Public Health Research

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. (Source - World Health Organization)

The HMRI Public Health Program seeks to improve the health of the community through population health interventions to promote healthy behaviours and enable effective, integrated and equitable health care for all. 

Examining when and the way people use health care, people’s health risk behaviours and the social and environmental factors that affect their health, researchers in the public health research program can explore ways to encourage better health decisions and environments.

Research in this group encompasses a wide and diverse range of health needs at all stages of life – from pregnancy and birth, through to childhood and adult health, as well as ageing and end of life decisions. The research extends from methodological and descriptive research, through trials of strategies to improve health, to studies involving the translation and monitoring of proven programs, surveillance of health risks, and measurement of health system performance. The research is conducted in a wide variety of clinical and community settings, with a strong focus on engagement with industry partners.

Under the guidance of two of Australia’s most experienced public health experts, Professor John Hall and Professor Julie Byles, researchers in the HMRI Public Health program work collaboratively to address a variety of topics, such as: ageing, reproductive health, mental health, nutrition, obesity, smoking, alcohol, and prevention of chronic illness including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and communicable diseases.

Working in conjunction with the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Gender Health and Ageing, Priority ResearchCentre for Health Behaviour, and the Hunter New England Area Health Service, researchers in the HMRI Public Health research program focus on the individual, societal and health care factors. The Program brings together researchers from a variety of fields including; public health, epidemiology, psychology, statistics, economics, medicine, nutrition and dietetics, health promotion, pharmacology, physiotherapy, nursing and occupational therapy.

Research Focus Areas:

A dedicated team of educators within the Public Health program is researching ways to increase the effectiveness of tertiary education about public health.  Evidence based strategies are being developed to increase the understanding of, and the capacity to carry out, interdisciplinary public health measures. Enhancing the capacity of academic staff to teach about social disadvantage across the tertiary sector is a key public health initiative.

Professor Julie Byles - Public Health Researcher
Research Program :
  • Public Health
Research Topics :
Healthy Ageing, Women's Health
Research Program :
  • Public Health
Research Topics :
Using Health Data & Statistics
Professor John Attia
Research Program :
  • Public Health
Research Topics :
Using Health Data & Statistics
Professor Amanda Baker
Research Program :
  • Public Health
Research Topics :
Clinical Mental Health, Effective Health Services, Healthy Lifestyles, Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
Jean Ball
Research Program :
  • Public Health
Research Topics :
Using Health Data & Statistics
Research Program :
  • Public Health
Research Topics :
Clinical Treatment & Palliative Care, Effective Health Services, Healthy Lifestyles, Preventing Cardiovascular Disease

2015

Reducing the impact of back pain in miners
Project Grant
Description:

Can miners at risk of long-term low back pain be identified and provided with a low back pain prevention intervention to prevent the development of persistant pain co-existing lifestyle health risks?

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SKOLL Global Threats
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Craig Dalton
 

Award for Research Excellence - Julie Byles
HMRI Award for Research Excellence
Researchers:
Equal Futures Award
Project Grant
Researchers:

Nicole Byrne

Description:

Nicole will use the Equal Futures grant funding for individual academic writing coaching for publication and grant applications to enable her to achieve her goal of moving from a clinical role to an academic role in speech pathology research.
 

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Equal Futures Award
Project Grant
Researchers:

Gillian Gould

Description:

Gillian will use her Equal Futures funding for 3-4 one-on-one sessions with an external professional mentor and also to  travel to New Zealand to build and strengthen her collaborations with Maori researchers to enable Gillian to reach her goal of being a national and international leader in Indigenous Health research.
 

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Understanding suicide in young Australians
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Chris Doran, Dr Rod Ling
 

Description:

Most deaths by suicide are among young people.

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2015 Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Dr Serene Yoong
 

Description:

Travel support for Dr Yoong to attend & participate in the 2015 Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (TIDIRH) supported by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, July 26-31, 2015.

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Zachary McPherson - Jennie Thomas Medical Research Travel Grant
Travel Grant
Researchers:

Mr Zachary McPherson, Dr Mark McEvoy, Professor Nick Talley
 

Description:

Due to Visa Restrictions and to meet the requirements of the confirmation year for the PhD program at the University of Newcastle, this travel will be broken into two segments from 4 March 2015 to 21 June 2015 and Early July 2015 to Mid November 2015. This attachment at NTU is under the supervision and tutelage of Professor Sven Pettersson.

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2014

Award for Early Career Research - Chris Williams
HMRI Award for Early Career Research
Researchers:
Smoke-Free Recovery
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Billie Bonevski

Improving uptake of colorectal cancer screening among primary care attendees
Scholarship
Researchers:
Description:

Despite innovative programs to increase colorectal cancer (CRC) screening amongst people >50 years of age, such the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP), current screening rates are low.

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Dietary iron during pregnancy: finding the right balance
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Alexis Hure, Dr Amina Khambalia, Dr Amanda Patterson, Dr Elizabeth Holliday, Associate Professor Deb Loxton 

Description:

Iron deficiency is particularly common in women during pregnancy because of the increased iron needed to grow a healthy baby. 

