RSPH Annual Student Conference

20 October 2021

The great diversity of research undertaken by students at RSPH was celebrated with the Annual Student Conference. This year’s theme was Bringing health research into focus in the new normal.

But what is the ‘new normal’? RSPH Director Professor Lyndall Strazdins proposes that, unfortunately, the ‘new normal’ looks decidedly like the ‘old normal’ in many respects.

“So how can we position health to have resonance and visibility in the future? To take its rightful place as one of the most fundamentally important elements of a good society?” asks Strazdins.

“It is important for our work to challenge the ‘new normal’ and address it. And what I see in the work of our student body is incredibly exciting. There is a span of work that understands that health is not just a physical disease, but also a mental disease, and it's also a social disease.”

Indeed, topics discussed during the conference spanned topics such as everyday discrimination in Central Australia, characterising tuberculosis and HIV susceptibility in a using Genome-wide association study, spatial and temporal patterns of dengue incidence in Bhutan, and the relationship between work-family Conflict and mental health.

Professor Michael Kidd AM, Deputy Chief Medical Officer & Principal Medical Advisor with the Australian Government Department of Health, also addressed the conference. He suggested key lessons he has learnt throughout his career, one of which is to do research that makes a difference in people’s lives.

“If your research has influenced government policy and how we decide about spending our taxpayer’s money. If your research has had an impact on clinical practice, or public health practice, and the decisions which are being made which affect the lives of all of us – then it’s having an impact. That's research which makes a difference,” says Kidd.

The topics discussed during the conference will make a difference. Be it measuring the performance of immunisation systems, or researching the effects of zinc and vitamin A supplementation on tuberculosis treatment and outcomes, the work performed by the RSPH student cohort have real-world application to improve lives.

The RSPH student cohort represent the future of Australian and international health research in a post-COVID-19 world, and indeed, the ‘new normal’. They are striving for excellence in epidemiology and public health, with the support of the College and University.

“Our university is a leader in epidemiology, is committed to being among the great universities of the world, and driven by a culture of excellence in everything we do,” says Dean, College of Health and Medicine, Professor Russell Gruen.

The proceedings include:

  • Professor Russell Gruen, Dean, ANU College of Health and Medicine - Health is Pop when everyone’s an epidemiologist
  • Professor Lyndall Strazdins, Director, RSPH - Welcome Message         
  • Alyson Wright - A place-based analysis of experiences of everyday discrimination in Central Australia
  • Cyra Patel - Measuring the performance of immunisation systems: a literature review
  • Bronwyn Wilkes - Cultivating transitions to biosensitive food systems
  • Fasil Wagnew - Effects of zinc and Vitamin A supplementation on tuberculosis treatment outcomes and its prognostic markers: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  • Daniela Espinoza Oyarce - Brain and behaviour: How the reinforcement sensitivity theory links neuroscience and behavioural output
  • Danielle Cribb - Risk factors for Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli infections in Australia
  • Katrina Howe - The extent to which off-patent registered prescription medicines are used for off-label indications in Australia: a scoping review
  • Xiyu Feng - The association between educational level and multimorbidity among adult in Southeast Asia: A systematic review              
  • Setegn Eshetie - Characterizing TB and HIV susceptibility by using Genome-wide association study: Evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis
  • Tianying Wang - The relationship between Work-family Conflict (WFC) and likelihood of a depressive or anxiety disorder
  • Tsheten Tsheten - Spatial and temporal patterns of dengue incidence in Bhutan 
  • Tilahun Alamnia - Non-communicable disease risk factors among adults in Bahir Dar town, Northwest Ethiopia
  • Professor Michael Kidd AM, Deputy Chief Medical Officer & Principal Medical Advisor with the Australian Government Department of Health - Guest lecture     
  • Busayo Ajuwon - Putting the brakes on viral hepatitis B infection: a machine learning strategy to finding the mission millions
  • Setegn Eshetie - Application of machine learning models for spatial prediction of infectious disease: a systematic review


Congratulations to Danielle Crib and Tianying Wang for being awarded best presentation of the day. Also to Setegn Eshetie in second place, and Bronwyn Wilkes in third place.

Special thanks to the Student Conference Organising Committee: Ripon Adhikary, Tsheten Tsheten, Mary Lorraine Mationg, and Andini Pramono.