The University of Sydney
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Inaugural Awardee

The inaugural recipient of the The Leslie Rich Scholarship for Dementia Research was Ms Cecilia Minogue, a doctoral candidate, in the School of Psychology, USYD for a project entitled, Cognitive decline in Older Aboriginal People: Is education protective?

Prior to applying for the scholarship, Miss Minogue had worked for 3 years at Neuroscience Research Australia on the Koori Growing Old Well Study: a study investigating the prevalence of dementia in urban Aboriginal Australians and the factors that may protect against, or heighten, the risk of dementia.

The study for which she received the scholarship is part of her doctoral research.

In her application Ms Minogue wrote , “Little is known about dementia in Australian Aboriginal people. In the first study (“the Kimberley study” or “KICA study”) undertaken in 2008, the prevalence of dementia among Aboriginal Australians was found to be 12.4%, 5.2 times greater than in the Australian population (2.4%) (Smith et al., 2010). That study found that older age, male gender and lack of education were the main risk factors for dementia in Aboriginal Australians.” While important, this study had limitations, which the new study has sought to address. It will involve Aboriginal Australians living in both urban and regional areas.

“This is important,” Ms Minogue pointed out, “as, contrary to common perception, most Aboriginal Australians do not live remotely but in urban and regional areas, and hence are more likely to have been enrolled in formal education.” A special questionnaire developed for this study is likely to provide more reliable and measurable findings.

The scholarship will assist with travel for Ms Minogue’s research and to present a paper at a Conference of the International Psychogeriatrics Association in Berlin, in 2015.

Ms Minogue gave a presentation about her work at the 2014 SZCUF Prize Presentation Dinner held in Sydney in September 2014.

Ms Minogue making her presentation