20 Feb 2023

Women’s Health Research Network launch: a success

Improving the visibility and excellence of women’s health research across SPHERE’s Clinical Academic Groups is the aim of SPHERE’s Women’s Health Research Network.

The Network, which was launched in early February, will work towards enhanced networking, exemplar co-designed projects and targeted mentoring of early-mid career women’s health researchers. 
Chairing the event, Professor Janette Perz emphasised the pertinence of the network across SPHERE.

“This network is relevant for all of us because womens’ health and gender health are issues across all our CAGs and strategic platforms.”

Professor Helena Teede AO, Chair of the  Australian Health and Research Alliance (AHRA) Women’s Health Research, Translation and Impact Network (WHRTN), provided an overview of WHRTN and commended SPHERE on the establishment of the new network.

Speaking about their own experiences, the panel which included Ms Alison Barnes,  Associate Professor Christine Catling,  Professor  Aunty Kerrie Doyle, and Dr Cannas Kwok discussed the important issue of building both capacity and capability in women’s health research through partnering and collaboration.

“By banding together with projects and research studies we can enhance and enlarge their impact and better serve our community with the ultimate aim of improving women’s health and education,” said  A/Prof Catling.

Sensitivity to cultural differences was highlighted by Dr Kwok who has conducted research in CALD communities including Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Indian and African communities. 

The Network aims to bring together women in both peer networking and mentoring opportunities. Aunty Kerrie Doyle summarised her viewpoints on her role in helping women researchers.

“I take the responsibility to grow other researchers very seriously. To do that, I listen to their perspectives and respect the life experience every person brings to their work, regardless of their formal position."

Alison Barnes agreed with the importance of mentoring and assisting women on their journeys.
“I believe we should all aim to lift women up.”

Ainslie Cahill, SPHERE Leader – Consumer and Community Involvement and Engagement provided an outstanding closing address in which she urged the need for progress.

“It is an opportunity for all of us to think about what it is we really want, what we can give and share. Most importantly, let’s start taking action.” 


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