2020 University of Melbourne Excellence Awards won by MDHS staff

Congratulations to Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences staff who won prestigious University of Melbourne Excellence Awards this year.

Professor Beverley-Ann Biggs

Head of the International and Immigrant Health Group, Doherty Institute and Royal Melbourne Hospital
Engagement Award – Award for Excellence in Engagement

Professor Beverley-Ann Biggs is an infectious disease physician and public health researcher. Her work on maternal and child health and nutrition, immigrant and refugee health, Indigenous health, and parasitic and other infectious diseases is the product of decades of community engagement. Professor Biggs leads and has led public health programs and policies that directly impact resource-restricted and rural communities in Australia and around the world. From deep and ongoing engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities studying infant malnutrition and stunting in Elcho Island, to advising the World Health Organization on global guidelines for supporting neurodevelopment, Professor Biggs’ work continues to promote health and wellbeing through direct community participation in evidence-based medicine.

Petula Frantz, Alan Sweeney, Vinitha Thakur, Lloyd Alderman, Hannah Soulaiman, Pratik Dhanwani

Finance Team, Centre for Youth Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Professional Excellence Award ­– Award for Professional Excellence and Innovation

The Centre for Youth Mental Health designed and built a bespoke cloud-based online system to meet the needs of two entities (the Centre and Orygen); three employers (University of Melbourne, Orygen, Melbourne Health); serving six locations (Parkville, Sunshine, Glenroy, Werribee, Craigieburn and Melton). They innovatively used existing ICT infrastructure such as company intranet, active directory, and web servers to integrate data across six heterogeneous applications (Themis, Microsoft Great Plains, Employment Hero, Kentico, Pracsoft and NAB). The online system developed provides secure multi-platform access 24/7 from anywhere in the world. The project was accomplished by expert internal staff and pro-bono advisory contributions from MRIs like The Florey Institute and NAB. The implementations were positively reviewed in Orygen's external audit by KPMG, and the project achieved a complete transformation of the finance systems, processes and reports over two to three years. The team also delivered significantly enhanced trust of all staff and stakeholders in the finance department, and improved understanding of finance policies and compliance to them.

Associate Professor Lianne Schmaal

Associate Professor, Centre for Youth Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Strategic Priority Award – Award for Excellence in a Priority Area

To address issues related to underpowered studies that contribute to the ‘replication crisis’ in
the fields of neuroimaging and psychiatry, Associate Professor Schmaal established an international consortium (ENIGMA Major Depressive Disorder) in 2013, which is now the largest neuroimaging consortium in depression worldwide with pooled data from over 10 000 people and involving a collaboration between over 100 researchers from 40 institutes across 15 countries. Following the success of this work, Associate Professor Schmaal established another global neuroimaging consortium on Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours in 2018, and successfully recruited researchers from 45 institutions to share data from over 26,000 people. Associate Professor Schmaal's work in establishing and leading these consortia has had major international impact and resulted in 42 papers, invited book chapters and review papers about the consortia and invited editorials in top ranked journals. This work has also attracted around $5 million in international funding as (co-)principal investigator, three highly competitive fellowships, an MDHS Faculty Award for Excellence in Internationalisation and a Rising Star Award from the Australian Society for Mental  Health Research. Leading these two international consortia has provided Associate Professor Schmaal, and the University more broadly, with a very rich international network and a leading position in the fields of psychiatry and neuroscience.

Dr Megan Sharp, Tom Wright, Chris Bunting, Zoe Stephenson, Lynley Eavis, Michelle McNamara, Riley Childs, Leonie Slavin

Pride in Action Network Committee
Strategic Priority Award – Award for Excellence in a Priority Area

Over 16 months, the Pride in Action Committee has facilitated LGBTIQA+ inclusion across our University campuses by raising awareness, targeted campaigning, training and resource development and community engagement. The Committee's laudable efforts  highlight innovation in one of the University's strategic priority areas. Through the Pride in Action Network, the Committee has facilitated research programs, infrastructure upgrades, accessible and impactful collateral and specialty advice on matters related to LGBTIQA+ inclusion at all levels of university governance. The Committee has a record of sustained impact through the distribution and uptake of their monthly newsletter to over 3500 staff and student Network members, discipline-specific and tailored LGBTIQA+ Awareness Sessions, and targeted educational resources created specifically for our diverse university community. The Committee's strategic planning, university support, extensive networking and ability to reach underrepresented cohorts, has positioned the University as a leader in the space of social inclusion for LGBTIQA+ staff and students, and has been fundamental to embedding the principles of diversity, inclusion and allyship at the University.

