Thursday, 11 December 2014

Dr Sara Holton writes about her SPHPM travel grant

Members of the Jean Hailes Research Unit at the Conference. L-R: Dr Sara Holton,
Dr Karin Hammarberg, Dr Heather Rowe, Dr Maggie Kirkman & Ms Karen Freilich.
Dr Sara Holton from the Jean Hailes Research Unit received an SPHPM travel grant award this year. Have a read of her experience below!

Conference details:

The travel grant allowed me to attend and give two oral presentations (both of which I was first author) at the Public Health Association of Australia’s 2nd National Sexual and Reproductive Health Conference in Melbourne, Australia, 18-19 November 2014.





Outcomes of travel:

The Conference brought together practitioners, policy makers, scholars, educators and others interested in improving the sexual and reproductive health of all Australians.

I gave two oral presentations at the Conference: ‘Attitudes to long-acting reversible contraceptives: findings from the Understanding fertility management in contemporary Australia survey’ and ‘Barriers to managing fertility: findings from the Understanding fertility management in contemporary Australia online discussion’. These presentations were based on the results of the ARC Linkage Project that I work on which is examining fertility management in Australia, that is, the factors which are important in avoiding or delaying pregnancy when it is not desired and achieving a pregnancy when it is desired.

My first presentation outlined the factors related to the use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) and their perceived reliability among Australian women and men of reproductive age. I found that although most respondents had heard of LARC, they did not think it was reliable and would not consider using it. In the second presentation, I presented findings from an online discussion group which was convened on Facebook to investigate the fertility management experiences and opinions of women and men of reproductive age living in Australia. I found that many people in Australia face a number of barriers to effectively managing their fertility including a lack of knowledge about sex and reproduction and difficulties accessing fertility services.

Both presentations were well received, and generated discussion among the conference attendees about the methods used (including the use of Facebook for the online discussion group and the inclusion of men in our survey investigating attitudes to long-acting reversible contraception) and the implications for clinical practice.

Attendance at the Conference provided me with the opportunity to disseminate findings from the Fertility Management project. I was also able to meet with, network and hear from clinicians and established researchers working in the field of sexual and reproductive health. Feedback from my presentations and discussion with clinicians and researchers will be used to inform my current research; and has provided insight into possible areas for future research. Attendance at the Conference has been invaluable in strengthening my research career.

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