MAE Scholars - Reports from the field

Date & time

12.30–1.30pm 3 March 2015


Bob Douglas Lecture Theatre, Building 62 NCEPH (entrance on Eggleston Road)


Ms Lisa Mulhearn MAE, NCEPH
Ms Anna-Lena Arnold MAE, NCEPH
Dr Chaturangi Yapa MAE, NCEPH


 Matthew Kelly

The Master of Philosophy in Applied Epidemiology (MAE) programme is Australia’s field epidemiology training programme. Since its inception in 1991 the programme has trained approximately 170 graduates who have gone on to work in senior positions in academia, government and international health. In 2014, nine MAE scholars started their two year programme based in field placements around Australia. In this seminar, three current MAE scholars will talk about current projects and focus on one to demonstrate competence and skills in field epidemiology.

Ms Lisa Mulhearn
Lisa is in a joint placement between Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute and the Communicable Diseases Unit at Queensland Health in Brisbane. Lisa has a background in nursing/midwifery and is focused on infectious diseases affecting maternal and child health.

Lisa will present on birth outcomes in Australian women receiving an influenza vaccine in pregnancy. Although vaccination is recommended for all pregnant women, there is a shortage of Australian data on the safety and effectiveness in pregnancy. Lisa’s study aimed to determine whether there are any differences in relation to birth-weight and gestation in weeks at birth of infants between two groups based on maternal influenza vaccination status.

Ms Anna-Lena Arnold
Anna-Lena is based in Canberra in the Indigenous and Rural Health Division, Commonwealth Department of Health. She has a back ground in public health research and worked on studies investigating the causes and prevalence of eye disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and remote communities of Vietnam.

Anna- Lena will focus on an evaluation of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Health Key Performance Indicators (NT AHKPIs), which are a collection of indicators that measure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes and primary health care (PHC) processes in the Northern Territory. They are used to inform PHC planning through a process of continuous quality improvement. In this presentation Anna-Lena will outline the processes and challenges in designing a utilisation focused approach to evaluate the NT AHKPIs’

Dr Chaturangi Yapa
Chatu is based at Health Protection NSW and is a medical doctor by training. Chatu has a special interest in international public health, with experience working in low-resource settings.

Chatu will discuss an outbreak of Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) in New South Wales. HEV infection was traditionally thought to occur in low-resource settings where public health systems were weak and water and sanitation were poor. In Australia, HEV infection has mainly been associated with travelers to endemic countries. More recently, evidence has shown that HEV may be more common in industrialised countries. An outbreak of locally acquired HEV in Sydney in 2013–2014 has changed our understanding of this virus and shown its potential for foodborne and zoonotic transmission in Australia.

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