- Public Health student awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarship
- Lower vaccine rates put wealthy areas at risk of disease
- Quad bike fatalities costly but manufacturers fail to act
- Flu prevention campaign needs updating
- Study finds soft drinks present in the home drive up consumption in school children
- Sydney ranked number 25 on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings' Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health list
- EPA welcomes asbestos expert's findings
- Cervical cancer screening shouldn't start until 25
- For health's sake, time to take on food giants
- Gun reform book reprinted due to popular demand
- Australian shooters restock private arsenal to pre-Port Arthur numbers
- Whiff of desperation as tobacco lobby loses its puff over packaging
- Public Health at Sydney equal first in the 2012 ARC's Excellence in Research Report
Zoe Steward, a current Master of Public Health student has been awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships - one of four given to Australians.
The prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarships are given to outstanding applicants from countries outside the UK to pursue full-time postgraduate study in any subject offered at the University of Cambridge, with the goal of building a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.
Zoe Stewart, who will conduct the world's first at-home trials of artificial pancreases in pregnant women with diabetes, Cambridge will provide unprecedented opportunities for her research.
"Going to Cambridge gives me the opportunity to make a difference in an area I really care about. Because it's a highly specialised field, I wouldn't have been able to conduct this research in Australia," she says.
Diabetes is the most common medical condition affecting pregnant women, with negative outcomes for both mother and baby including birth complications, stillbirth and miscarriage, as well as higher rates of diabetes, obesity, and cholesterol and liver problems later in life.
"At the moment treatment of pregnant women with insulin is suboptimal, with women spending up to half of their day with sugars outside the normal range. The artificial pancreas has the potential to remedy this issue."
"I'm hoping to return to Australia after my studies in Cambridge to apply what I've learned and improve women's health."
Stewart is also a board director at Family Planning Victoria, and has spoken widely on the importance of building youth sexual health literacy as Australian Youth Representative for International Planned Parenthood Federation, including at a UN Commission on Population and Development in New York.
11 April 2013
by Amy Corderoy
Published in the Sydney Morning Herald
Mosman and some of Sydney's wealthiest areas have such low immunisation rates experts fear children could be at risk from deadly but preventable diseases. The prestigious northern and
eastern suburbs, Manly and inner Sydney are four of the nine NSW local areas listed by the National Health Performance authority as being "at risk" of outbreaks because of low vaccination rates.....
An associate professor in the school of public health at the University of Sydney, Julie Leask, said parents should not assume that unvaccinated children were safe.
"I think this is a warning to the community that we can't rely on having herd immunity .. so it's even more important that these kids are up to date and parents who have hesitance about immunisation reconsider their decision," she said.
Two University of Sydney papers published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health have highlighted the costs associated with fatal quad bike incidents and compared the behavior of the quads industry in opposing safety improvements to that of tobacco companies.
The papers from the University of Sydney's Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety (ACAHS), indicate that the costs for fatal incidents between 2001 and 2010 were $288 million.
"This conservative estimate draws on deaths data from the National Coroners Information System and includes projected losses in future earnings, impacts on household contributions, insurance payments, investigation and hospital costs," ACAHS Director, Dr Tony Lower said.
"The average cost was $2.3 million, with the highest average being in those aged 25 to 34 years at $4.2 million.
3 April 2013
The NSW Department of Health's influenza public health poster campaign should be updated to reflect current best practice in flu prevention, according to a University of Sydney epidemiology expert.
Associate Professor Guy Eslick, from the University's Whiteley-Martin Research Centre, has had a letter calling for flu prevention information to be updated published in the latest edition of the Medical Journal of Australia.
He said NSW Health posters highlighting the practice of covering the nose and mouth with the hands when sneezing and coughing were more likely to help rather than prevent spread of the flu.
Primary and secondary school students are five times as likely to be high consumers of sugar-sweetened drinks, such as soft drinks, if these drinks are available in their homes, according to a University of Sydney study published in the journal Preventive Medicine.
The study, which used data from the 2010 New South Wales Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS), found alarming levels of soft drink consumption in school aged children, especially those with easy access to these drinks.
Half (52 percent) of the 8058 students surveyed were boys and 59 percent were high school students. The authors of the study found students were more likely to be high consumers of soft drinks if they were from a lower socio-economic background or were boys.
Sydney ranked number 25 on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings' Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health list
In the 2012-2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings' Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health table the University of Sydney is ranked number 25.
The rankings judges world class universities across all of their core missions - teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The ranking of the world's top 50 universities for clinical and health subjects employs 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available.
Published by the Environmental Protection Authority
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has today welcomed the report from independent health expert, Dr Tim Driscoll, which looks at the management of asbestos on the Barangaroo site in Sydney.
