News & Events
Kids hit hard by junk food advertising
Congratulations to Associate Professor Lisa Smithers, Dr Dandara Haag and Prof John Lynch from the BetterStart team, together with Benjamin Agnew from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University, and Matthew Sorell from the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol in the UK, who have had their paper entitled Food advertising on Australian television: Frequency, duration and monthly pattern of advertising from a commercial network (four channels) for the entire 2016 published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. The paper generated a considerable amount of media interest, including a radio interview with Lisa on the topic.
Please visit The University of Adelaide news item for more information.
Tuesday, 17 April 2018
Welcome to our new students ...
We would like to give a warm welcome to our new students: Dr Greer Humphrey (Master of Biostatistics); Ms Laura Gough, Ms Shae Pryke and Ms Kelsey Clifton (Master of Public Health); and Dr Razlyn Rahim (PhD), who have all recently joined the BetterStart group to undertake research with us as part of their degrees.
Please visit our 'People' pages to learn more about our new students, including their backgrounds and projects.
Tuesday, 27 March 2018
Congratulations to our students on being conferred
Our congratulations go to our BetterStart staff, Dr Dandara Haag, Dr Helena Schuch and Dr Janet Grant, on being conferred for the award of Doctor of Philosophy in March 2018. We look forward to celebrating with them when they graduate in September!
Friday, 9 March 2018
Congratulations to Dr Murthy Mittinty ...
Our congratulations go to Dr Murthy Mittinty, who has has been awarded the prestigious 2018 Endeavour Executive Fellowship. He has won one of only 17 fellowships awarded in Australia and will undertake biostatistical research in causal inference at the Department of Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, University of Gent, Belgium, from March through August 2018.
Tuesday, 7 November 2017
Congratulations to our students who have submitted their theses
We extend warm congratulations to our PhD students all of whom recently submitted their thesis for examination: Dandara Haag, Helena Schuch and Janet Grant. We wish you all the very best as we wait to hear the outcome...
... and welcome to our new students
Ms Amanda Reyes-Veliz (3rd year undergraduate) and Mr Yi Wang (MPH student) have recently joined the BetterStart group to undertake research with us as part of their degrees. We also welcome PhD students Anna Roesler, Pedro Ribiero Santiago and Davi Manzini Macedo as part of the extended BetterStart group.
Check out our 'People' pages to learn more about our amazing students, their backgrounds and their projects.
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
We're hosting a visit by Professor Aluisio Barros
For the next 5 weeks, the BetterStart group are hosting a visit from Professor Aluisio Barros, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brasil. On Friday 1st September at 12:30 pm, Professor Barros will be presentating his work on health inequalities at the University of Adelaide's AHMS Building Room 3066.
Monday, 28 August 2017
Finalists in SA Science Excellence Awards
The BetterStart Research group have made it to the finals of the SA Science Excellence Awards!!
Watch a video describing the linked data work we are doing in partnership with government, which aims to support families and children.
Friday, 11 August 2017
Congratulations Dr Amelia Maika
Our former PhD student Amelia Maika has been awarded a Doctor of Philosophy with a Dean's commendation! Her thesis was titled 'Effects of inequality, family investment and early childhood intervention on child cognitive and socio-emotional wellbeing in Indonesia'.
Friday, 22 July 2016
BMI and children's development at entry to school
Our visiting fellow, Dr Anna Pearce (who has returned to UCL), led research to examine links between children's BMI and their development when they started school. This work was recently published in a special issue of Early Childhood Research Quarterly and was picked up by our local newspaper, The Advertiser.
Monday, 30 November 2015
The EMPOWER: Health Systems, Adversity and Child Well Being Centre of Research Excellence awarded $2.49 million from the Federal Government in the recent NHMRC grant round
The EMPOWER CRE will focus on early life prevention of problems that disrupt optimal trajectories of child health and development. Poor child health and development impacts on society as a whole, ultimately affecting labour market success and the broader economy. The CRE deploys four research platforms to improve the lives of disadvantaged children. Platform 1 is the core of the CRE and it is where the team will conduct rigorous evaluations of interventions embedded within the antenatal, postnatal and community-based health system to provide clinicians and practitioners with more tools to reduce the burdens of early life adversity on child health and development. These pragmatic RCTs will be supported by complementary research platforms around data linkage, cohort analysis and causal inference methodology.
