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Dr Asvini Kokila Subasinghe

  • Research Fellow, SPHERE, NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual & Reproductive Health for Women in Primary Care, Department of General Practice, Monash University

After completing her PhD in Public Health, Dr Subasinghe developed a passion for improving the health of vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on sexual and reproductive health in young women. She has worked to improve the sexual and reproductive health of high-risk populations in Australia, India and Sri Lanka. Her research at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute involved the administration of validated sexual health surveys, and self-collection protocols, to investigate the prevalence of reproductive health conditions, unwanted sexual experiences, and sexually transmissible infections in adolescent and young women.

Dr Subasinghe is currently a Research Fellow for the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Primary Care (SPHERE) at the Department of General Practice, Monash University. The aim of her current research program is to increase access to medical abortion services, through primary care, with a specific focus on culturally and linguistically diverse women.

Sexual and reproductive health

What are you planning to do with your fellowship and how it will help your career?

In October 2019, I will attend the Society for Family Planning (SFP) Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California, one of the largest international conferences to focus on abortion and contraception. There I will attend workshops and meet our international chief investigators on the SPHERE CRE to establish relationships in order to undertake future site visits and professional exchanges with these collaborators. The conference location is also a hotbed for issues relating to reproductive justice and women's rights, which will serve as a stimulating research environment for my field of interest.

In May 2020, I will attend the 16th Congress of the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health in Dublin, Ireland, where I plan to present three abstracts related to abortion and contraception use in Australia.

Finally, I will conduct a site visit, under the supervision of Professor Sharon Cameron, at the University of Edinburgh, where I will be able to see first-hand how health system, policy and practitioners influence provision of medical abortion in the UK. I will also learn about developing cost-effective and acceptable strategies designed to close evidence-practice gaps in the delivery of medical abortion, which will provide important context to my research program in Melbourne.

The high public health relevance of this research trip will enable me to grow my expertise by using my learnings to develop a high-impact research program in Australia. More importantly, given the controversial nature of abortion, and how central it is to women's rights globally, this study trip will strongly equip me with the arsenal required to navigate the political landscape of my work.

Asvini Subasinghe