Our BMedSc Students

Current Students

Anjali Raghavan

Continuing access to general practice services for  refugees in South Eastern Melbourne.

Supervisors: Prof. Grant Russell and Dr I-Hao Cheng

This project will sit within the scope of the OPTIMISE  Project focusing on the refugee community perspective and experiences of issues  relating to transitioning from the Refugee Health and Well-being Service at  Monash Health, to mainstream GP services.

James (Jimmy) Ingram

An evaluation of a  mindfulness-based retreat on the wellbeing of adolescents and young adults

Supervisors: Associate Professor Craig Hassed and Dr  Debbi Long

This project aims to use  mixed methods to measure the impact of a mindfulness-based retreat on the  wellbeing of adolescents and young adults. Focus group interviews will be  undertaken to qualitatively explore and describe the development of  participants' attitudes towards mindfulness, their experience in applying  mindfulness skills to everyday living, and ongoing barriers to practice. A variety  of questionnaires will quantitatively measure the immediate and longer  term impact on mindfulness, stress, rumination  and mental wellbeing, while assessing the relationship between continued  practice and these outcomes.

Past Students

Annabel Jones (2016)

Exploring  international medical students’ experiences of Family Violence education

Supervisors: Prof Jan Coles and Dr Heather  McKay

Annabel’s research aims to explore family  violence education from the perspective of medical students, who will have to  manage FV victims in their future practice.   Medical students from 17 different countries provided feedback regarding  preferred content and delivery methods for FV education, as well as their  opinion on the WHO pre-service guidelines. The goal is to identify key  education priorities that can be used to improve and/or develop FV education  internationally.

"I have had a wonderful year undertaking my  BMedSc at the Department of General Practice. I was able to help create the  study design of my project and choose a topic that interested me. My  supervisors, Prof Jan Coles and Dr Heather McKay have been extremely supportive  and helpful throughout the year. I would definitely recommend the DGP for  students wanting to complete a BMedSc, particularly for students who have not  had any previous experience in research. This project also provided me with  fantastic opportunities to develop my understanding of primary care research. I  was fortunate to be able to present my poster at the North American Primary  Care Research Group conference in Colorado Springs, November 2016. The work I  have done this year has been both challenging and rewarding, and I would love  to continue working in this important area in the future."

Ben Crock  (2016)

Investigating the eye health of refugees in  South East Melbourne

Supervisors: Professor Grant Russell, Dr. I-Hao Cheng, Dr Riki Lane

Ben’s research aims to address the significant  knowledge gap around the eye health of refugees resettled in Australia. Working  with SAPCRU and in collaboration with Monash Health’s Ophthalmology Department,  the project explored the relative prevalence of common eye diseases and visual  impairment. Ultimately it is hoped that this can lead to further research and  improvements in the field of refugee health.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my BMedSc year, in no  small part due to my experience working at SAPCRU and the DGP. My supervisors  were always within reach and willing to provide any advice or guidance I needed  throughout the year, and the rest of the staff at SAPCRU and the DGP were  equally friendly and available. Working in the environment of SAPCRU, where  you’re treated very much as a researcher and a colleague, gave me a real sense  of the research process – which was one of the major things I wanted to learn  about over the year. Since I designed my own project my year was challenging at  times but very rewarding. The support and help of the team at SAPCRU and the  DGP helped me to have the best BMedSc experience I could have hoped for."

Luigi Zolio  (2016)

Medical interpreting in an Australian context

Supervisors: Prof Paul Komesaroff and Dr  Riki Lane

Luigi's project aimed to explore how professional  interpreters influence the doctor-patient communication in the outpatient  setting. Luigi drew on his fluency in the Portuguese language to study  transcribed audio recordings of consultations with a Portuguese interpreter and  complimented those findings with follow-up interviews of participants. The  study also explored doctors' attitudes to telephone interpreting through  semi-structured interviews.

"It's been extraordinarily rewarding to step outside  clinical medicine for a year and explore medical research from a health  sciences and humanities perspective. While we spend a lot of time in medical  school learning about quantitative research, I am very grateful to have taken  time to experiment with qualitative research and learn about the different  types of answers which it can give us about clinical problems. I'm very  grateful for the guidance and supervision which Paul and Riki were able to  provide me, both of them offered me a lot of their time and were always  incredibly positive and encouraging about my project. I am also very grateful  to the entire department for being such a positive and welcoming environment  for novices to medical research. As I prepare to go back into my final year of  medical school, I genuinely believe that this research project has given me  valuable perspectives which will allow me to be a better doctor for my future  low English proficiency patients."

