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HMRI Award for Early Career Research
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2022 HMRI Award for Early Career Research - Michelle Kennedy

The 2022 Early Career Researcher of the Year is Dr Michelle Kennedy from the HMRI Equity and Health and Wellbeing Research Program.

Dr Michelle Kennedy is a Wiradjuri woman who has grown up on Worimi country. She is an NHMRC early-career researcher, partnering with Aboriginal communities to place the power in their hands and address priority areas to improve Indigenous health. 

Dr Kennedy created a smoking cessation program for pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. 

Dr Nicole Nathan

Dr Nicole Nathan is 4.5 years post PhD and has more than 15 years’ experience as a health promotion manager with Hunter New England Population Health, where her primary role is to lead a multidisciplinary team to deliver childhood obesity prevention programs to the community.
Dr Nathan’s multi-award winning work on childhood obesity prevention programs has now been rolled out to over 600,000 students across NSW. Her work has led to children in the Hunter region having a lower incidence of obesity than the rest of the Australian population.

2020 HMRI Award for Early-Career Research - Dr Andrew Gardner

Dr Gardner is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow with the School of Medicine & Public Health at the University of Newcastle, and an honorary clinical research fellow with the Hunter New England Local Health District. He is also a Co-Director of HNEH's Sport Concussion Clinic, an Executive Committee Member of the Priority Research Centre for Stroke and Brain Injury, and serves as a member of the Australian Rugby Union's (ARUs) Concussion Advisory Group.

HMRI Award for Early Career Research - 2019 Stephen Smith

Associate Professor Stephen Smith is a highly regarded colorectal surgeon who serves as Director of the Hunter Surgical Clinical Research Unit at John Hunter Hospital while maintaining an almost full clinical workload.

He has developed and led innovative and high-quality surgical projects in three broad areas – infection, pain, and delayed return of gastrointestinal function.

HMRI Award for Early Career Research - 2016 Andrew Bivard

Dr Andrew Bivard work in acute ischemic stroke imaging focuses on patient selection for clot-busting therapies. Together with industry partners, he developed an automated processing program for cerebral perfusion imaging.

With stroke also being a leading cause of disability, Dr Bivard is now coordinating the MIDAS Fatigue Trial at HMRI using the drug Modafinil to assist stroke survivors in overcoming persistent tiredness.