and Children's Health Building – CMC Vellore

One of the buildings at Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore, India. The outpatient department saw 7,800 patients the day we visited.

Health delegation from the University of Sydney returns to India

"Collaborative medical education symposium” was held at the MUHS Regional Centre in Mumbai

A delegation representing the health Faculties visited India this month, represented by Associate Professor Kirsty Foster (Associate Dean International, Sydney Medical School), Professor Richard Lindley (Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Westmead Hospital and George Institute for Global Health), Ms Danielle Somers, Director, Office for Global Health, Sydney Medical School, Dr Christopher Gordon, Director Postgraduate Advanced Studies, Sydney Nursing School, Professor Kathryn Refshauge, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences  and Dr Claire Hiller , Postdoctoral Fellow from the Discipline of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences.

Commencing in Mumbai, the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) hosted a collaborative medical education symposium with presentations from Associate Professor Kirsty Foster (entitled “Factors influencing development of professionalism in doctors”) and Dr Ashok Mehta (entitled “Values in Health Professional Education – VIHASA”). Key medical educators from the region were invited, including FAIMER fellows and colleagues from Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (DMIMS), Grant Medical College, King Edward Memorial Hospital Mumbai, Nair Medical College, PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research and LTMH and Sion Hospital.

A number of site visits were undertaken in Pune (Armed Forces Medical College and Institute of Medical Education Technology and Teachers Training), New Delhi (St Stephens Hospital, All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Apex Regional STD Teaching, Training and Research Centre, V.M. Medical College and Safdarjang Hospital), Vellore (Christian Medical College (CMC) and the Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA)) , Chennai (Global Health City), Hyderabad (Nizam’s Institute for Medical Sciences) and Ludhiana (Christian Medical College), as part of the Office for Global Health’s international experiences program and the NHMRC funded Family-Led Rehabilitation after Stroke in India - The ATTEND Trial.

The team also met with key partners at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) in New Delhi, the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) in Chennai, the Indian Institute for Public Health (IIPH) in Hyderabad, the National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) in Pune, the Indian Council of Medical Research’s International Health Division (to progress renewal of our institutional agreement), and the George Institute for Global Health New Delhi and Hyderabad offices.
A workshop was held at IIT Madras in the field of biomedical engineering and public health in Chennai, which was a cross disciplinary initiative between the Faculty of Engineering and IT and the Sydney Medical School.

L to R: Dr Harpreet Sandhu (Scientist E, International Health Division, ICMR), Dr Christopher Gordon (Sydney Nursing School), Professor Richard Lindley (Sydney Medical School), Associate Professor Kirsty Foster (Sydney Medical School), Dr Mukesh Kumar (Head, International Health Division, ICMR), Dr Jeyaraj Pandian (CMC Ludhiana and ATTEND Trial Lead in India)and Professor Kathy Refshauge (Faculty of Health Sciences).

L to R: Dr Ravi Seethamraju (Sydney Business School), Professor Kathy Refshauge (Faculty of Health Sciences), Amit Khanna (George Institute for Global Health India), Dr Claire Hiller (Faculty of Health Sciences), Associate Professor Kirsty Foster (Sydney Medical School), Professor Richard Lindley (Sydney Medical School), Dr Pallab Maulik (George Institute for Global Health India), Professor Vivek Jha (George Institute for Global Health India) and Dr Christopher Gordon (Sydney Nursing School)

L to R: Colleagues from the Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi office and the University of Sydney

At the Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs (RUHSA) Wednesday child immunisation clinic in Tamil Nadu, India, led by Professor Rita Isaac

Three International Program Development Fund grants funded in the Sydney Medical School

Dr Aaron Camp is an Early Career Researcher from the School of Medical Sciences and will collaborate with Associate Professor Brian Corneil from the Robarts Research institute, Western University in Canada to develop new animal models for vestibulospinal reflexes evoked by electrical stimulation through a cochlear implant. Cochlear implants have emerged as a primary treatment for profound hearing loss in children, but co-morbidity with vestibular function or damage to the nearby vestibular system with implant insertion is common. He will translate his research from animal models into clinical practice through his project entitled “Development of animal models for the vestibular-evoked myogenic potential (VEMP): implications for cochlear implants (CIs)”.

Dr Chen-Yu Huang is an Early Career Researcher from the Central Clinical School and is collaborating with Stanford University and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to develop a novel deep learning method to monitor tumor motion during radiotherapy, to enable the radiation beam to target moving tumors and minimize damage to surrounding normal tissue. This project aims to provide cancer patients with the most accurate radiotherapy and will fund visits to Stanford and CUHK to share data and establish a large shared X-ray image database.

