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Female Health Researchers Receive Financial Support to Advance Careers

The Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA) Women’s Health Research, Translation and Impact Network (WHRTN) has provided up to $15,000 to 36 individuals in the inaugural AHRA WHRTN Early and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Funded Awards.

The Network, funded by the Morrison Government, The Hon Greg Hunt MP and the Medical Research Future Fund, is a national collaboration across community, health services and academic institutions set to boost national and international collaboration on women’s health, build health workforce capacity, develop leaders in women’s health, and advance research and translation to deliver impact and better health for Australian women.

AHRA WHRTN Deputy Chair, Professor Deb Loxton, AHRA Workforce Development Chair, Professor Cate Nagle, and AHRA Steering Committee Chair, Professor Helena Teede, say the Awards provide timely and flexible funding for women with flexible and diverse needs to engage, train, and connect with women in women’s health research and translation.

“We are delighted with the interest in our inaugural Awards. The pandemic has seen women hit hard on many fronts, juggling the burdens of working from home whilst shouldering the main load of home-schooling and caring responsibilities, alongside greater job uncertainty from casual and part time roles. This has impacted on career progress especially in academia and in early to mid-career stages,” said Professor Loxton.

“These Awards provide much needed support to address the challenges many women face all across Australia,” said Professor Nagle.

Nearly 300 applications were received.

“The strong response to these Awards is a testament to the identified need to provide more opportunities to women working in women’s health research. We have seen firsthand talented emerging and established researchers demonstrating passion, dedication and innovation in their research,” said Professor Teede.

“These Awards will provide much needed funding to bolster careers and further advance research that improves the health of ALL women in Australia,” said Professor Nagle.

Maridulu Budyari Gumal congratulates our four awardees and is delighted to announce their success:

  • Dr Alexandra Hawkey, Translational Health Research Institute and Western Sydney University
  • Dr Janelle Weise, Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry, UNSW Sydney
  • Dr Kate McBride, Western Sydney University
  • Dr Sonali Gnanenthiran, George Institute for Global Health and ANZAC Research Institute, Concord Hospital

Award recipient Dr Alexandra Hawkey said "As an ECR this award will allow me to kick-start my trajectory as an independent researcher in an area I feel very passionate about - marginalised women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. This award will allow me the resources needed to build a robust stakeholder group to include women’s voices at each stage of the research process, including the piloting of novel and creative research methods. I’m very grateful for this opportunity and excited to get started!"

"This Award provides me with an opportunity to better understand and address the low rates of breast cancer screening for women with intellectual disability. This research is critical as women with intellectual disability face systemic neglect in the Australian healthcare system," said Dr Janelle Weise.

Dr Weise said "The Award will allow me to strengthen my research skills, relationships with key stakeholders, and ability to competitively apply for future research funding. I will also use the findings from this Award to be a public advocate on the delivery of accessible preventative healthcare for women with intellectual disability."

Award recipient Dr Kate McBride said "Winning this award has been significant to me. Like many others last year, I had a highly disrupted year due to the impacts of having to switch to online teaching across multiple units as well as being seconded for several months to my local public health unit to assist with COVID case investigations. This was an amazing opportunity for me to assist with public health efforts to contain COVID however, my time spent at the unit significantly impacted in my ability to conduct research. I am passionate about improving health outcomes among women from marginalised groups. Through work I have already conducted, I am aware of the stigma women with obesity face – not just in their everyday lives, but also through their healthcare experiences which are needed to ensure their best possible health outcomes. Award of this grant has given me time to develop my research in this area significantly, so that I can fulfil my aspiration of being able to contribute to improved health outcomes for these women."

"I’m honoured to have been chosen for this award. This will not only support my professional development, but will kick-start research that I may not have otherwise been able to do. If significant findings are found, this research may have profound health impacts and form the foundation for a large clinical trial,'' said Dr Sonali Gnanenthiran.

Congratulations to all 36 Award recipients who represent women working across the breadth of women’s health research, diverse disciplines and broad geographical spread.

A full list of the Award recipients can be found on the AHRA website.


Further information

About AHRA

The Australian Health Research Alliance is the peak body representing Australia’s network of seven Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres (AHRTCs) and three Centres for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRHs) accredited by the National Health and Medical Research Council. AHRA provides one voice for “Better Health Through Research”.

The Centres are strongly supported by the Government and working regionally and nationally, funded by Partners, State and Federal government, with strong support through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Our partners engage across 95% of Australia’s academic and research teams, around 80% of its acute health services with increasing primary care and regional reach. Our Alliance includes:

  • Health Translation Queensland
  • Health Translation SA
  • Maridulu Budyari Gumal
  • Melbourne Academic Centre for Health
  • Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre
  • NSW Regional Health Partners
  • Researcherenye Wappayalawangka, Central Australian Academic Health Science Network
  • Sydney Health Partners
  • Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre
  • Western Australian Health Translation Network

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