The CRE is a unique interdisciplinary collaboration among leaders in the antenatal and postnatal health system, public health, epidemiology, maternal, child and adolescent mental health, obstetrics and gynaecology, placental physiology, primary care, economics and biostatistics. The EMPOWER CRE is a collaboration of the BetterStart Research Group at the Adelaide School of Public Health and the Robinson Research Institute.
Congratulations to lead Chief Investigator Prof John Lynch, and all other Investigators: Prof Michael Sawyer, Prof Ben Mol, Prof Claire Roberts, Prof Gus Dekker, Prof Nigel Stocks, Dr Stefanie Schurer, A/Prof Lyle Gurrin, Adjunct A/Prof Naomi Dwyer (CE of SA WCHN), Kerrie Bowering (Director SA CaFHS), Deb Jeffs (Clinical Director, SA CaFHS), Lynda Dandie (Health Information & Decision Support, SA WCHN), Dr Oliver Frank, Dr Murthy Mittinty, Prof Catherine Law, Prof Deborah Cobb-Clark, A/Prof Lisa Smithers, Dr Cathy Chittleborough.
Monday, 9 November 2015
Professor John Lynch inducted into the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences
Congratulations to Prof John Lynch for his induction as a Fellow into the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences at the inaugural Scientific Meeting, held in Canberra, alongside seven other academics from the Faculty of Health Sciences. Prof Ian Frazer, President of the Academy, welcomed the new Fellows and said that their election was evidence of their international standing and contribution to health and medical science through research, leadership and service. The Academy provides an impartial and authoritative voice for healthcare, informed by the best available evidence and expert advice from the best and brightest in health and medical research.
Monday, 19 October 2015
Access to high quality child-care closes the gap for disadvantaged children: an opinion piece
Dr Angela Gialamas and Professor John Lynch were invited to write an opinion piece for the Early Learning Review based on a study led by Dr Gialamas and published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The piece discusses the benefits of high quality child care, and that it could be used as one way to reduce inequalities in outcomes for disadvantaged children.
Thursday, 1 October 2015
BetterStart research presented at the 2015 Population Health Congress
Drs Alyssa Sawyer and Angela Gialamas recently gave oral presentations at the Population Health Congress held in Hobart, Tasmania. Dr Sawyer presented two papers, one looking at early self-regulation and later behavioural problems in children and another looking at who receives postnatal health checks when service provision changes to become universal. Dr Gialamas presented work on the identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in linked data held by different government departments. This work involved collaboration between the BetterStart team and the Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.
Monday, 7 September 2015
Advanced Epidemiology: A short course taught by Prof John Lynch and Prof Tony Blakely
Professors Lynch and Blakely team up once a year to teach a 4-day course in advanced epidemiology covering topics such as directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) for causal inference, systematic error, quantitative bias analysis, effect measure modification and interaction, and many other contemporary epidemiological methods. This year the course was delivered as a pre-conference workshop to the Population Health Congress in Hobart. Past attendees have commented on how useful this course was, “This was by far the most useful short course I have ever done. It was an excellent summary of epidemiological advances. I would recommend it to anyone working in, or studying, epidemiology at a moderate to advanced level.”
Look out for this course in 2016! It will be held alongside the Australasian Epidemiological Association conference in Canberra.
Thursday, 3 September 2015
Welcome to our new PhD Students
Veronica Smyth has recently commenced a PhD with the BetterStart group. Her project aims to understand the mechanisms linking early socioeconomic disadvantage to language development and later academic achievement. Veronica will look at the effect of parent's use of language during infancy on children's language abilities when they start school, and whether this effect differs by socioeconomic disadvantage.
Megan Rebuli has moved from working on the Baby Teeth Talk (BTT) study to making this study the focus of her PhD. Megan’s project involves follow-up of the BTT trial, which aims to reduce health inequalities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Her project will assess the nutritional intake, dietary patterns, and health and social outcomes of the children in the study.
Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Healthy Development Adelaide Thematic Evening on 'The Preschool Years'
Angela Gialamas presented on the importance of high quality child care for low income children at the HDA thematic evening on 'The Preschool Years', to an audience of over 150 attendees. Angela's presentation "High quality child care: reducing school readiness gaps for children from socioeconomically disadvantaged families" is available on the HDA website.
Wednesday, 29 April 2015
BetterStart Postdoc on NHMRC Honour Role for External Assessment
Every year the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia ask for the research community to undertake peer review of grant applications. The review panel spokespersons nominate an assessor whose review was of particularly high quality and of significant benefit to the deliberations of the panel. BetterStart researcher, Dr Alyssa Sawyer, appeared on the NHMRC list of reviewers who made an outstanding contribution.
Friday, 10 April 2015
Recent PhD graduate, Angela Gialamas, presented a poster at the Society for Research in Child Development in Philidelphia USA. Ang reported it was a huge and inspiring meeting.
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
John Lynch visited collaborators at the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil. This resulted in some exciting research collaborations and co-supervision of two PhD students who will hopefully be visiting Adelaide in the next year or two.
Monday, 23 March 2015
John Lynch visited collaborators at the Institute for Child Health in London. This resulted in a joint workshop to be held in July 2015 in London around causal mediation analysis in child health and development.
Friday, 20 March 2015
School Results Are Boosted by Improved Focus in Class
"School Girl", by Elinor age 5
Dr Alyssa Sawyer, from the BetterStart group, led a study looking at the association between children's development and self-regulation in the preschool years and children's academic achievement in the first years of school. Alyssa also helped with the translation of this research for teachers and educationalists working with young children, by writing pieces for the Centre for Education Research and Practice and the Curriculum & Leadership Journal.
Early Intervention Could Boost Children's Education
Dr Cathy Chittleborough has cleverly modelled different interventions and shown how early interventions could enhance children's academic outcomes. This work was published in the journal Child Development, which is arguably the leading journal in this field. Well done Cathy! This research was reported across the globe including at Kinderopvangtotaal (The Netherlands), UK Ed Chat (The UK), and Adelaide Now.
Time Spent in Childcare Centres Linked with Poor Behaviour
Our up-and-coming media star and PhD student Angela Gialamas has again garnered the interest of the media for her newly published study showing how the time spent in childcare is linked to behaviour of children. The highly topical nature of this work is shown by the numerous reports across different media in Australia (The Australian, NT News, Newsmaker, Gold Coast News, Adelaide Now) and overseas (The Daily Mail, UK; USA News), and by various institutions and websites (Growing Up in Australia, Kidspot, Nursery World, Counsel&Heal).
Quality Childcare Leads to Benefits at School Age
PhD candidate, Ms Angela Gialamas, reported how higher quality in childcare may lead to long-term improvements in academic outcomes for children at middle-primary school. This research was reported in the Journal of Pediatrics and picked up by the following media outlets; Adelaide Now, Campus Review, the Australian Institute of Family Studies website, Our Million Opportunities, radio 2ser, and MDLinx.
How Accurate is Child Mental Health Screening at 4 Years?
Dr Alyssa Sawyer, from the BetterStart group, led a study looking at the potential accuracy of screening young children for mental health problems in response to the debate about whether the Healthy Kids Check should screen children for mental health problems. The study was reported in outlets including the Medical Observer and the Australian Doctor.
Alyssa also helped with the translation of this research co-authoring a piece for The Conversation.
IQ Linked to Baby's Weight Gain in First Month
BetterStart research led by Dr Lisa Smithers, showed that infant's growth in the first month of life was linked to their later IQ.
Children's Healthy Diets Lead to Healthier IQ
Dr Lisa Smithers, from the BetterStart group, led a study looking at links between the dietary patterns of toddlers and their IQ at 8 years of age.
Policy Shift Needed to Improve Outcomes for Mothers and Children
Dr Cathy Chilttleborough and colleagues showed how policy changes are needed to support teenage mums and their babies. This research was cited in various local and international outlets including Adelaide Now, MD News, Essential Baby website, Bristol 247 and Nursery World (UK).