Honours

Why choose Honours in Population and Global Health?

The Honours program in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health (MSPGH) will provide students with skills and experience conducting research in an area of population and global health. Population Health researchers address questions designed to improve the health of populations in both Australia and globally, and use a range of approaches including for example; the analysis of population statistics; qualitative research with particular sub-groups in the population; analysis of legal and ethical issues in health, and; evaluation of health programs and policies.

Honours students will have the opportunity to join one of the many research groups within the School. The groups use the approaches described above to address diverse areas of health including; sexual health; indigenous health; mental health; men’s health; women’s health and disease prevention.

The opportunity to specialise provides a strong foundation for the future direction of Honours graduates, whether as a means of progressing to higher degree research at the Masters or PhD level, or improving the scope of employment options and professional advancement.

The course year starts in February and ends in November and is only available full time.

2019 MSPGH Honours Flyer

Structure

The Honours program consists of 100 credit points completed over 12 months full time (or part time equivalent) comprising of two (2) Advanced Coursework subjects and a Research Project.

To be awarded Honours with a specialisation in Population and Global Health, students must successfully complete the following:

BIOM40001 Introduction to Biomedical Research (12.5 points)

AND One of the following 12.5 point subjects  (as directed by Honours Supervisor & Coordinator):
POPH90200 Principles of Social Research Design
POPH90014 Epidemiology 1
POPH90058 Health Program Evaluation 1
POPH90206 Health Policy
POPH90270 Bioethics and Public Health
POPH90094 Health Economics 1

AND both of:
POPH40005 Population Health Research Project 1 (25 points)
POPH40006 - Population Health Research Project 2 (50 points)

What will you achieve?

  • Ability to formulate population health research questions;
  • Ability to apply ethical principles to the conduct of research with humans;
  • Expertise in all aspects of research design, including selection of populations, sampling approach, data collection methods and analysis;
  • Ability to apply critical and analytical skills to the identification and resolution of problems that arise in the conduct of population health research;
  • Proficiency in accessing, searching and summarising published research in population health;
  • Skills in communicating the findings of a research project in written and oral form.

Information session

Date:      Monday 1st October, 2018
Time:      4.00 pm – 5.30 pm
Venue:   Room 515, Level 5, 207 Bouverie St, Carlton

MSPGH Honours Coordinators

Associate Professor Louise Keogh
l.keogh@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Lucio Naccarella
l.naccarella@unimelb.edu.au

MSPGH Research Projects 2019

  • Timely antenatal care for women and newborns in rural Papua New Guinea (PNG)

    Supervisors: Dr Chris Morgan, Dr Michelle Scoullar, Dr Alyce Wilson, Professor Caroline Homer

    Project Site:  Burnet Institute

    Project Description:

    "Timely antenatal care is essential to optimise pregnancy outcomes by ensuring good nutrition and management of infections and other complications during pregnancy. In resource-constrained settings such as PNG women often present late in pregnancy, missing crucial opportunities for health care. Researching timeliness of antenatal care requires accurate determination of gestational age at the time of presentation, which is rarely straightforward in such settings lacking imaging equipment and ultrasound skills. Determination of gestation is also important to identify likely preterm birth, crucial given preterm birth complications are the leading cause of under-5 child mortality globally.

    This project explores the use of last menstrual period and fundal height, which have been validated as tools for estimating proxies of gestational age in the absence of ultrasound services, to determine the range of gestations at which women present for antenatal care in rural PNG.  This uses data from the Burnet-led Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies research program: a unique dataset collected from a prospective observational cohort study of 700 mothers in rural PNG from first antenatal care to 12 months after childbirth. The associations between women presenting early in pregnancy, compared with those who present late, will allow us to understand how to improve community education programs. Documenting gestations will also allow identification of infants born prematurely and thus at higher risk of death.

    This project would allow a student to gain experience with quantitative and qualitative data analysis tailored to international health development usages. A student could also work alongside clinician researchers from within PNG in a partnership to ensure findings are contextualised and applied to PNG’s health service improvement needs. This project would also help build the knowledge and evidence base to influence current health guidelines, protocols and policies for antenatal and neonatal care. The findings of this analysis would strengthen calls to action to improve the accuracy of the measurement of gestational age in order to promote better pregnancy care among women and improve the survival of preterm babies in PNG."

