Research Report

June 2018

Alexandra Procter

2017 Fay Fuller Foundation/Playford Trust Honours Scholarship in Health Sciences

I was incredibly grateful to receive the 2017 Fay Fuller Foundation/Playford Trust Honours Scholarship in Health Sciences. Being granted the scholarship has created a stepping stone towards having a long-standing research career to facilitate the practical application of public health research within Australian society.

The scholarship has assisted me in completing my Honours degree (with first class) whilst being an active member of the Public Health Association South Australian Branch and undertaking part-time employment at the University of Adelaide in both teaching and research. It has enabled me to further invest my skills and knowledge in improving the health outcomes of children and young people in South Australia through early intervention and prevention.

In 2017, I undertook my Honours project, entitled ‘Potentially preventable hospitalisations: Considering injuries as part of a child-focused definition’. For injuries to be considered as part of a child-focused definitions of potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPH), we need to understand the aetiology and epidemiology of injury hospitalisations.

The project aimed to compare paediatric injury emergency department presentations that were, and were not, subsequently admitted to hospital for children aged 0-14 years born in South Australia in 1999-2013 that form part of the South Australian Early Childhood Data Project. The outcomes of my project study provide insight to the flow of injury hospitalisations and presented possible pathways of prevention for what remains a costly public health issue in Australia.

From left: Alexandra Procter with fellow 2017 awardee Jasmine Wilson (CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing/Playford Trust PhD Scholarship recipient) at the April 2017 Playford Trust awards night ceremony hosted by Flinders University.

The result of the honours project are currently being developed into a manuscript for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics.
My future aspiration is to continue working on the South Australian Early Childhood Data Project and aim to progress my learning as an independent researcher through completion of a PhD after a year of full-time employment. I believe that my time employed as part of BetterStart will allow me to build my academic track record and provide opportunities to network and improve my current skill level.
Ultimately, this will benefit me when undertaking a PhD. After the completion of a PhD, I plan to continue working towards a career where I can contribute to producing work of a high standard that can be implemented into practice and have a direct positive impact on South Australian Children. I am driven by the belief that my completed research will continue to contribute to helping ensure every child has the opportunities and entitlements needed to thrive and experience optimal outcomes in life.

On a personal level, I hope to continue having a research career in which my professional aspirations align with my personal aspirations, and I am able to make a positive contribution to my community.

I wish to thank the Fay Fuller Foundation for not only providing the scholarship but, more importantly, recognising the importance of supporting public health research in South Australia. Our state is often associated with poorer health outcomes compared to national standards. Part of addressing this discrepancy is to recognise the value of improving the health of the population through public health research. I thank and recognise the Fay Fuller Foundation commitment to making South Australia a great place for all to live by encouraging young researchers such as myself.