Research Presentation Day - Key Talks

9:10am Plenary Session: Prof Andrew Wilson "Systems Perspectives on Prevention of Chronic Disease."

1:30pm Debate: Public Health needs the nanny state

3:30pm Closing Session: "If I knew then what I know now"

Plenary Session: Prof Andrew Wilson, Director - Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney

Systems Perspectives on Prevention of Chronic Disease.

Research on better prevention and management of chronic disease increasingly refers to systems and systems change. However, systems research seems to have different meanings for different researchers. It can mean the health system capacity for prevention, or broader systems such as food generation, processing and marketing, or political systems. It is also used in describing a way of thinking about problem solution.

All of these are useful in different circumstances. More pragmatically, however, researchers need to understand the processes of policy decision-making and the role of evidence to help frame research questions and results in ways that are more likely to be heard. Systems mapping is one tool that may assist in that. Other critical elements include understanding the political dimensions, opportunities, partnerships, human resource requirements and effective communication. All of these should be part of the public health research agenda. Better prevention is rarely an overnight happening but it does happen!

Professor Wilson is Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney. He has specialist qualifications in clinical medicine and public health, and a PhD in Andrew Wilsonepidemiology.

His research interests concern the application of epidemiology to informing decision making in clinical medicine, public health, and health service policy and planning. His specific areas of interest are chronic disease prevention and management.

His previous roles include Dean of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Deputy Director General, Policy, Planning and Resourcing, Queensland Health, and Chief Health Officer, and Deputy Director General, Public Health, NSW Health. He is a member of the Repatriation Medical Authority and the Medical Services Advisory Committee. He was a Board member of Health Workforce Australia, the Greater Brisbane South Medicare Local and the Metro South Health and Hospital Service. He is Editor of the Australian Health Review journal.


Debate: "Public Health needs the nanny state"

 Josephine Chau

Dr Josephine Chau
Josephine Chau is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Prevention Research Collaboration in the School of Public Health. Her work focuses on sedentary behaviour, too much sitting as distinct from too little exercise, an emerging health risk behaviour for chronic illness. Jo’s research concentrates on investigating associations of sedentary behaviour with health outcomes like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mortality using population data sets (e.g., 45 & Up, National Health Survey); developing accurate and reliable measures of sedentary behaviour; and testing strategies for encouraging people to sit less. She is currently working on several sitting reduction pilot studies, one of which was awarded early career researcher funding from Sydney Medical School this year. 

 Sascha Callaghan Ms Sascha Callaghan
Sascha is a lawyer and doctoral candidate at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine.  Her main area of research interest is in health care decision making, and she publishes in areas including mental health law, end of life decision making and reproductive rights.  
 Hal Willaby Dr Hal Willaby
Dr. Hal Willaby is a Research Fellow in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, with a conjoint appointment to the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. His PhD investigated the cognitive psychology of decision-making involving risk.  He examined the relationship between non-rational beliefs and decisions involving risky choices.  Throughout his PhD, Hal combined his understanding of cognitive psychology and the lab-based findings from his PhD to educate healthcare providers on risk perception and its relationship with compliance and concordance in patients with chronic disease.  This work is continued at NCIRS, where he investigates psychosocial factors related to vaccine uptake.  In particular, Hal is interested in determining the belief and attitude structures associated with risk perceptions of vaccine-hesitant parents, and validating a measure of those structures that can be used to inform targeted interventions.  Hal is also contributing to the development and trial of the Vaccine Communication Framework – a motivational-interviewing resource for primary healthcare providers to address the concerns of vaccine-hesitant and vaccine-refusing parents.
 Melody Ding

Dr Melody Ding
Dr Ding Ding (a.k.a. Melody Ding) is a Research Fellow at Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney. In 2012, Melody moved to Sydney after completing her Ph.D. at the University of California San Diego. Her research has focused on environmental influence on health behaviours, such as physical activity and smoking.

 Becky Freeman Dr Becky Freeman
Dr Becky Freeman is an early career researcher at the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. She was awarded her PhD, titled Tobacco control 2.0: Studies on the relevance of online media to tobacco control, in July 2011. Her research interests include tobacco control and the influence of social media on public health.
 Anne-Marie Thow Dr Anne-Marie Thow
Dr Anne Marie Thow is a lecturer in health policy at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney. Her research focusses on the use of trade and tax policy to improve the food environment and prevent chronic disease. Anne Marie is a nutritionist, and holds a Masters in Public Policy. Prior to joining the University of Sydney worked at the Fiji National Food and Nutrition Centre and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Closing Session: "If I knew then what I know now"

 Alex Barratt Prof Alex Barratt
Alex Barratt is a Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health, University of Sydney. She has led research projects in breast and prostate cancer screening over the last 20 years, including trials of decision aids for people considering cancer screening tests. She now combines her cancer screening work with research in broader issues affecting women’s and men’s reproductive health, participating in research collaborations with Family Planning NSW.  Alex has worked as a consultant for the National Breast Cancer Screening Initiative of Canada, the US National Cancer Institute, NHMRC, the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre and the Ministry of Health NZ.   In 2006 and 2007 she won back-to-back Eureka prizes for her radio programs on cancer screening (—benefits-and-harms-part-one/3368220) and evidence based medicine (—part-one/3345712) and is a Eureka Prize Ambassador.
 Adrian Bauman Prof Adrian Bauman
Adrian Bauman is the Sesquicentenary Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Australia. He is Director of around 20 researchers in the University of Sydney Prevention Research Collaboration. He has research interests in physical activity and health, interventions to promote healthy lifestyles, advocacy to prevent chronic disease, and in translating and disseminating the public health evidence base for action.
 Simon Chapman Prof Simon Chapman
Simon Chapman AO PhD FASSA Hon FFPH (UK),  is Professor in Public Health at the University of Sydney. He has published 466 articles in peer reviewed journals and 17 books and major reports. His h index is 44 and his work has been cited over 7400 times. His Public Health Advocacy and Tobacco Control: Making Smoking History was  published by Blackwell (Oxford) in 2007 and his co-authored Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: What men should know before being tested for prostate cancer by Sydney University Press in 2010.  In 1997 he won the World Health Organisation's World No Tobacco Day Medal and in 2003 he was voted by his international peers to be awarded the American Cancer Society’s Luther Terry Award for outstanding individual leadership in tobacco control.  In 2008 he won the NSW Premier’s Cancer Researcher of the Year medal; the Public Health Association of Australia’s  Sidney Sax medal; and was a NSW finalist in Australian of the Year. He was deputy editor (1992-1997) then editor (1998-2008) of the British Medical Journal's, Tobacco Control   and is now its editor emeritus. In 2013 he was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for his contributions to public health.

His current research involves examining policy how health  issues are covered in news media; characteristics of public health research (and its dissemination) which impact on public health policy; the natural history of unassisted smoking cessation; and psychogenic aspects of “wind turbine syndrome”.
 Heather Jeffery Prof Heather Jeffery 
Heather Jeffery is Professor of International Maternal and Child Health, Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney and Neonatologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. Her research interests are focused on identification and translation of preventable perinatal mortality and morbidity in low income countries and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death. A major multidisciplinary research program underway inSydney and next year inVietnam is rapid and easy identification of the most at risk, malnourished, term newborns. Educational methods to translate best evidence into practice are being trialed and applied to capacity building in Vietnam.