Dr James Chong is a Cardiologist at Westmead Hospital and a group leader at the Westmead Millennium Institute.  His project will strengthen the University of Sydney's regenerative medicine efforts by collaborating with world leaders in cardiac regeneration at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. Together, they have recently shown that stem cell derived heart muscle is able to be produced in clinical scale and can incorporate and integrate with damaged monkey hearts in a large animal model of heart failure. This project aims to take the stem cell derived technology towards the clinical trials stage and to ultimately create a viable treatment alternative to heart transplantation.

7th Sino-Australian Research Symposium

L to R, Zheng Zhijie, Chen Hongzhuan, Bruce Robinson, Glenn Salkeld – a happy collaboration.

Fifteen speakers from the University of Sydney took part in the seventh Sino-Australian Symposium in Shanghai organised by the University of Sydney Medical School and Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) School of Medicine on 23 and 24 October 2014.

The theme of this year’s symposium was Global and Local Partnership as a way of preventing and managing chronic diseases. Separate sessions were held on chronic disease care; health policy and technology; biomedical informatics and translational medicine; bones, joints and ageing; and future directions of collaboration.

Speakers from Sydney included representatives from the Sydney Medical School, School of Public Health, the Faculty of Engineering and IT, and the Charles Perkins Centre.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the opening of the symposium to develop an 8-week English and Public Health Study Program for SJTU School of Public Health students to study in Sydney.

In his opening remarks, Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of Sydney Medical School, said both universities were committed to partnership and believed they had a great deal to learn from each other.

Professor Chen Hongzhuan, Vice-Chancellor of SJTU School of Medicine, welcomed speakers from the Faculty of Engineering and IT, saying their involvement broadened the scope for research collaboration.

The Sino-Australian research symposium has been held every year since 2008, alternating between Sydney and Shanghai. It provides a platform for both universities to highlight their research expertise and facilitate research collaborations, and has resulted in a number of joint research programs and publications.

Earlier this year the two universities signed an agreement to establish the Biomedical Engineering Alliance, a partnership involving research collaboration across various disciplines at the University of Sydney and SJTU.

Potential outcomes from this year’s symposium include the involvement of Shanghai hospitals in field evaluations for a low-value care study.

Speakers from Sydney at the Shanghai Symposium were Professor Bruce Robinson, Professor Archie Johnston, Professor Michael Fulham, Professor Glenn Salkeld, Associate Professor Kirsty Foster, Associate Professor Zdenka Kuncic, Associate Professor Adam Elshaug, Dr Jinman Kim, Professor David Feng, Associate Professor Jean Yang, Professor Albert Zomaya, Professor Bob Cuming, Professor Hala Zreiqat, Associate Professor Donna Waters and Professor Fariba Dehghani.

Specialist General Practice Training in China

Professor Kirsty Foster and Ms Senice So visited an Innovative General Practitioner Training Unit in Haikou, Hainan Province in China on 27th October 2014. Dr Cassie Zhou leads a General Practice Unit based in the Haikou Municipal Hospital and she and her team of GP trainers run a specialist training program for general practitioners in order to meet the Chinese governments strategy to provide sufficient numbers of specially trained GPs to provide high quality primary care services for the population.

Kirsty and Senice also visited Hainan Medical University to discuss potential educational and research collaboration particularly in the area of specialist training for primary health care practitioners with Dean, Professor Huamin Wang. Sydney Medical School’s Discipline of General Practice are already involved in Hainan through Dr Michael Burke, a GP in Sydney and it is hope that the relationship will flourish following this visit.

Left to right: Ms Senice So, Dr Cassie Zhou, Prof Kirsty Foster and Prof Huamin Wang

Representatives from Sydney Medical School and NHMRC Clinical Trial Centre paid a courtesy visit to National Taiwan University College of Medicine on 23 September.

Ms Senice So and Dr Henry Ko had a great discussion with Professor Tsai Kun Li (Associate Dean and Director, Office of International Affairs) and Professor Ming Shiang Wu (Chairman of School of Medicine), visited NTU Hospital Clinical Skill Center and NTU’s Excellent Research Centre for Genomic Medicine (GMC) as well as NTU Medical Humanity Museum.

The Sydney team is very impressed with the College’s facilities, organization of the visit and in particular its Medical Student Ambassador System. The annual intake into its medical program is around 120 students; approximately 50% of NTU’s medical students go on exchange overseas. NTUCM has a strong link with top Japanese Universities resulting from historic background. NTUCM is considered a strong partner in North Asia, in particular tripartite collaboration with Japan.

