Monash Scholars aim to make a difference in health

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Two University of Adelaide students have been named among the winners of one of Australia's most prestigious scholarships.

Mathematics and Arts student Lydia Braunack-Mayer and Medical student Victoria Cox have both been awarded John Monash Scholarships for 2015, enabling them to undertake further studies at some of the world's leading universities.

Named in honour of Australian military and civic leader General Sir John Monash, the scholarships recognise the winners' leadership capabilities, academic excellence, and their potential contribution to Australia.

The scholarships provide recipients with financial assistance of $60,000 a year, as well as international flights to undertake postgraduate studies at leading universities around the world.

Lydia has been announced as a CBA John Monash Scholar for 2015. She is completing a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

Lydia's Monash Scholarship will enable her to study for a Masters in Statistics at ETH Z├╝rich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Her interest is in using big data solutions to model health epidemics at a population level - such the outbreak of the Ebola virus - to help lead to effective containment and treatment of disease.

Victoria has been announced as the Chairman's Circle John Monash Scholar for 2015. She has just completed her MBBS and is a graduate with a Bachelor of Medical Science with 1st Class Honours from the University of Adelaide.

Victoria's Monash Scholarship will enable her to study for a Masters in Philosophy at Oxford University in the UK, with a focus on evidence-based social intervention and policy evaluation, and indigenous health.

Lydia says the opportunity to conduct postgraduate study overseas will greatly benefit her ability to make a difference. "At the moment the world is reacting to outbreaks like Ebola without really being able to prevent them from spreading within and across populations," she says.

"I'm interested in how we use the huge collections of data out there already - about people, their health, habits and movements - to model how to minimise and prevent major health outbreaks."

Victoria says her studies at Oxford will provide her with a greater understanding of how to develop and implement community healthcare programs in rural and remote areas of the Northern Territory.

"Throughout my medical studies I've had many opportunities to conduct outreach and work placements in different communities, including the Northern Territory. There are huge discrepancies in health between urban and rural and remote Australia, and there is so much we can do to improve that situation," she says.

"I believe it's important to be able to treat diseases in a broader community, and not just treat the person in front of me."

 

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