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2013

End-of-life care: An investigation of advance care planning amongst haematological cancer patients (Public Health Program Bridge Funding)
Fellowship
Researchers:

Dr Lisa Mackenzie 

Description:

Lisa has made substantial contributions to a number of competitive research grant applications, research projects and position papers in public health and health behaviour epidemiology. 

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Biological characterisation of genetic associations for large artery atherosclerotic stroke
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Elizabeth Holliday, Rodney Scott, Christopher Levi, John Attia 

Description:

Genetic risk factors, gene expression and ischaemic stroke

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Quality of cancer care from the patient perspective: An international comparison study
Project Grant
Researchers:

Laureate Professor Robert Sanson-Fisher, Dr Mariko Carey, Dr Flora Tzelepis, Ms Alison Zucca, Ms Alix Hall, Ms Lisa Mackenzie

Description:

What do cancer patients think about the quality of their care?

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A life course perspective on the identification of risk factors for low birth weight
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Alexis Hure, Associate Professor Deborah Loxton, Catherine Chojenta, Amy Anderson, Melissa Harris

Description:

This project will identify maternal health factors (demographic, health bejaviour, physical and mental health, perceived stress and life events) that are risk factors for low birth weight.

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Reducing psychosocial burden among women diagnosed with breast cancer and their support persons: A randomised controlled trial of a web-based intervention.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Laureate Professor Robert Sanson-Fisher, Ian Olver, Charles Douglas, Jamie Bryant, Mariko Carey, Gill Batt, Frans Henskens

The Quit-STAIR: A randomised controlled trial of a proactive stepped approach for maximising uptake of evidence-based smoking cessation support.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Christine Paul, Flora Tzelepis, John Wiggers, Patrick McElduff, Jenny Knight 

Description:

Tobacco use is responsible for more than 5 million deaths per year globally.

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Healthy Schools, Healthy Futures
Project Grant
Researchers:

John Wiggers, Elizabeth Campbell, Luke Wolfenden, Jennifer Bowman, Megan Fruend 

Description:

The project aims to reduce the number of disadvantaged adolescents across the Hunter New England region from taking up smoking and using alcohol and illict drugs.

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2012

HMRI Leukaemia Travel Award 2012
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Flora Tzelepis
 

Award for Research Excellence - John Attia
HMRI Award for Research Excellence
Researchers:
HMRI Post Natal Depression Travel Award
Project Grant
Researchers:
Award for Early Career Research - Luke Wolfenden
HMRI Award for Early Career Research
Researchers:
Healthy Schools, Healthy Futures
Project Grant
Researchers:

 John Wiggers, Elizabeth Campbell, Luke Wolfenden, Jennifer Bowman, Megan Fruend
 

2011

HCRF Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:

Rebecca Dyson

Improving cancer care for lymphoma: patients' perceptions of optimal care - Stroud Rodeo Lymphoma Research Project Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Flora Tzelepis, Dr Mariko Carey, Associate Professor Christine Paul, Dr Tclinton-McHarg, Ms Alison Zucca

The profile of pain in older women with arthritis - Lions Club of Adamstown Research Project Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Lynne Parkinson, Professor Julie Byles, Dr F Blyth, Associate Professor H Pollard
 

What causes unexplained encephalitis? A pilot adult encephalitis hospital-based surveillance system - Ann and Eric Bone Research Project Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:
HMRI Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:

Elizabeth Holliday

PULSE Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:
DNA methylation in a cohort study of nutrition during pregnancy and childhood
Project Grant
Physiotherapy for head and neck Cancer
Scholarship
Researchers:

Ms Aoife McGarvery
 

Healthy Schools, Healthy Futures
Project Grant
Researchers:

 John Wiggers, Elizabeth Campbell, Luke Wolfenden, Jennifer Bowman, Megan Fruend
 

2010

Pulse Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kelly Avery-Kiejda 

Pulse Education Grant
Project Grant
Researchers:

Sylvie Lambert 

FamilyFIT: an innovative approach to increasing physical activity for the whole family
Project Grant
Researchers:
Healthy Schools, Healthy Futures
Project Grant
Researchers:

John Wiggers, Elizabeth Campbell, Luke Wolfenden, Jennifer Bowman, Megan Fruend 

Zinc as target for prevention of type-2 diabetes
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor John Attia, Milton Hasnat, Mark McEvoy, Amanda Patterson, Shamasunder Acharya, Steve Bowe 

Pilot of an intervention to increase the provision of nicotine dependence treatment in mental health inpatient settings
Project Grant
Researchers:

Ms Paula Wye, John Wiggers, Jenny Bowman, Amanda Baker, Megan Freund 

A randomised controlled trial of an intervention to increase child physical activity during attendance at childcare
Project Grant
Researchers:
Delay in seeking treatment for symptoms of bowel cancer: a community survey of self-reported delay timeframes and triggers for seeking treatment among those aged 55+
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Christine Paul, Robert Sanson-FisherDr Mariko Carey, R Courtney, C D'Este, Associate Professor Mark McEvoy

