Seminar Program 2015

SPHPM seminars are held on Wednesdays from 2pm to 3pm in The Alfred Centre seminar rooms, unless otherwise stated.

All are welcome and no RSVP is required. Enquiries to A/Prof Anita Wluka.

Monash Ageing Research Centre (MONARC) Seminar listings can be viewed here.

16 DEC

The Exposome: Decoding the environment through new investigative technologies

Associate Professor Roel Vermeulen



Wireless Radiation and Human Health Policies: How reliable is the Scientific Evidence?

Professor Darius Lezczynksi
Chaired by Professor Michael Abramson

Dariusz Leszczynski, PhD, DSc, is an Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Helsinki, Finland and Chief Editor of Radiation and Health; specialty of the Frontiers in Public Health, an open-access journal published in Lausanne, Switzerland. He has two doctorates in molecular biology and biochemistry from the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland and Helsinki University, Finland, respectively. For nearly 22 years (1992-2013) he worked at the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority. During the years 2003-2007 he worked as the Head of Radiation Biology Laboratory and from 2000 to 2013 as a Research Professor.


Becoming better teachers of Statistics

Dr Nicola Petty, University of Canterbury, NZ
Chaired by Professor Robin Bell

Statisticians are often called on to teach, even if they are not in a formal teaching position. Statistics is one of the most important subjects for all people in all walks of life, and teachers of statistics have the responsibility and opportunity to make a difference. In the last twenty years the access to data and technology, and research into how people learn statistics have opened up different ways to teach statistics well. In this seminar Dr Nicola Petty will talk about the process of becoming better teachers of statistics, and inspire with practical ideas and frameworks.

25 NOV


Public Health, Research and Collaboration Potentials for better Maternal and Child Health outcomes

Dr Abebaw Worku – Director, Institute of Public Health, University of Gondar (Ethiopia)
Chaired by Professor Michael Abramson

The University of Gondar in Ethiopia is the pioneer in public health training, research and community services in the nation since its establishment as a Public Health College and Training Centre 1954. Dr Abebaw will be talking about previous experiences of collaborative researches, and existing potentials in research and public health teaching. He will talk about research and academic progresses, challenges and opportunities of researching into the priority public health areas including Maternal and Child Health from his institutions experiences. Seminar room 1

21 OCT

Identifying Questionable Publishing Practice – avoiding the pitfalls

Associate Professor Michael Brown – School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University

There has been an explosion of academic publications in recent years, but some new publications are anything but reputable. Open access and online publishing have opened the door to predatory and vanity academic publishers, who charge authors for publication but avoid providing meaningful peer review. While one may imagine predatory publishers are a problem for academics in the developing world and our email spam folders, there are dozens of Monash staff that have their names associated with predatory publishers. Michael will discuss this dangerous new era of academic publishing, why we should be concerned about it and how to avoid its pitfalls. View Presentation

12 OCT


Special lecture:

Dr Joe Selby – Executive Director, Patient Centred Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) USA

A family physician, clinical epidemiologist, and health services researcher, Dr Selby has more than 35 years of experience in patient care, research, and administration. He is responsible for identifying strategic issues and opportunities for PCORI and implementing and administering programs authorized by the PCORI Board of Governors. Dr Selby joined PCORI from Kaiser Permanente, Northern California, where he was Director of the Division of Research for 13 years and oversaw a department of more than 50 investigators and 500 research staff members working on more than 250 ongoing studies.


Building a health system that cares. Is physician autonomy our patients’ saviour or saboteur?

Professor Harvey Newnham – Clinical Program Director Emergency and Acute Medicine and Director of General Medicine, Alfred Health

Insights from a sabbatical at Intermountain’s Institute of Health Care Delivery Research, Utah, USA. A/Prof Newnham will discuss essential improvement tools to equip Australian health care teams to responsibly address complexity, variability and appropriateness of care.