Mehul Srivastava (2015)

Mapping Family Violence Curriculum in Asian and Pacific Nations

Supervisor: A/Prof Jan Coles

Mehul's research aims to identify and document the current  family violence curriculum for medical students and general practitioners  across the Asia Pacific region. With this project, she has had the opportunity  to attend the Asian Pacific Conference of World Family Doctors (WONCA) hosted  in Taipei.

"I  am very excited to work in this field because this project integrates women's  health and primary prevention, and that too at a global level! It is an  excellent opportunity and after helping out with this project since December  2013, I have decided to complete it as a BMedSc under Jan's excellent  supervision. The department creates a very supportive environment for all  students and I feel well equipped to tackle and understand the research  process."

Tooba Mollah (2015)

Barriers and Enablers to Delivering Culturally Competent Mental Health care to CALD populations: Frontline Service Provider Perspectives

Supervisors: Dr Bianca Brijnath, Josefine Antoniades

Tooba’s research aimed to explore the factors which influence how mental health providers deliver optimal mental health care to their culturally and linguistically diverse patients. This project explored the barriers and enablers to practicing in a culturally competent manner in mental health care. Ultimately the outcome is to make recommendations to influence current practice.

"Prior to my BMedSc I had very little research experience and even less so in qualitative research techniques. The world of qualitative research is so different to the world of numbers and statistics that makes up quantitative research. I really enjoyed that qualitative research allows you a way to translate human narrative and experience into academia. Working with the department was a great choice because they were very supportive and Bianca and Jo were absolutely superb in guiding me through a completely new experience. I would recommend doing a BMedSc to any medical student because it broadens your mind, your academic abilities and gives you a sense of autonomy and achievement very different to medicine."

Sarah Rockerfeller (2014)

Sexual Violence and Women's Health: Educating Future Clinicians

Supervisors: A/Prof Jan Coles, Prof Gabrielle Casper

Sarah's research aims to explore practising medical clinicians'  attitudes towards Sexual Violence education as part of the undergraduate  medical curriculum. This research provides evidence for how sexual violence  education should optimally be delivered and structured in the undergraduate  curriculum and what content is relevant. Ultimately, the goal is to have  evidence for a comprehensive sexual violence education program in the Monash  medical curriculum as well as medical curriculums nationally and worldwide.

"Undertaking  my BMedSc at the department of general practice with A/Prof Jan Coles has been  a wonderful experience. Not only have I gained important experience in medical  research but have done so in a supportive environment with lots of  opportunities. Early last year I was able to go to New York to the 58th  Commission on the Status of Women conference at the United Nations. This gave  me invaluable experience, as I saw first hand the global efforts taking place  to end violence against women and how my research would contribute to that. In  addition I have been fortunate enough to receive a Better Learning, Better  Teaching bursary to try and implement the findings of my research into the  Monash medical curriculum. I have also received a John Snow scholarship for my  work, presenting at the Population Health Congress in Hobart in September.  Undertaking research at DGP really does open up many opportunities for the  future."

Rifath Sana Syeda (2014)

The Effect of Mindfulness Training in Cancer Survivors Reporting  Chemotherapy-related Cognitive Impairment.

Supervisors: A/Prof Jan Coles and Dr Craig Hassed

Rif is in the final year of undergraduate medicine at Monash.  Her Bachelor of Medical Science year began with a research project that was  close her heart, and over the course of the year it was refined with valuable  input and advice from her supervisors, A/Prof Jan Coles and Dr Craig Hassed,  and made into a reality. The primary aim of her year was to investigate whether  online mindfulness training could improve perceived cognitive impairment and  quality of life through a mixed methods research design.

"Overall, it was a challenging year but in the best kind of  way. I was left with a sense of accomplishment by the end of it. Being able to  pursue your own idea is very important, and although my project was very niche  and outside the scope of most people in the department, I was enabled to carry  it out. The staff at DGP were very supportive and encouraging, and my  supervisors were very patient and knowledgeable."

Jacinta Christiansen (2013)

Impact of the Asylum Seeker  Health Orientation Program (ASHOP) on asylum seekers’ knowledge and  understanding of the Australian health system.

