Travel Story: Dr Zohra Lassi

Dr Zohra Lassi from the Robinson Research Institute’s Early Origins of Health group attended the 20th Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand (PSANZ) Annual Congress in Townsville, Queensland in May 2016.

Zohra presented a poster on her PhD research Strategies for improving health care seeking for maternal and newborn illnesses in low and middle income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

This is what Zohra had to say about her experience:

What was a highlight of the conference?

The highlight of the Congress was the plenary session Progress towards equity in perinatal care: challenges to perinatal health in disadvantaged groups and communities, with speakers including Professor David Osrin, Dr Jacki Ho and Dr Yvonne Cadet-James. Learning about health care challenges in low income and disadvantaged communities was of great interest as most of my research is in global maternal and newborn health. I am also working on preparing my Postdoc fellowship research on improving the nutritional health of disadvantaged adolescents from high income settings and those from low and middle income countries. This session guided my research visions.

Did you meet any researchers or collaborators of significance?

Yes, I was lucky to meet Professor David Osrin during a Meet the Expert session. We discussed how Urban Health is different from Rural Health and how he has experienced the shift of paradigm through working in Urban Slums of India. I was also able to meet Samara Radford during the evening networking session and learnt about her work around pre-eclampsia in Africa. We are in touch and thinking to collaborate to work in other developing countries (possibly Pakistan).

How has the experience supported you and your research?

Some of the presentations were closely related to my research area (urban health, challenges to perinatal health in low income settings, a success story in South East Asia, empowering aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities to address challenges in perinatal health). The Congress provided me a great opportunity to speak to some of the presenters, which will assist me preparing for my future research projects.

What was the most exciting thing you learned/experienced at the Conference?

From my discussions with Professor David Osrin, I learnt about urban health and how urban health is as important as rural health in order to improve the progress towards achieving the global set targets for sustainable development goals. The discussion provided some new insight into an area of research that I had not previously considered, yet has great relevance to global health and wellbeing.

What was the most interesting or unexpected moment of your travel?

An interesting moment of the Congress was during the Welcome Reception where all participants were provided with a Tropical shirt to wear. We also received a wonderful welcome by Christine Anu.

Would you recommend this experience to your friends/colleagues and why?

Yes, definitely! It was a great opportunity to meet with other researchers, both early career and experienced scientists, and to gain an understanding of the broad research being conducted in this field. It also provided me with an opportunity to reflect where my research is heading and allowed me to make connections with other researchers working in the same area to share ideas.

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