Special lectures:

How clinical trials are organised/funded in Canada

Ms Susan Marlin, President and CEO, Clinical Trials Ontario (Canada)

The NIHR Model in practice

Professor Tom Walley CBE, Director NIHR HTA Programme, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Liverpool University and Consultant Physician at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital (UK)

Further information

23 SEP

The history of heart transplantation – past, present and future

Professor Frank Rosenfeldt

Professor Rosenfeldt has developed improved techniques of donor heart preservation using continuous cold perfusion with a special preservative fluid. He recently founded a commercial company that received a grant of $1.5m from the government of Victoria to develop and commercialise a new device to resuscitate and preserve donor hearts and to transport them safely over long distances. This device has the potential to greatly increase the number of donor hearts available for transplantation and to reduce waiting time and waiting list mortality for heart transplant patients.


VIFM and Malaysian Airlines flight MH17

Associate Professor David Ranson, Deputy Director VIFM

Department of Forensic Medicine/VIFM staff were a part of the AFP Team that helped with the disaster victims identification following the lost of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. This talk covers some of the medical, scientific, social and political dimensions of the operation in the Netherlands as well as the issues surrounding the repatriation of the human remains to Australia.

26 AUG

Gender inequality in medical research and practice

Dr Deb Colville

Bullying was recently publicised by a widely-reported suggestion in the media that complaining about it is simply not feasible as things stand at present in our medical culture. This is despite active HR Departments in hospitals, and extensive College policy-making work, both for some decades. This publicity has raised deeper debate about the relative absence of women in some areas of medicine, such as disciplines of surgery, and on surgical decision-making bodies. Programs involving men and women 'working together as champions in medical leadership' are proposed as a solution. This presentation focuses on feminist educational research that illuminates what is going on, and what solutions follow.

19 AUG

Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome Criteria in Defining Severe Sepsis

Dr David Pilcher

The consensus definition of severe sepsis requires suspected or proven infection, organ failure, and signs that meet 2 or more criteria for the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). Using patient information from more than a million ICU admissions from Australia and NZ we show that the need for two or more SIRS criteria to define severe sepsis excluded one in eight otherwise similar patients with infection, organ failure, and substantial mortality and fails to define a transition point in the risk of death.

19 AUG

What happened on Grey’s Anatomy last night? Teaching medicine and medical ethics using popular culture

Dr Lenise Prater, Evie Kendal and Dr Basia Diug

A MERQ Education Forum – from 12pm-1pm there will be opportunity for attendees to workshop submission ideas for the associated Learning and Teaching Research Grant project’s edited collection.

12 AUG

EBOLA – what happened behind the scenes?

Associate Professor Manoj Gambhir

Modelling epidemics has become a commonplace activity over the past 40 years, since the publication of Professors Anderson and May's first pathbreaking papers. Analytical techniques adapted from the hard sciences have given way to a field dominated by computational simulation models fitted to epidemic data using Bayesian statistics. This has led to an adoption of modelling by public health agencies, most recently illustrated by several model-based forecasts and analyses of the Ebola outbreak in Africa. However, the initial vision of Anderson and May has changed enormously over the years, with notable setbacks as well as successes. A/Prof Gambhir will discuss the state of the field and offer suggestions for progress.

29 JUL

How NOT to analyse and present data

Associate Professor Arul Earnest

Does the data in the report you read appear dodgy? Ever wondered when it is appropriate to use the mean or the median? This presentation will highlight some of the common pitfalls in the analysis and presentation of data. Examples will be drawn from the healthcare literature. At the end of talk, the audience will learn to avoid some of the common mistakes in the analysis, presentation and interpretation of healthcare data.

22 JUL

Public health communication surveillance in social media

Professor Isaac Fung (Hong Kong)

Dr Isaac Chun-Hai Fung is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern University. He earned his PhD from Imperial College London and his post-doc at the University of Georgia and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he is currently a guest researcher. His most recent research includes studies of social media in the context of public health, in collaboration with the University of Hong Kong (Journalism and Media Studies Centre) and the University of Georgia (College of Engineering). This seminar will address issues such as social media users’ reaction to outbreaks (eg. MERS-CoV, H7N9, Ebola); health promotion campaigns (eg. Global Handwashing Day); identification of themes in social media about infectious diseases.

