MHTP biostatistician acknowledged for outstanding statistical modelling

Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) biostatistician Dr StellaMay Gwini has received the prestigious Professor Damien Jolley Award for excellence in statistics within a doctoral thesis.

Dr Gwini’s award was for her PhD research that examined the health of Australian veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War.

Dr Gwini said that on return from the 1990-1991 Gulf War, veterans complained of many unexplainable symptoms.

“My thesis examined how symptom reporting had changed over time among Gulf War veterans. We further investigated the impact high symptomatology had on health service use,” Dr Gwini said.

“The research indicated that symptom reporting increased over time and high symptom reporting was associated with increased chronic disease incidence in the longer-term.”

“Health service use by veterans reporting many symptoms (but without chronic diseases) was similar to that of veterans with some chronic disease diagnosis indicating that the high unexplained symptom reporting exerted a sizeable health burden on veterans and the health system.”

Dr Gwini said it was an honour to receive the award.

“Going through a PhD is hard work so getting rewarded for it is satisfying. Damien Jolley was a great biostatistician, and the award is a reminder to me of the importance of good statistical practice,” she said.

As a research fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Dr Gwini’s role at MHTP and the School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health (SCS) is to assist researchers and students in research design and statistical aspects of their projects.

“Our service can provide a once-off consultation or longer term collaborations for grant applications, research preparation, research administration, data analysis, and dissemination. In our work, we understand that impeccable biostatistical knowledge is an invaluable tool for all clinicians—one they should keep next to their stethoscope. So we are here to help.” Dr Gwini said.

Dr Gwini is located on level 4, Translational Research Facility (TRF) and can be contacted at