Joanne Bolton

Interprofessional Education & Practice Development Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Teaching Award – Award for Excellence and Innovation in Indigenous Education

Joanne has been working on embedding and promoting culturally safe practices and Indigenous knowledges into academia. The expanding body of work includes an off-campus urban cultural immersion curriculum activity, a student engagement program with First Nations communities, the development of a wholly online cultural safety mandatory training for the Australian Physiotherapy Council, a large interprofessional symposium and a Faculty staff train-the-trainer program. As a non-Indigenous academic not working in an Indigenous lecturer position, Joanne's approach is to always prioritise First Nations voices while also acknowledging the important role and voice that non-Indigenous academics have in ‘sharing the load’ in teaching about cultural safety practice as we are ‘in this together’.  Joanne values engaging with Indigenous knowledges personally, and strongly believe it is value-adding for University of Melbourne students, staff and society more broadly. Through deep collegiality with staff and a genuine respect for students as future colleagues and change-makers, this work has had a significant impact both within and external to the University.

Dr Enes Makalic

Senior Research Fellow and Head of High Dimensional Analytics, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
Teaching Award – David White Award for Teaching Excellence

Statistics is one of the most challenging subjects to teach at University level, particularly when the student cohort is multi-disciplinary and from diverse academic backgrounds. In teaching Biostatistics POPH90013 – one of the largest core subjects in the Master of Public Health, MSPGH – Dr Makalic implemented a sustainable evidence-based methodology that utilises real-life examples from my research and places a strong emphasis on interpretation of analyses in context. Dr Makalic employs active learning activities in lectures to encourage student participation and promote peer learning. To enhance the student experience in the computer classes, Dr Makalic created foundational bridging videos to assist in teaching of statistical software. A survey evaluating the effectiveness of the videos highlighted the overwhelmingly positive student response to this teaching modality. The results of the survey were presented at the MDHS Learning and Teaching Conference (2018). Dr Makalic's SES scores for POPH90013 are the highest of all subjects in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, and are in the top two percent of all graduate subjects at the University. Dr Makalic has also been awarded the MSPGH Early Career Award for Excellence in Teaching Achievement (2015), MDHS Dean’s Fellowship for Learning and Teaching Excellence (2018), and the MDHS Award for Learning and Teaching Achievement (2019).

Associate Professor Michael Pianta, Associate Professor Laura Downie, Gordon Yau, David Vasjuta

CrowdCARE development team
Teaching Award – Norman Curry Award for Innovation and Excellence in Educational Programs

CrowdCARE (Crowdsourcing Critical Appraisal of Research Evidence) is a novel digital platform developed to teach the critical appraisal skills that underpin enquiry-based learning and evidence-based practice. Since its launch, CrowdCARE has shown a rapid trajectory of integration into tertiary healthcare curricula, beginning in MSHS, and now with international reach, engaging over 1200 users. The CrowdCARE development team have presented on the platform at multiple national and international conferences and it has been the basis of two papers in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals. CrowdCARE applies the principles of active learning, peer interaction and experiential learning to teaching critical appraisal. Student engagement is encouraged by innovative analytics and gamification via badges and leader boards. During their learning, students contribute value to the platform, and their contributions are shared with other users. Thus, they become part of an interdisciplinary community committed to evaluating research evidence and using the best evidence to inform clinical practice. The platform has been successfully implemented in several clinical programs at the University, including the: Doctor of Optometry (2nd, 3rd and 4th years), Master of Clinical Optometry (online Specialist Certificates), Master of Nursing Science, Master of Speech Pathology, and Bachelor of Medical Science (around 250 students per year), with the intent of expanding its use to all entry‐to‐practice programs in MSHS (around 500 students per year) in 2019. Evaluation of CrowdCARE, based upon student surveys and objective analysis of student performance, provides strong evidence that the platform has a positive influence on student learning. A comparison of pre- and post-training assessments suggests that CrowdCARE contributes to substantial improvements in both confidence and competence in performing critical appraisal and evidence-based practice.