A number of potential areas of collaborations were discussed, including student mobility to Sydney Medical School. A joint symposium is also suggested to foster research collaboration.


NHMRC grant funding success!

22 October 2014

The Office for Global Health would like to congratulate University of Sydney researchers who were successful in the latest round of NHMRC funding, commencing from 2014. The University of Sydney has won more than $65 million in new National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grants announced by the Federal Government.

Among the 61 NHMRC Project grants awarded to the University of Sydney are:

Dr Camille Raynes-Greenow  will be focusing her Career Development Fellowship on “Reducing the global burden of disease in maternal and child health through public health intervention research” and Dr Jacqui Webster  on “International Strategies to Reduce Population Salt Intake”.

Associate Professor Michael Dibley “M-SAKHI : Mobile health solutions to help community providers promote maternal and infant nutrition and health - A community-based cluster randomized controlled trial in rural India”, $2,274,823, (2015 to 2018).

Associate Professor Lisa Harvey CIVIC: A randomised trial of a low-cost, community-based model of care to prevent serious complications and premature death after spinal cord injury in Bangladesh”, $832,484, (2015-2019).

Dr Greg FoxPrevention of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in a high prevalence setting: ‘Connecting the DOTS’ in Vietnam”, $3,234,544 (2015-2019).

Professor Rebecca Ivers - International Orthopaedic Multicenter Study in Fracture Care (INORMUS), $1,406,864 (2014-2018).

OGH and Sydney Medical School at the 2014 Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Global Health Workshop

3 October 2014

Staff from the University of Sydney participated in the 2014 Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Global Health Workshop on 24-27 September 2014 hosted by College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, ROC. Associate Professor Mu Li (International Public Health), Dr Henry Ko (NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre), Senice So (Office for Global Health) and Esmond Esguerra (Office for Global Health) attended and presented during the three-day workshops. MIPH alumnus Dofel Joseph (DJ) Calla also joined the USyd team to present a poster about the Classroom in the Field (CIF) Philippines 2013 Program.

This year’s workshop focused on four areas including global health education and internship, cross-border management of air pollution, prevention and control of chronic non-communicable diseases, and improving the health care system.

Presentations from Sydney University:

  • Associate Professor Mu Li (Concurrent Panel on Maternal and Child Health): mHealth: A promising approach for promoting appropriate feeding practices and improving child nutrition.
  • Dr Henry Ko (Special Session on Non-Communicable Diseases): Trends in clinical trial activity in Australia from 2005 to 2013: Implications for health research trade and ethics.
  • Senice So (Concurrent Panel on Global Health Education): Office for Global Health facilitated student electives abroad.
  • Esmond Esguerra (Special Session on Global Health Education): International Medical Education Partnerships: Lessons from Australia-Vietnam Medical Foundation Fellowship Programs

Each of the presentations stimulated discussions and questions from the 250 participating scholars and students from 15 different countries.

Assoc Prof Mu Li presenting during the Concurrent Panel on Maternal and Child Health

Dr Henry Ko presenting during the Special Session on NCDs

L-R: DJ Calla and Senice So

Esmond Esguerra presenting during the Special Session on Global Health Education

Associate Professor Titi Savitri Prihatiningsih completes 4 month Endeavour Executive Fellowship

Associate Professor Titi Savitri Prihatiningsih from the University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), Yogyakarta, Indonesia completed her four month Endeavour Executive Fellowship with the Office for Global Health at the University of Sydney this week.

Under the supervision of Associate Professor Kirsty Foster, Associate Dean International and Associate Professor in Medical Education from the Sydney Medical School, Titi aimed to learn more about the way in which Sydney Medical School works collaboratively with Local Health Districts through the Clinical School to provide excellent clinical education to medical students. Titi's research will inform future policy making and investment in the University Hospitals in Indonesia, including at the UGM. Titi wrote a comprehensive report and policy brief on the management of academic hospitals for the Indonesian Directorate General of Higher Education and will return to Indonesia this month to take up an appointment on the National Agency for Education Standards.

Titi spent most of her time embedded within Concord Clinical School supported by Associate Professor Fiona Blyth and at the Office for Global Health. She also visited the School of Rural Health at Dubbo (supported by Associate Professor Mark Arnold).

L to R: Associate Professor Kirsty Foster and Associate Professor Titi Savitri Prihatiningsih

Visit from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences delegation broadens collaborations

The Office for Global Health welcomed four delegates from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS), India for a week long visit to the University of Sydney. 