  • Uptake of immunisation services in rural Papua New Guinea (PNG)

    Supervisors:  Dr Chris Morgan, Dr Alyce Wilson

    Project Site:  Burnet Institute

    Project Description:

    "Childhood immunisation is the most cost-effective public health measure available, yet approximately 40% of children in PNG  are not reached with vaccination, worse in remote areas.  A variety of factors may explain this, including poor supply chain management, service delivery failures, and other health system weaknesses. One of the most crucial aspects is the need to build community demand for and confidence in immunisation services. Initial data, including the difference between infants receiving the first versus the third dose of combination vaccines (‘drop-out’ ), suggests that problems in community engagement may be a major factor in PNG’s low vaccine coverage.

    This project analyses new drop-out data in rural PNG to understand.  This uses data from the Burnet-led Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies research program: collected from a prospective observational cohort study of 700 mothers in rural PNG from first antenatal care to 12 months after childbirth. This unique dataset allows longitudinal comparison of coverage at different points in the first year of life, and analysis for associations to identify which families are seeking full vaccination, and which are dropping out.

    This project would allow a student to gain experience with quantitative and qualitative data analysis tailored to international health development usages. A student could also work alongside clinician researchers from within PNG in a partnership to ensure findings are contextualised and applied to PNG’s health service improvement needs. This project would also help build the knowledge and evidence base to influence current health guidelines, protocols and policies for improving immunisation services. The findings of this analysis would strengthen advocacy for continued, more targeted investment, by Gavi, WHO and other global immunisation partners>"

  • Postnatal complications among women in rural PNG

    Supervisors:  Dr Chris Morgan, Dr Alyce Wilson, Dr Michelle Scoullar,  Professor Caroline Homer

    Project Site:  Burnet Institute

    Project Description:

    "The period immediately after childbirth (postpartum period) is the time of highest risk of death for women in settings such as Papua New Guinea (PNG), in that 60% of maternal deaths take place in this period. Despite this, the postpartum period is far less well studied that the pregnancy and delivery points in the life-course. The Burnet-led Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies research program has a unique dataset collected from prospective observation of 700 mothers in rural PNG from first antenatal care to 12 months after childbirth.

    This project explores the use of quantitative and qualitative data collected through in-depth interviews with post-partum women, collected as part of the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies research program. The data will allow documentation of the variety and incidence of post-partum complications, the socio-demographic characteristics of women who experience complications, and the range of health care that was sought.

    This project would allow a student to gain experience with quantitative and qualitative data analysis tailored to international health development usages. A student could also work alongside clinician researchers from within PNG in a partnership to ensure findings are contextualised and applied to PNG’s health service improvement needs.  It would also help build knowledge regarding the current health policies for pregnancy and how well the real experience of complications in postpartum PNG women aligns with policy and practice. The analysis would produce evidence of immediate usefulness to Burnet’s future health development programs targeting the postnatal period, and to policy-makers in PNG more broadly."

  • Estimating the burden of inadequate housing in Australia

    Supervisors:  Associate Professor Rebecca Bentley, Associate Professor Emma Baker, Dr Ankur Singh

    Project Site:  Centre for Health Equity, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    Housing is an important social determinant of population health and poor housing condition is associated with respiratory illness, CVD, injury and mental health. Currently, Australia has no national measure of housing condition. Pilot data from the Australian Housing Conditions Survey, recently collected as part of a collaborative project between the University of Melbourne, University of Adelaide and others, can now be used to estimate the prevalence of poor quality housing. From these estimates we can derive, for the first time, the burden of poor health attributable to housing in Australia, as has been done in other settings internationally.

  • What clinical guidelines exist for treatment of multiple sclerosis that don’t involve drugs?

    Supervisors:  Dr Claudia Marck, Dr Lisa Grech

    Project Site:  Centre for Health Equity, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    People with multiple sclerosis (MS) often seek information about evidence-based non-pharmacological interventions, health and lifestyle changes to self-manage their disease. These strategies may include cannabis use, dietary modification or supplements, or exercise therapy. It is important that MS healthcare professionals have access to available evidence-based clinical guidelines to ensure they are providing the best available assistance for non-pharmacological interventions, but it is currently unclear what guidelines exist. The last systematic review is 5 years old and included mostly pharmacological treatment guidelines. This project includes a systematic search of peer-reviewed literature and resources from professional bodies relevant to MS management, to identify existing clinical practice guidelines regarding non-pharmacological management of MS. The report will summarise and critically appraise existing guidelines (using the AGREE tool), and identify gaps requiring further guideline development.

  • Has the azithromycin community wide treatment for trachoma had any impact on the rates of other hygiene related conditions such as otitis media, skin infection and respiratory infection. Examine the publicly available data.