2009

Effectiveness of an intervention disigned to reduce alcohol-related harm associated with licensed premises in Newcastle
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr John Wiggers, P McElduff, M Freund, K Gillham, E d'Espaignet
 

Weekly online community survey for early detection of seasonal and pandemic influenza and vaccine failure.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Craig Dolton, D Durrheim, E d'Espaignet, H Kelly
 

Environmental Determinants of Lupas Flares
Project Grant
Researchers:

Ms Marline Squance
 

2008

Molecular mechanisms and treatment of non-eosinphilic asthma.
Fellowship
Development and psychometric evaluation of two measures of perceived needs: one for adolescents with cancer; one for their parents and carers. PhD student = Tara Clinton-McHarg
Scholarship
Researchers:

Prof Robert Sanson-Fisher, Tara Clinton-McHarg
 

Integrated Smoking Care Linking Mental Health Inpatients to Community Services: a Pilot Study
Project Grant
Researchers:

2007

Maximising the benefit of NU Sport school holiday sport camps; encouraging increased participation in organised sporting activity" (NUSport providing $5K cash, $5K in-kind (researcher liaising with Nusport re in-kind part)
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Christine Paul
 

Improving the quality of health news reports in the Australian media - employing Billie Bonevski
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor David Henry, Ms Amanda Wilson
 

Liquor industry sponsorship at Australian Universities
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Kypros Kypri, Professor Robert Sanson-Fisher
 

Followup of non-participant to a smoking cessation intervention trial; tracking quitting-related attitudes, behaviours, and hard-core status
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Christine Paul, Dr John Wiggers
 

Pilot of best practice nutrition screening and intervention for hospitalised older people
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Sandra Capra, Dr Lynne Parkinson, Professor Julie Byles, Dr David Sibbritt
 

2006

A web-based fathers' network and health information service for first-time fathers"
Project Grant
Researchers:

Mr Richard Fletcher, Dr DR Keatinge
 

ALZHEIMERS - The impact of anticholinergic activity, apolipoprotein E and high affinity chlorine transporter genotype on cognition in a population-based cohort
Project Grant
Researchers:

Mr Mark McEvoy,  Associate Professor P Schofield, Professor W Smith, Dr J Duke, Associate Professor John Attia

Equipment Grant
Equipment Grant
Researchers:

Professor Afaf Girgis
 

Adequacy and equity of treatment for depression among older Australian Women
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Julie Byles, Dr Deborah Loxton
 

Women and arthritis; the burden of suffering for older Australian women
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Lynne Parkinson, Professor Julie Byles
 

Health and wellbeing of partners of victims of trauma; a vulnerable group in the community
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Sue Outram, Dr B O'Toole, Professor SV Catts
 

2005

The effect of physical activity on independent living, disease outcomes and health services utilisation among community dwelling older patients
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Janine Duke, Professor Wayne Smith
 

The lifestyles and cancer surveillance practices of newly diagnosed cancer patients
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Jiong Li, Associate Professor Afa Grirgis, Dr Chris Paul and Ms Allison Boyes.
 

PULSE Education Prize
Project Grant
Researchers:

Ms Clare Johnson
 

An exploratory Multi-Method study of the use of complementary and Alternative Medicines by Prostate Cancer Patientsas 04-29
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Jon Adams,  Associate Professor A Girgis, Dr D Sibbritt, Dr J Duke
 

2004

Older women and alcohol use: a longitudinal exploration of behaviours and consequences
Project Grant
Researchers:

Associate Professor Julie Byles , Dr L Parkinson, Associate Professor CD Este & Dr P Warner-Smith
 

2003

Sparke Helmore Achievement - Cancer
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Nikolai Bogduk
 

Patient perceptions of breast cancer risks and the benefits of herbal treatment in menopausal subjects
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Usha Parvathy, Dr J Wadams, Dr D Sibbritt

2002

The prevalence and quality of learning support plans for children with disabilities receiving integration funding in mainstream Hunter Valley Primary Schools
Project Grant
Researchers:

Ms A Prigg, Dr G Vimpani
 

Award for Outstanding Achievement
Project Grant
Researchers:

Professor Jill Cockburn
 

2001

The prevalence of antibiotic resistant strains of H.pylori infection among patients investigated for dyspepsia at John Hunter Hospital
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Anne Duggan, Dr S Tiley
 

Accuracy of a new blood test for B Natriuetic Peptide in the diagnosis of congestive heart failure in general practice.
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Ben Ewald, Dr J Lowe

2000

Preventing infant exposure to tobacco smoke: evaluation of an early childhood intervention
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr John Wiggers, Ms R Considine
 

1999

Award for Research Excellence - Robert Sanson-Fisher
HMRI Award for Research Excellence

1998

Interactive Voice Response: A New Method for Population Health Studies
Project Grant
Researchers:

Dr Lynne Hancock