Fellowship awarded to nutrition and dietetics leader

Oct 16 2019

University of Newcastle and HMRI affiliated researcher Professor Clare Collins is among 40 new Fellows elected to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS).

Internationally renowned for her clinical expertise and research in the field of nutrition and dietetics, Professor Collins was admitted at the Academy’s fifth annual meeting on 9 October.

A National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Research Fellow, Professor Collins is breaking new ground in using technology to develop, deliver, and evaluate nutrition interventions to prevent and treat weight-related chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Professor Collins said she sees the AAHMS Fellowship as a way to create more awareness that diet is the leading contributor to the global burden of disease, the importance of evidence-based food, nutrition and diet advice and why we need stronger policies to improve nutrition for our most vulnerable people.

“I am also passionate about working with the media to communicate nutrition science for the benefit of government, other scientists and the general public,” Professor Collins said.

“It is one thing to develop innovative, accessible methods for assessing and personalising dietary advice, but that needs to go hand-in-hand with policies and programs that support engagement and equitable access to technology-supported nutrition advice, no matter where the individual might live or work.”

Professor Collins’s research outputs continue to translate evidence-based nutrition into engaging formats that improve dietary patterns and health outcomes. She co-created the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), The Science of Weight Loss - Dispelling Diet Myths, which has been completed by more than 50,000 people across 180 countries.

Professor Collins is also a regular guest of Dr Karl Kruszelnicki on Triple J’s Science Hour, and frequently publishes content that resonates with large audiences via The Conversation, where she is the most read Australian author, with more than 80 articles and 8.7 million readers.

Committed to improving health at key life stages and in chronic health conditions, Professor Collins is the Director of Research for the School of Health Sciences in the University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Health and Medicine, and the Co-Director of the University’s Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition.

Professor Collins said it was a great honour to share Fellowship with many of Australia’s premier health and medical scientists.

“The Academy serves to advance health and medical research by bringing together experts that will ensure Australia remains a leader in health research into the future,” Professor Collins said.

“I’m very proud to be recognised by my peers in this way, and to have the opportunity to contribute to this advancement.”

No stranger to success, Professor Collins was awarded a Fellowship of the Dietitians Association of Australian (DAA) in 2008 and a Gladys M Brawn Senior Research Fellowship in 2016. In 2018 she was awarded the DAA President’s Award for Innovation, and in 2017 she received the Hunter Medical Research Institute Researcher of the Year award. She was also awarded the DAA President’s Award for Innovation in 2018.

Researching in conjunction with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), she also leads the largest group of Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) researchers internationally, and has contributed hundreds of peer-reviewed articles to respected journals. She has also been awarded more than $23 million in competitive grant funding both nationally and internationally.