    Supervisors:  Ms Emma Stanford, Professor Hugh Taylor

    Project Site:  Indigenous Eye Health, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    Australia is committed to the World Health Organisation (WHO) goal to eliminate trachoma by 2020. Australia follows the SAFE Strategy which is the WHO program which stands for S for Surgery, A for Antibiotics, F for Facial Cleanliness and E for Environmental Improvements. Azithromycin is the antibiotic used for community wide treatment. Using the publicly available data look at the impact of the azithromycin distribution in some remote communities in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

  • Women's experience of IUD (intrauterine device) provision from a trainee clinician

    Supervisors:  Professor Jane Hocking, Dr Cameryn Garrett, Dr Hennie Williams

    Project Site:  Family Planning Victoria and MSPGH

    Project Description:

    Despite the high efficacy of long acting reversible contraception, uptake in Australia remains low.  Increased training in IUD (intrauterine device) insertion has been suggested as a strategy to increase uptake. Little is known about patients’ experiences with trainees for IUD provision. This qualitative research project aims to interview women about their experience of IUD provision at sexual and reproductive health clinics and explore women's contraceptive decision making processes.

  • Mothers' understanding about long acting reversible contraception

    Supervisors:   Professor Jane Hocking, Dr Hennie Williams, Dr Cameryn Garrett

    Project Site:  Sexual Health Unit, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    Australia has very low rates of use of long acting reversible contraception such as implanon in young women and yet, we have some of the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy observed in high income countries. We hypothesise that mothers often advise their daughters on what contraception to use and may lack knowledge about the long acting options available. This qualitative research project aims to interview mothers about their understanding of long acting contraception and barriers to them advising their daughters about these options.

  • Impact of online dating apps on sexual risk behaviour

    Supervisors:  Professor Jane Hocking, Dr Hennie Williams, Dr Cameryn Garrett

    Project Site:  Sexual Health Unit, Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    The use of online dating apps has increased considerably among young adults at the same time as sexually transmitted infections have increased. While it is unclear whether the two are related, it has been suggested that dating apps are making it easier for people to hook up. This qualitative research will explore young people's use of online dating apps and their sexual behaviours

  • Looking beyond the average- geographical variation in health seeking behaviour in India

    Supervisors:  Dr John Tayu Lee, Professor Barbara McPake

    Project Site:  Nossal Institute for Global Health

    Project Description:

    This study aims to uderstand the degree to which health-seeking behaviour varies across states in India. We will evaluate determinants (key drivers) of healthcare utilisation and OOPE and understand how much variations in health seeking behavioural in India can be explained by individual/household/district/state/region level using nationally representative sample.

  • Trends and disparities in health system performance between urban and rural areas in India

    Supervisors:  Dr John Tayu Lee, Professor Barbara McPake

    Project Site:  Nossal Institute for Global Health

    Project Description:

    The study will utilise two waves of a large nationally representative survey to assess trends and disparities in health system performance between urban and rural areas in India from 2009-2015.

  • Economic burden of multimorbidity in Australia

    Supervisors:  Dr John Tayu Lee, Professor Barbara McPake

    Project Site:  Nossal Institute for Global Health

    Project Description:

    The aim of this project is to investigate the prevalence of multimorbidity and its economic implications in Australia using a large nationally representative survey.

  • Clinicians' views about implementing assisted dying laws in Victoria

    Supervisors:  Dr Rosalind McDougall, Dr Bridget Pratt

    Project Site:  Centre for Health Equity, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    From 19 June 2019, Victorians at the end of life who meet strict eligibility criteria will be able to request access to voluntary assisted dying (VAD).  Patients can request physicians to either prescribe a lethal substance for them to ingest, or in limited circumstances, ask physicians to administer a lethal injection.  This legislative change creates substantial new ethical complexity in clinical practice.  This project investigates clinicians’ views about the implementation of VAD in their hospital.  The project involves qualitative analysis of existing data from an online survey of clinicians at one Victorian hospital.  The questions cover clinicians’ willingness to participate in VAD and their reasoning, their views about potential barriers and facilitators to high quality care in this context, and perceived supports necessary to good practice.   This project is part of a larger study that will deliver recommendations to hospital leadership based on clinicians’ insights about care provision in this new context.  The findings will also be of use to hospitals in other jurisdictions where VAD is being considered.

  • Do Australian women want to know about their personal risk of breast cancer based on their genetic profile, family history and lifestyle factors? If so, From whom? How? and when?