Supervisor: Dr I-Hao Cheng

“As a BMedSc student, SAPCRU  provides a good balance of autonomy and support. From the outset, I was  encouraged to select a topic and develop a project of interest to me, creating  a sense of ownership and commitment towards its completion. While I enjoyed the  independence and responsibility given to me in managing my own project, my  experienced supervisors were invaluable sources of knowledge and advice. I  arranged weekly meetings with my supervisors and felt comfortable popping into  their offices for advice. As a learner researcher, I enjoyed the supportive and  friendly environment of SAPCRU and was made to feel welcome by all members of  the team environment for all students and I feel well equipped to tackle and  understand the research process.”

Sathya Manoharan (2013)

An International Study of Working in and Researching Sexual  Violence: A Qualitative Study.

Supervisor: A/Prof Jan Coles

Sathya is a BMedSc student working with Associate Professor Jan  Coles at the Department of General Practice. Her research aims to examine the  experiences of those working in and researching sexual violence. Sathya has  recently been selected to present her research findings at the International  Sexual Violence Research Forum hosted in Bangkok, Thailand at the end of this  year. Sathya is co-author of Guidelines for the prevention and management of  vicarious trauma among researchers of sexual and intimate partner violence.  (2015) Sexual Violence Research Initiative.

"Working  at the Department of General Practice this year has been an amazing experience.  I've had the chance to work with a lot of helpful and supportive people who  have taught me a lot about the research process. Next year I will be entering  my final year in medicine. This year has shown me how enjoyable research can be  and I hope to undertake further research in the future".

Elizabeth Prime (2013)

How can medical students be better prepared to deal with the health  consequences of sexual violence in clinical practice?

Supervisor: A/Prof Jan Coles

Elizabeth's research aims to uncover medical students'  perceptions of sexual violence as part of the medical curriculum. The ultimate  goal is to discover ways to deliver education in a way that medical students  will want to engage with, which will lead to improved health outcomes for women  who have experienced sexual violence.

"Undertaking  research with the department has been fantastic. I have not only been able to  gain an experience of medical research, but also feel like I have been part of  a project that has the potential to make a real world impact. I am very excited  to be presenting my research at the Sexual Violence Research Forum in Bangkok  in mid-October, and hope to be able to publish my research upon completion of  my BMedSc".

Sujatha Harding (2013)

How General Practitioners manage their mentally ill culturally  and linguistically diverse patients.

Supervisors: Dr Bianca Brijnath and A/Prof. Peter Schattner

Sujatha is a practising GP and current BMedSc student with the  Department of General Practice. She entered the BMedSc program after  completing her MBBS degree from Punjab University in India. Her research aims  to identify the methods that GPs use to manage mental illness in culturally and  linguistically diverse (CALD) patients. This project involved undertaking  qualitative interviews with GPs from in Melbourne.

"I  have had a wonderful experience in the Department of General Practice this  year, getting a feel for research and getting to know a wonderful group of  people with a strong sense of collegiality. The outcome of my research is a  Thesis paper which I have recently submitted. Next year I hope to increase my  time in general practice in order to sit the fellowship exams, so I may not be  directly involved in research, even though the experience will help me in  clinical practice through broadening my critical thinking abilities."

Pranshanti Manchikanti (2011)

What are the experiences of Afghani refugees attending primary care practices in south east metropolitan Melbourne?

Supervisors: Dr I-Hao Cheng, Prof. Grant Russell

"I  think a good working environment and good supervision is fundamental to an enjoyable BMedSc year. You will definitely be able to have great people around  you at SAPCRU.

The two things I found most important  in choosing a project were 1) Supervisors, and 2) If the project suited your  fundamental values regarding health/health care. These two aspects of the  project will be able to sustain you during challenging times through the year.

Supervision is very important to the  unit and a good supervision system is put in place early in the year at SAPCRU.  I had regular meetings twice a week with my supervisor for the first four weeks  of the year as I began to understand the research year. After this meetings  were weekly and as needed as I transitioned to a more independent working  style.

Students can expect to have real ownership over their  project- ‘their baby' - which is a pretty great feeling as a junior researcher.  Having a sense of real ownership of my project was a huge reward as I was able  to create my own research question (with great assistance from the team) and  understand its place within the field of refugee health literature."