HMRI researchers shine in preventative health awards shortlist

Jun 7 2013

Award finalists Chris Doran, Phil Morgan, John Wiggers and Luke Woldenden.

Award finalists Chris Doran, Phil Morgan, John Wiggers and Luke Woldenden.

Three HMRI research teams have been announced as finalists for the inaugural National Preventive Health Awards to be announced in Canberra next month.

In the prestigious Translational Research category, HMRI Health Economist Professor Chris Doran was nominated for being Chief Investigator on the
Alcohol Action in Rural Communities report, along with fellow University of Newcastle researchers Professor Catherine D’Este and Laureate Professor Rob Sanson-Fisher.

The report was the largest and most rigorous evaluation of a community-action approach to reducing risky alcohol consumption.

Childhood obesity program

Good for Kids Good for Life made the shortlist in the same translational category, having been developed by a joint Hunter New England Population Health/University of Newcastle team led by Professor John Wiggers and Dr Luke Wolfenden.

Implemented in the Hunter, New England and Lower Mid North Coast, Good for Kids Good for Life is Australia’s largest ever program promoting healthy eating and physical activity for kids.

Hunter firm Tomago Aluminium was named as one of four finalists in the Healthy Workplace Awards for Workplace POWER (Preventing Obesity Without Eating like Rabbits). The program was developed by Professor Phil Morgan, Professor Clare Collins, Professor Robin Callister and Professor Ron Plotnikoff from the University of Newcastle.

“We have demonstrated the myriad of health and worksite benefits of the Workplace POWER program. Men lost weight and improved their physical and mental health, which led to fewer injuries at work, less sick days and greater productivity,” Professor Morgan said. “The project was funded by HMRI and Tomago Aluminium, and that collaboration has been absolutely vital.”

Louise Sylvan, CEO of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, said the award finalists were chosen from more than 80 nominations Australia-wide.

HMRI Director Professor Michael Nilsson noted that HMRI had the highest representation of any medical research institute in the national awards, which recognise excellence in prevention and health promotion.

“We’re ideally positioned to take a leading role in this area. In fact, one of our defined goals is to be a world-class centre for translational research, with rapid turnover of results flowing from the dialogue between the university and health service,” Professor Nilsson said.

The Awards will be presented at the National Preventive Health Symposium on 26 July 2013.