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13 Jun 2019

Doherty Institute researcher wins Research Award to Canada

Dr Simon Graham has been awarded an Endeavour Research Leadership Award from the Australian Department of Education to spend five months at the First Nations Health Authority in Vancouver, Canada.

The Endeavour Leadership Program (ELP) is the Australian Government's two-way mobility for short and long-term study, research and professional development with Australia's priority partner countries.

It will allow Dr Graham, a National Health and Medical Research Council Fellow, to spend five months with clinical, research and community leaders within the Chief Medical Officers program at the First Nations Health Authority.

The First Nations Health Authority is a state-wide health authority for British Columbia. It is responsible for planning, management, service delivery and funding of health programs in partnership with First Nation communities in British Columbia with a focus on health promotion and disease prevention.

“This award will enable me to collaborate with staff and community members on a human papilloma virus (HPV) project. A project about HPV is important as some types of the virus can cause genital warts and other types can lead to cervical, anal and vaginal cancer,” Dr Graham said.

“An effective vaccine is available which has significantly reduced the new cases of genital warts in young women and men, including First Nation Australians. A vaccination program exists in schools in the hope to vaccinate young people (11 to 12-year-olds) before they become sexually active.

“However some young people were not vaccinated at school and so offering the vaccine to these young people is important to help protect them from exposure to the virus.”

This award adds to Dr Graham’s already extensive research career which has seen him being based in London, New York and Sydney at some of the world’s leading research institutes, including the Kirby Institute, London School of Hygiene and Medicine, and the Center for HIV Educations Studies in Training, which he attended on an American Fulbright postdoctoral scholarship.

His research focusses on community interventions that aim to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections and viral hepatitis, and preventing poor reproductive health outcomes.

He is a chief investigator on two Australian Research Council grants, one maps Aboriginal culture through a mobile phone app, and the other aims to examine the positive or healthy aspects of sex among young Aboriginal people.