THRI Summer Research Scholarship Program Student Reflections

Scholar Danielle Wolf
Supervisors A/Prof Ilse Blignault (opens in a new window) & Dr Shameran Slewa-Younan (opens in a new window)
Project Mental health literacy and access to mental health services by the Bengali-speaking community in Australia: a rapid review (THRI)

Summer 2017-18 saw me undertake a rapid review of the mental health literacy and access to mental health services by the Bengali-speaking community in Australia, supervised by A/Professor Ilse Blignault, and Dr Shameran Slewa-Younan.

I was excited and yet also apprehensive: what if I couldn’t deliver? I fumbled my way through the first week or two but with practice came progress. I learned to seek help and direction, to communicate, to admit when I wasn’t sure. I learned the joy of collaborating on a project which is driven by passion, and of having a supervisor who is both generous yet exacting. I also developed confidence in my own ability to perform under pressure, to improve through self-directed learning.

Inspiration to push through the discomfort of the unknown and fear of failure came from knowing this was more than a one-dimensional assessment designed to tick the boxes; this was real-world research, people-centred, and with tangible effects on the community.

That’s not to say I haven’t grown academically, because I have. Immensely. I didn’t know what ‘snowball retrieval' was or how to put together a policy brief before. I’ve added new methods of research, reading and writing; correct usage of terms and concepts; application of theory; formatting; time-management; and, evidentiary synthesis to my arsenal as well.

Scholar Ashleigh Ray
Supervisor Prof Jane Ussher (opens in a new window)
Research Project Older Women’s Sexuality

As a recipient of a Student Summer Research Scholarship, I have enjoyed a 6-week full-time equivalent placement with the Translational Health Research Institute.
I am extremely fortunate to have been supervised by Professor Jane Ussher. I have felt very supported by her throughout this experience and she has provided me with regular meetings, feedback and guidance in my research.

During this placement I gained important insights into the research topic, ‘Older Women’s Sexuality’, which will translate directly into the care that I provide to patients in my future role as a medical doctor. I honed skills that will be invaluable to me throughout my studies and career such as developing search terms and strategies to retrieve relevant papers from a number of databases and identify gaps in existing literature. I have improved my skim-reading skills to more efficiently extract key information from texts. I learnt to utilise research software including Endnote and LitAssist to collect, share and analyse literature. I had the opportunity to explore and then demonstrate new research software to staff via a presentation.

I am very pleased to have been part of this program and highly recommend it to anyone who may be interested in research or in developing research skills to assist them in their future endeavours.

Scholar Praween Senanayake
Supervisor Dr Haider Mannan (opens in a new window)
Research Project  A study to examine the association between infant feeding practices and childhood obesity in South Western Sydney.

My project for the WSU Summer Research Scholarship program was called “A study to examine the association between infant feeding practices and childhood obesity in South Western Sydney.”

I conducted the project at the Translational Health Research Institute, Campbelltown under the guidance of Dr Haider Mannan. The project was a deeply enriching experience and Dr Mannan allowed me the opportunity to gain a profound appreciation for research. The experience has also encouraged me to pursue higher degree research in the near future. I chose THRI because it is a research centre that focuses its research predominantly on the community that it is located in, to produce world class public health research that can be translated into policy and best practice. I recommend THRI for Summer Research Scholars, as well as any student who wants to expand their research interests.