Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Inaugural Women in Health Research Leadership event

This week, SPHPM in conjunction with Monash Partners and the AMREP (Alfred Medical Research and Education Precinct) Early-Mid Career Researchers Committee, proudly sponsored the inaugural Monash Postgraduate Association’s Women in Health Research Leadership event, initiated and coordinated by SPHPM PhD Candidate Cassandra Wright.

Hosted at the AMREP Education Centre Lecture Theatre, this valuable event provided an honest and practical interactive forum about realities, challenges and opportunities for women working in health research in 2016.

Professor Christina Mitchell, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences opened the morning to a packed lecture theatre with 190 attendees. The audience then heard from Baker IDI PhD Candidate, Emily King. Emily was able to provide insight of the realities, needs and desires of a current early career researcher.

SPHPM’s own Professor Helena Teede from Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI) was the keynote address. She spoke about the need for good mentors for women in the workplace, and stressed the importance of getting in touch with your own values and goals and pursuing those, and of self-advocacy.

Next up it was a panel of esteemed speakers including SPHPM researchers (first four on list) who spoke about their own personal experiences and offered insights on how to establish and maintain a well-balanced and successful career in health research as a woman: Professor Rachelle Buchbinder; Professor Flavia Cicuttini; Associate Professor Dianna Magliano; Professor Sophia Zoungas; Professor Emeritus John Catford; Professor Matthew Watt and Associate Professor Heidi Drummer.

A stark message that came out of this panel was the need for clear and open communication in the workplace, from salaries to team work. The panel discussed learning about your individual leadership style as well as the differences between management and leadership and how to seek or create opportunities in these domains. Panellists urged the room to call out conscious and unconscious bias when they see it, and to continue engaging in discussions and activities relating to gender equity in research.

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