2009 Baume Travel Grant

Stephanie Williams attended the 5th TEPHINET Bi-Regional Scientific Conference in Seoul

After the presentation I was approached by the editor of a new surveillance journal and asked to submit the paper for publication

Thank you to the Peter Baume Travel Grant for the opportunity to attend the 5th TEPHINET Bi-Regional Scientific Conference in Seoul, Republic of Korea from the 2 - 6 November 2009. (TEPHINET: Training programs in Epidemiology and Public Health Interventions NETwork). The conference is held every year and combines scientific sessions and workshops relating to managing public health systems and training programs. Public health and epidemiology trainees benefit from the experience of presenting their work to an international audience of experts and have an opportunity to learn from the experience of trainees from all over the world. This year there were over 400 delegates attending the conference.

I attended the pre-conference workshop which was conducted by a representative from the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). The workshop included sessions on the Principles of Risk Assessment, an investigation into early H1N1 deaths in Malaysia, and a cholera outbreak management scenario.

The formal conference commenced on 3 November and included nine sessions of oral presentations and several poster sessions. The oral presentations covered topics of food and waterborne diseases, vaccine preventable disease, environmental health, hospital related infections, influenza and respiratory infections and a miscellaneous session. Presentation highlights included a presentation about a cluster randomised control trial for the typhoid vaccine in rural India, the first documented case of Q fever in Malaysia in the 21st Century, and another presentation "Breaking the barriers to establish a low cost intra-dermal anti-rabies clinic in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh through innovative pooling strategy."

On 3 November, I presented a paper entitled "Chronic hepatitis B notifications in Victoria, 1998-2008: the case for a twenty first century approach to an old disease". This presentation was part of the respiratory and chronic diseases session. After the presentation I was approached by the editor of a new surveillance journal and asked to submit the paper for publication.

The conference was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the field epidemiology work done throughout the world as it was an educational and networking opportunity. I benefited from the chance to give an oral presentation in order to improve my public speaking skills and learn more about tailoring presentations to the appropriate audience.

The key benefit of my attendance at this conference for the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health was the promotion of the Australian field epidemiology training program to an international audience, and the addition of both my presentations to the academic record of the MAE and NCEPH. A total of seven MAE scholars presented at the conference and this combined presence was excellent publicity for NCEPH. In particular, the prominence of the MAE as a university degree combined with field epidemiology training generated a lot of interest in the Australian program.

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