    Supervisor:  Associate Professor Louise Keogh

    Project Site:  Centre for Health Equity, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    The trend in cancer prevention research is towards tailored or precision prevention, whereby women are told their individual risk of breast cancer, and tailored prevetion strategies recommended. While there is progress in the way of trials being made in the UK and the US, in Australia evidence is currently being gathered  to determine the feasibility and accceptbility of this approach. This study would involve a review of the published and grey literature to determine the current state of knowledge on women's perceptions and views of this approach to cancer prevention. If women are interested, what evidence is there about from whom? how? and when they would like this information.

  • Child Trauma and Recovery in the Public Domain

    Supervisor:  Associate Professor Eva Alisic

    Project Site:  Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, Centre for Health Equity, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    This study will enquire how youth express experiences related to traumatic events in the public domain. It will explore one or more public spaces or places (online and/or offline) where young people share their views (verbally, visually or in other forms) and collect & interpret these data. The analyses will involve a thematic categorization and interpretation. Quantitative analyses may be part of the project if the data allow.

  • Translation of Child Trauma Research into Policy and Practice

    Supervisor:  Associate Professor Eva Alisic

    Project Site:  Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, Centre for Health Equity, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    This study will explore how child trauma research findings are being translated into policy and practice. It will involve developing a theoretical framework for understanding translation, followed by data collection including document analysis and interviews with researchers, policy makers and practitioners. The aim of the project is to develop insight the current uptake of child trauma & recovery research, and develop recommendations for better translation of research into practice in the future.

  • Open Science & Child Trauma Research

    Supervisor:  Associate Professor Eva Alisic

    Project Site:  Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, Centre for Health Equity, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    This study will provide an overview and analysis of national/international child trauma and mental health datasets that are made available for secondary data-analysis (e.g. NDACAN). The project will involve an in-depth exploration and description of existing datasets, the development of a research question that can be answered by at least two separate datasets, and the analysis that is needed to answer the research question. The project will make a contribution to (the understanding of the utility of) Open child trauma research.

  • Making Child Trauma Research More Participatory

    Supervisor:  Associate Professor Eva Alisic

    Project Site:  Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, Centre for Health Equity, MSPGH

    Project Description:

    This project aims to help strengthen the voice and influence of children and young people in research that affects them, in particular with regard to trauma exposure and recovery. The study will involve a systematic analysis of various levels of child participation in the design and conduct of studies on child traumatic stress and recovery, as well as (mostly qualitative) data collection with stakeholders regarding how child trauma research can be more participatory in the future.

  • Indoor air quality and cardio-metabolic and chronic respiratory diseases in Sri Lankan communities

    Supervisors:  Dr Gayan  Bowatte, Prof Shyamali Dharmage, Prof Jane Heyworth, Professor Samath Dharmaratne

    Project Site:  National Institute of Fundamental Studies; and University of Peradeniya,  Kandy, Sri Lanka

    Project Description:

    "Sri Lanka is a lower middle-income country, located in the Indian ocean on the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. It has a free and universal health care system. Compared to neighbouring countries in the region, Sri Lanka ranks high in healthcare, having a high life expectancy and a lower maternal and infant death rate. This is strongly attributed to high female literacy rates. Interestingly, some health indices like infant death rates are closer to developed countries than to developing countries.
    In Sri Lanka the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is increasing alarmingly, around 70% of the disease burden in Sri Lanka is due to NCDs. Change in life style and environmental factors may play an important role in this emerging high prevalence of NCDs but little epidemiological evidence is currently available on their contribution. The aim of the current project is to evaluate indoor environment and lifestyle factors contributing to cardio-metabolic and chronic respiratory diseases in Sri Lankan communities. Students are expected to carry out field work as a group but write individual dissertations and publish their findings upon completion of the project."

    Three  scholarships ($7000 each) are available to cover travel and living in Sri Lanka for 3-months. These scholarships are funded by the Australian Federal Government under New Colombo Plan mobility program. Please see further details on the website:  https://dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/new-colombo-plan/scholarship-program/Pages/scholarship-program-guidelines-2019.aspx

How To Apply

  1. More information about the program and available research projects can be obtained:
    • At the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Honours Expo and individual information sessions held by Departments and Institutes;
    • From the list of departmental research projects;
    • From individual supervisors.
  2. You need to identify a potential project and supervisor from the research project list. Read the project description and any recommended publications to ensure that it is the correct choice for you, and then contact the Supervisor.
  3. Apply online.