NARI researchers receive awards

Tall Poppy Award

Dr Bianca Brijnath, NARI’s director of social gerontology, has taken out one of the prestigious Tall Poppy Awards in Victoria for her work in mental health and culture.

Dr Brijnath’s research has identified key barriers to getting timely diagnoses for these groups, including language barriers, stigma, issues of awareness, and cultural understanding of aging, mental illness and care.

Her research currently focuses on increasing awareness and understanding around depression and dementia to improve mental health among older Australian migrants.

Dr Brijnath said she was honoured to receive the award.

“Timely diagnosis of depression and dementia can positively affect older people and their families, yet timely diagnosis of both conditions remains a challenge among older Australian migrants,” she said.

Dr Brijnath received her PhD from Monash University in 2010.

The Tall Poppy Campaign was created in 1998 by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) to recognise and celebrate Australian intellectual and scientific excellence and to encourage younger Australians to follow in the footsteps of our outstanding achievers. It has made significant achievements towards building a more publicly engaged scientific leadership in Australia.

The Campaign’s Tall Poppies Reaching Students Program engages the winners of Young Tall Poppy Science Awards (‘Tall Poppies’) in activities to promote study and careers in science among school students and teachers as well as an understanding and appreciation of science in the broader community.

Robert Helme Research Award

NARI research fellow Dr Anita Goh has been awarded for her work with the annual Professor Robert Helme Research Award through NARI.

She was honoured for her outstanding research across several fields including her work with Dr Anita Panayiotou in developing and successfully delivering a new half-day training program about assessment and management of cognitive decline - Thinking about Thinking.

Although Dr Goh recently joined NARI, she has been a collaborator and colleague for many years including project coordinator for the INDIGO study that NARI was actively involved in and a co-investigator on the Beyondblue funded project on depression and anxiety amongst older Chinese people.

The Rob Helme award for outstanding research goes to a NARI researcher who has shown academic excellence, as demonstrated in their project work, in academic publications, contribution to teaching and broader impact. This year alone she has published six journal articles and 3 abstracts and has been appointed an Associate Editor, to both BMC Public Health and Clinical and Health Psychology, Frontiers in Psychology.

“Anita has done an outstanding job of managing the PITCH project, involving a highly complex co-design and randomised controlled trial methodology,” Director Associate Professor Briony Dow said.

This year Anita has been selected as a Homeward Bound participant - one of 73 women selected from around the globe to participate in a ground-breaking initiative that aims to heighten the influence and impact of women with a science background to influence policy and decision making as it shapes our planet.

Derek Prinsley Award

Carol Pestinger is the 2018 recipient of the Derek Prinsley Award. She has a range of roles and responsibilities, including administrative support to the executive, secretarial support to the Board, support and mentoring to the administrative team, support to fundraising and more recently support to HR in recruitment.

This year Carol has mentored and supported the new administrative staff and supported the project managers and directors in recruitment. She has led the development of the climate survey along with Henry Baxter, and provided constructive analysis.

Carol also contributes to NARI in a voluntary capacity, providing administrative support to the Australian Ageing Research Foundation – NARI’s fundraising arm. She is also consumer representative on the University of Melbourne’s Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC)

Long service awards

Other NARI staff received long service awards at the annual general meeting including

Fiona Richardson – HR and Research Governance Officer and Susan Williams – Research Clinician, Clinical Gerontology for ten years’ service, and Associate Professor Briony Dow – Director, for 15 years.