The delegation was led by Professor Dr Arun Jamkar, the Vice Chancellor of MUHS and included Dr Raj Nagarkar (Surgical Oncologist) from the Curie Manavata Cancer Centre; Dr Smita Joshi (Associate Professor) from the Hirabai Cowasji Jehangir Medical Research Institute; and Dr Vikrant Sangar (Scientist) from the Haffkine Institute for Training, Research and Testing.

Dr Shailendra Sawleshwarkar and Danielle Somers faciliated meetings with several University of Sydney colleagues, from the Faculties of Medicine, Health Sciences, Sydney Nursing School, Dentistry and Pharmacy. The delegation observed the emergency resuscitation training in the student laboratories at the Sydney Nursing School and met with staff from Westmead Hospitals, Western Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Institute for Teaching and Learning and the Sydney School of Public Health to forge collaborative research and training.

Representatives from the University of Sydney will return to India in November to follow up activities proposed under the agreement signed that week and discuss collaborative activities planned for 2015.

Delegates and speakers attended the Australia India Joint Cancer Research Symposium, held at the University of Sydney on 16th September 2014

The Honourable Professor Dr Arun Jamkar (Vice Chancellor, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences) and Professor Bruce Robinson (Dean, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney) renew the collaborative agreement between the two institutions for a further three years

Standing L to R: Associate Professor Lyndal Trevena, Dr Raj Nagarkar, Dr Shailendra Sawleshwarkar, Dr Vikrant Sangar and Dr Smita Joshi
Seated L to R: Professor Arun Jamkar and Professor Bruce Robinson

Dr Vikrant Sangar, Dr Shailendra Sawleshwarkar, Dr Christopher Gordon, Dr Raj Nagarkar, Professor Arun Jamkar and Dr Smita Joshi visited the Sydney Nursing School simulation laboratory

The Hoc Mai Foundation Welcomes Vietnamese Nursing Students

L to R: Phoebe, Tam and Mai

On 11th September 2014, the Hoc Mai Foundation and Sydney Nursing School (SNS) welcomed two nursing students from Hanoi Medical University (HMU) at an International Student Exchange Meet and Greet reception on Mallett St.

Do Thi Mai Huong and Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam are on a 4-week placement with SNS through the John Fisher Hoc Mai Foundation Vietnam Nursing Student Scholarships. During their placement, the nursing students spent their first 2 weeks attending classes at the faculty and will be spending their last 2 weeks doing clinical placements at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH).  

Mai and Tam were joined at the reception by Phoebe O’Carrigan, a student at SNS, who will in turn be spending 4 weeks in Vietnam on an SNS Scholarship in December this year. Phoebe will join a cohort of medical, nursing and allied health students from the University of Sydney going on a month-long clinical attachment organised by the Hoc Mai Foundation through its various partnerships with in-country medical schools and hospitals.

The Foundation had also recently welcomed 7 medical students from HMU, Pham Ngoc Thach University of Medicine and Pharmacy and University of Medicine & Pharmacy-Ho Chi Minh City who also completed their clinical placements at RNSH. The medical students were funded by the John Fisher Hoc Mai Foundation Scholarships.

For more information on the Hoc Mai Foundation and its various projects and scholarships, please refer to sydney.edu.au/medicine/hocmai.

Dr Giselle Manalo recognised for her teaching excellence and innovation

11th September 2014

Dr Giselle Manalo in the mobile clinic, Women Health Care Foundation Philippines

Dr Giselle Manalo has been recognised for her exceptional contributions to public health teaching through her nomination and award of the inaugural CAPHIA (Council of Academic Public Health Institutions of Australia) Award for Excellence and Innovation in Public Health Research.

This award recognises Dr Manalo's "Beyond Borders Initiative" she has devised for the Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health Promotion program, the Master of International Public Health (MIPH) "Classroom in the Field Program Philippines” and the MIPH student led tutorials that she has developed over the past decade.

The Award was announced by Professor Catherine Bennett, President, Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australia (CAPHIA) at the CAPHIA Teaching and Learning Forum in Perth, 18-19 September 2014, it was one of three presented by CAPHIA at the conference.

This award was presented to Dr Manalo to promote greater awareness about the role of public health, the contributions which public health make to the community, and the outstanding quality of our teachers and researchers.

For further information please contact Dr Giselle Manalo.