15 JUL

Life with an 'I CAN' attitude

Penny Robinson (APAC Conference practice talk)



Modelling and economics in global oublic health: from infectious diseases to obesity

Bruce Lee, MD

Dr Lee is Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins; and Director of Operations Research at the International Vaccine Access Center. Dr Lee has over 15 years of experience in industry and academia in public health operations research and has been the Principal Investigator for grants from a variety of sponsors including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ), UNICEF, Global Good, and the Global Fund.

17 JUN

Introducing MAGNET... The Melbourne East MonAsh GeNeral PracticE DaTabase

Professor Danielle Mazza and Dr Lyle Turner, Monash University

This talk will introduce the Melbourne East MonAsh GeNeral PracticE DaTabase (MAGNET) research platform, a unique and expansive dataset established through collaboration between Monash University and Inner East Melbourne Medicare Local.


Screening for atrial fibrillation… just keep looking

Professor Ben Freedman – Professor of Cardiology Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney

Ben Freedman's talk will discuss the case for screening for AF to prevent stroke, and potential ways in which screening might be implemented.

20 MAY

RHINESSA generation study: Will a transgenerational approach solve the asthma riddle?

Professor Cecile Svanes, Centre for International Health at the University of Bergen
Chaired by Professor Michael Abramson

Cecile is a specialist in pulmonary and internal medicine, and works as a consultant in occupational respiratory diseases at the Dept Occupational Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital. Her most important scientific contribution concerns the early life origins of adult asthma, allergy and lung function.


Innovative approaches to monitoring alcohol and drug harms, mental health and self harm in the population

Belinda Lloyd, Associate Professor of Addiction Studies, Monash University and Head of Research and Workforce Development, Turning Point



The AstraZeneca Open Innovation Platform and Collaborative Opportunities

Dr Ajay Gautam – Executive Director and Head of Collaborations for AsiaPac & Emerging Markets for AstraZeneca's IMED Biotech Unit

Boardroom 1, Level 6, The Alfred Centre

30 APR


Partnering for Research Success

Shanthi Ramanathan – Head of Client Research, Hunter Research Foundation

Using a selection of exemplars, selected from hundreds of worthwhile and interesting research projects, Shanthi’s presentation will share insights and highlight HRF’s unique brand of research services which distinguishes it from other purely market research companies. There will be opportunity for questions and a group discussion following the presentation.

Tutorial room 8, Level 5, The Alfred Centre

29 APR


What is medical education research?

MERQ Seminar presented by Associate Professor Dragan Ilic

Those interested in conducting research in medical and health education are highly encouraged to attend, as potential research projects will be discussed.

Seminar room 1, Level 5, The Alfred Centre

22 APR

Why being in the ICU is not good for you

Associate Professor Jack Iwashyna

Jack is a Visiting Researcher at the ANZIC-RC in 2015 while he is on sabbatical from his role as Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine; Co-Director, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program; Faculty Associate, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, and Research Scientist, VA Ann Arbor Center for Clinical Management Research in the USA.

26 MAR


VicBiostat Seminar: Cancer following low-dose radiation. Can we exclude reverse causation artefacts?

Professor John Mathews – University of Melbourne, School of Population and Global Health

Ground floor, Classroom 1, AMREP

25 MAR

Open Access at Monash

Mr David Groenwegen and Dr Jay Illesinghe

This seminar will cover current trends and requirements in Open Access in Australia and around the world, as well as Monash' response to meeting these requirements.

Lecture Theatre, Level 5, The Alfred Centre

18 MAR

From Flinders Street to Family Practice – an update on Forensic Medicine at the VIFM

Professor Noel Woodford – Director of Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM)

Lecture Theatre, Level 5, The Alfred Centre