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Home Magazine 2011 Winter Page 4 - Research upate

Page 4 2011 Winter

Jean Hailes research update

The recent arrival of Professor Jane Fisher and Dr Jacqui Boyle will see an increased focus in the areas of women's mental health and in women's reproductive and Indigenous health.

" There's no health without mental health and we look forward to doing some innovative and nationally important work," says Jane.


 " There's a long history of disadvantage and there are great health needs in Indigenous women's health," says Jacqui.

research update

Professor Jane Fisher

Jane is leading the Jean Hailes National Women's Mental Health Research Program.

"I'm impressed that Jean Hailes has identified psychological wellbeing and mental health as a critical area of women's health requiring serious consideration," she says.

Jane and her colleagues Dr Heather Rowe, Dr Maggie Kirkman, Dr Karen Wyenter, Dr Sonia McCallum and Dr Sara Holton will initially focus on four areas of research. "We are interested in the prevention of mental health problems in women in the perinatal period, so we will be testing a new psycho-educational program to prevent postnatal depression and anxiety," explains Jane.

The Mental Health Research Program will look at the psychological aspects of fertility and infertility in Australian women and men, and also at women's sexual, reproductive and mental health after a diagnosis of breast cancer. Jane also has an interest in the mental health of women in low-income areas in the Asia Pacific region and is part of a collaborative research program in Vietnam. "There's no health without mental health and we look forward to doing some innovative and nationally important work," says Jane.

Dr Jacqueline Boyle

Jacqui, a gynaecologist and obstetrician, moved to Melbourne after researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.

For seven years, she has also provided clinics in remote Aboriginal communities.

"There's a long history of disadvantage and there are great health needs in Indigenous women's health," says Jacqui. She cites service accessibility and acceptability in mental health, metabolic disease, cancer and reproductive health as areas that require attention. One of Jacqui's first projects at Jean Hailes has been working with education project manager Louise Browne to organise a free workshop for Aboriginal Health Workers in June. The workshop will be held the day before an Indigenous women's health conference in Cairns.

"We've also got a project looking at access to reproductive health services for young women in the top end of the Northern Territory," she explains. "We hope that by working with young women we can improve their immediate and future health and that of the next generation, too."

These latest additions broaden the Jean Hailes research interests across reproductive, hormonal and mental health, as well as gynaecology, menopause, lifestyle and exercise, and chronic disease prevention. Together, they strengthen our contribution to the women's health agenda both nationally and internationally.

Content updated June 2011

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