Community work in Palo Leyte Philippines

CIF Philippines with Department of Health officials and partners

Community work Batangas Philippines

CIF Philippines with first batch of students and partners from University of the Philippines

CIF Philippines orientation with Metro Manila Development Authority

CIF Philippines students with Prof Glenn Salkeld during students presentation Closing Program Manila

With University of the East Ramon Magsaysay partners

Researchers win significant share of prestigious NHMRC funding

8th September 2014

The George Institute for Global Health (affiliated with the University of Sydney) has won $3.5 million in prestigious fellowship funding to support five leading researchers to pursue work on their flagship projects.

The Government funding will underpin projects around ICU resuscitation fluids, stroke management, improving healthcare delivery to treat chronic disease and falls prevention, and using big data to combat heart disease.

George Institute Australia executive director Professor Vlado Perkovic said: “These fellowships are extremely prestigious. This is an extraordinary result for the Institute, and highlights the calibre of researchers working here, and driving the work of our organisation.

"This result augers well for our future and for the future of the millions of people who will be touched by the healthcare improvements as a result of our research.

"In general, the Government funds 30 per cent of practitioner and research fellowship applications from Australian researcher. We are most fortunate to have success rates of 50 per cent and 75 per cent respectively for Practitioner and Research Fellowship applications from our institute."

Professor Perkovic said the research was aimed at better informing healthcare policy and practice in Australia around the world and providing evidence to underpin changes and investment needed to improve the health of millions of people worldwide.

The research fellowships, announced by Health Minister Peter Dutton, are awarded to senior researchers with excellent track records in conducting high impact research.

Details of the fellowships funded may be found here.

Fellowship: Enhancing capacity to strengthen policy and interventions to reduce child under-nutrition (Asia)

August 2014

The Sydney School of Public Health hosted members of the South Asia Infant Feeding Research Network (SAIFRN) to participate in Enhancing capacity to strengthen policy and interventions to reduce child under-nutrition (Asia). Twenty-one participants (from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) were funded by the Australian government through the Australia Awards Fellowships, while seven other participants (from India) were funded by SAIFRN.

The Fellowship consisted of a two-week intensive program from 11 to 22 August 2014 aimed at contributing to reducing child under-nutrition. Specifically, trainings were provided to equip participants with fundamentals of qualitative nutrition data analysis, qualitative data analysis software, social network analysis, policy analysis methods, media for engaging community and policy makers, development media interventions including mobile phones, and HIV/AIDS and young child feeding. Four fellows from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka extended their stay by five weeks to undertake further training in analysis and academic writing. The long stay fellows also attended the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne from 20 to 25 July 2014.

Dr Anne Marie Thow, the Fellowship head, recognised the sustainable impact of the Fellowship by bringing the leaders of SAIFRN together towards future policy directions of child under-nutrition in the region. Dr Upul Senarath, one of the founders of the SAIFRN network, gave a response of thanks to the University of Sydney for hosting and organising the Fellowship that provides an opportunity to move forward after achieving successful milestones in fighting under-nutrition among member countries.

The South Asia Infant Feeding Research Network was established in 2007 through efforts of Associate Professor Michael Dibley (Sydney School of Public Health). It primarily aims to improve child survival in the region. Australia Awards Fellowships provide short term study and professional development opportunities in Australia to promote development and strengthen links between Australian organisations and partner organisations in developing countries.

Dr  Upul Senarath
Dr Upul Senarath

Dr Anne Marie Thow
Dr Anne Marie Thow, Fellowship head

AsiaBound grant success for programs in Timor Leste, Vietnam and the Philippines

The Office for Global Health at the University of Sydney was successful in receiving funding under the AsiaBound grants program to support eight Master of International Public Health students and two Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health Promotion students undertake their field placements in Timor Leste, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The funding will support students to undertake language classes and travel to their placement, to enable a cross-cultural experience in health delivery in a low resource country. Students will be paired at non-governmental/governmental institutions to enhance interdisciplinary and cultural learning opportunities, including the Zuellig Foundation, Philippines; UNFPA, Philippines; Department of Health, Philippines; University of the Philippines; Ministry of Health, Timor Leste; National University of Timor Leste; Hanoi Medical University, Vietnam; University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Thien Phuoc Centre for Disabled Children, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The placements in Vietnam are arranged through the Hoc Mai Foundation.

Public Health Classroom in the field 2014/15 offers an innovative model for fieldwork engagement through the allocation of fieldwork assignments in conjunction with priority areas identified by partner organisations, thus ensuring a high degree of pertinence of the fieldwork conducted to local needs in the development setting and Australian healthcare challenges.

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-Saharan 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.