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Leading research for smoking cessation

Nov 7 2018

Associate Professor Gillian Gould, left, and Professor Billie Bonevski

New strategies aimed at helping people from diverse backgrounds cease smoking have been recognised as leading initiatives amongst the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector.

University of Newcastle’s Professor Billie Bonevski and Associate Professor Gillian Gould were presented with awards by the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) last night at its annual Scientific Alcohol and Drug Conference in Auckland.

Researching in conjunction with HMRI's Public Health and Cancer Research programs, Professor Bonevski and Associate Professor Gould were acknowledged for their outstanding contribution to smoking cessation research.

Brawn Career Development Fellow and behavioural scientist, Professor Bonevski leads a team of innovators who are advancing research in the field of smoking cessation for priority groups such as people who are socio-economically disadvantaged.

Receiving the APSAD Mentor Award, which recognises an individual who has made an important contribution to mentoring and supporting the career development of others, Professor Bonevski said she was passionate about teaching her growing team of clinicians and researchers.

“I view supporting the careers of my students and mentees, promoting excellence, and building the workforce capacity of tobacco smoking cessation researchers as a privilege and key component of my role as a research academic,” Professor Bonevski said.

Focused on improving anti-tobacco messaging targeted at Indigenous communities, Associate Professor Gould, a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Cancer Institute NSW Research Fellow, received the APSAD Early Career Award for excellence in research relative to career opportunities.

Associate Professor Gould, who leads a new research stream in smoking cessation among Indigenous people, said she is particularly interested in smoking prevention among pregnant Indigenous women.  

“I value respectful community-based participatory research and the importance of meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities, upholding the importance of Indigenous culture and knowledge,” Associate Professor Gould said.

APSAD President, Dr Anthony Gill, said the Awards were established to acknowledge the significant contributions to AOD science, practice, and mentorship as well as to recognise and support young scientists.

“The achievements of the 2018 APSAD Awards recipients, and the diverse areas within which they work, reflect the strength and talent that have won our region global recognition in the alcohol and other drugs field,” Dr Gill said.

“Considering the comparative size of the AOD sector in Australasia, we are exceeding all expectations in terms of the calibre of people and research produced.”

APSAD is Asia Pacific’s leading multidisciplinary organisation for professionals involved in the alcohol and other drug field, and is dedicated to increasing the profile of related issues. 

*Professor Billie Bonevski and Associate Professor Gillian Gould are leading researchers with the University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI). HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.