EPA Chair and CEO, Barry Buffier, said the report, The use of asbestos-contaminated soils on Barangaroo, outlined a number of recommendations about the most appropriate approach to managing asbestos fibro on the site and that the EPA accepts all of the findings in the report and its recommendations.
“The EPA engaged Dr Tim Driscoll, Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Occupational Medicine from the University of Sydney late last year to review the Barangaroo Delivery Authority’s (BDA) work plans and practices and assess whether or not material impacted by asbestos could be safely reused on the site.
By Kirsten McCaffery, Alexandra Barratt and Jane Williams.
First published in The Conversation.
20 February 2013
Women in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will all soon be advised to start screening for cervical cancer at 25 years, and those aged between 50 and 64 years to screen every five years rather than every three. And a review of the Australian National Cervical Screening Program is considering whether it should make the same recommendations.
By Professor Bruce Neal. First published in The Sydney Morning Herald.
14 February 2013
A woman dies from a 10-litre a day Coke habit. Children's clothing sports advertisements for Jim Beam bourbon. These are extreme examples, but just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the alcohol and processed food companies using the same tactics as Big Tobacco to increase profits at the same time as increasing sugar and salt in our diets.
This ''let them eat cake and drink Coke'' attitude provides a strong argument for a review of how we control the excesses of industries producing unhealthy commodities.
Most health issues in Australia are caused by lifestyle problems - poor diets, insufficient physical activity, tobacco and alcohol. Issues not usually serious enough to warrant a visit to the doctor but with potentially deadly consequences nonetheless. Sudden death caused by undiagnosed heart disease remains the first sign of a problem for thousands in this country.
Over Our Dead Bodies: Port Arthur and Australia's Fight for Gun Control has been reprinted due to popular demand. Written by Professor Simon Chapman and originally published in 2009, the book provides a record of events leading up to gun reform laws in Australia and the reaction to them.
The devastating firearm massacre at a primary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, on 14 December 2012 has led to unprecedented interest in gun law reform in the US. Sydney University Press has reprinted Professor Chapman's book (with an additional foreward) to provide a resource for those wishing to reflect on Australia's experience since Port Arthur; a time when there have been no mass shootings.
Notably, a related report on Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms by Professor Chapman and the School's Adjunt Associate Professor Philip Alpers and colleagues, published in the British Medical Journal’s specialist journal Injury Prevention, has been opened online 14,742 times since it was published six years ago. In the month of December 2012, it was opened a remarkable 84,542 times, quite easily the most opened paper Professor Chapman has published on any subject in 35 years of public health research.
Over Our Dead Bodies: Port Arthur and Australia's Fight for Gun Control can be viewed online here.
14 January 2013
New research from the University of Sydney shows that Australians destroyed more than a million guns in response to shooting massacres but imports have restored the stockpile to the level it was at before the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.
"Since 1988, when the first of several mass shootings took place, 38 state and federal gun amnesties ran for well over 3000 weeks," said Adjunct Associate Professor Philip Alpers, from the University's School of Public Health.
"If we include all the gun owners who sent their weapons to the smelter without asking for money, the real total is a million firearms destroyed, or a third of the national private arsenal. That's many more than we usually talk about."
"By mid-2012, following a steady 10-year upward trend in gun buying, Australians had restocked the national stockpile of private guns to pre-Port Arthur levels. They did this by importing 1,055,082 firearms, an average of 43,961 each year since destruction programs began."
(This total excludes 52,608 handguns imported for law enforcement and other official use, along with firearms for the military, airguns, muzzle-loaders and the customs import category 'Other'.)
First published in the Sydney Morning Herald 8 January 2013
Australia's historic plain packaging became law on December 1, with the quinella seeing us graduate to also have the world's largest graphic health warnings. Sixty-four nations have now made the unforgettable pictures law and six (New Zealand, Britain, France, Norway, Turkey and India) are already showing strong interest in following our lead on plain packs.
Public Health at Sydney has ranked equal first in the 2012 ARC's Excellence in Research for Australia report.
The Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative assesses research quality within Australia's higher education institutions using a combination of indicators and expert review by committees comprising experienced, internationally-recognised experts.
Below are the top ranking Australian universities for Public Health and Health Services from Section 4 Table 11 (page 14) of the report.
View the full list of rankings on page 14 of the ARC's Excellence in Research for Australia Report here.
|Institution||Public Health & Health Services Ranking|
|University of Sydney||5|
|Australian National University||5|
|University of Queensland||4|
|University of Western Australia||4|
|University of Wollongong||4|
|Charles Darwin University||3|
|Queensland University of Technology||3|
|University of Adelaide||3|
|University of New South Wales||3|
|University of Newcastle||3|
|University of South Australia||3|