Friday, 7 March 2014

Focus on: Alison Warwick

With a string of letters already after her name and a successful career in epidemiology, it is not unreasonable to ask why Alison Warwick enrolled in a PhD in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

A senior epidemiologist in the Health Intelligence Unit, Prevention and Population Health Branch in the Victorian Department of Health, Alison has a Master of Science in Immunology from Monash University, a Master of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Epidemiology from the University of Melbourne.
“I decided to do a PhD because it is always something I’ve wanted to do,” said Alison. “But with having children and moving between Australia, the US and the UK, the opportunity didn’t present itself until now.” “Most of the available data is national data and often there is an assumption that this is representative of all Aboriginal peoples,” added Alison. “However, this may mask important differences in the determinants of the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in Victoria.”

In a report Alison wrote for the Health Intelligence Unit based on data from the Victorian Population Health Survey, she had found enormous gaps between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population in almost all measures of health and wellbeing.

“I found these disparities very disturbing and wanted an opportunity to delve into the data more extensively,” said Alison. “And I was very happy to have the opportunity to do my PhD at Monash, my original alma mater.”
Alison hopes that her research will help inform future policy and action to ultimately eliminate the shameful gap that continues to exist in the health and wellbeing of Australia’s first people.

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