Congratulations to our HDA Publication Award winners for 2022

This award recognises and promotes research publications of our PhD students, early career researcher (ECR) and mid career researcher (MCR) members. Each awardee receives $500 for their winning publication.

MCR category – Dr Jacqueline Gould, SAHMRI Women and Kids

Neonatal Docosahexaenoic Acid in Preterm Infants and Intelligence at 5 Years

Jacqueline F. Gould, Maria Makrides, Robert A. Gibson, Thomas R. Sullivan, Andrew J. McPhee, Peter J. Anderson, Karen P. Best, Mary Sharp, Jeanie L.Y. Cheong, Gillian F. Opie, Javeed Travadi, Jana M. Bednarz, Peter G. Davis, Karen Simmer, Lex W. Doyle, Carmel T. Collins

New England Journal of Medicine.

Preterm children are more likely to have lower IQ scores and cognitive impairments compared with term-born children, and there have been no improvements in the IQ scores of preterm children over the last 30 years. We showed that supplying the amount of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) very preterm babies would get if they remained in the womb results in these children having an IQ that is 3.5 points higher at 5 years of age compared with standard feeding practices. This discovery is one intervention that can help restore their cognition. The NEJM recognised the potential impact of these findings and created a 2 min Quick Take video, Slides, and Research Summary to highlight the results. The publication attracted global attention across >80 media outlets and is in the top 5% of research outputs scored by Altmetric (score >500).


ECR category – Dr Bing Wang, past HDA Scholar, Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit (VIRTU), Women's and Children's Hospital / Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide

Effectiveness and impact of the 4CMenB vaccine against invasive serogroup B meningococcal disease and gonorrhoea in an infant, child, and adolescent programme: an observational cohort and case-control study

Bing Wang, Lynne Giles, Prabha Andraweera, Mark McMillan, Sara Almond, Rebecca Beazley, Janine Mitchell, Noel Lally, Michele Ahoure, Emma Denehy, Ann Koehler, Louise Flood, Helen Marshall

The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

This publication presents the evaluation results of the first in the world, meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine program in South Australia for infants and adolescents. Based on our results, the Health Minister made the decision to fund the program indefinitely and the Czech Republic has since introduced a MenB vaccine program for adolescents and infants. This article received significant media interest and has an Altmetric score in the 99th percentile of outputs of the same age. As this is the first ongoing program for adolescents, we were able to demonstrate moderate vaccine effectiveness against gonorrhoea, through cross-protection. This was the first study in the world to assess vaccine effectiveness against MenB disease and gonorrhoea at the same time.


PhD category – Susan Smith (joint winner), past HDA Scholar, College of Nursing and Health Science, Flinders University

Weighing up the risks - Vaccine decision-making in pregnancy and parenting

Susan E. Smith, Nina Sivertsen, Lauren Lines, Anita De Bellis

Women Birth. 

Immunisation plays a major part in protecting pregnant women and young children against disease. However vaccine refusal persists and has become more evident since the global pandemic. This paper investigated the influences on vaccine decision-making amongst parents and pregnant women and was conducted under global pandemic conditions. The results of this study have extended understanding of what it is like to be vaccine hesitant, thereby adding to the significance of the results. Findings from this study confirmed that healthcare professionals are a trusted source of information with a vital and timely role to play in educating parents and pregnant women about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. This paper is a high-quality original paper recognised by acceptance in Women and Birth, a respected peer-reviewed journal with an impact factor of 3.349.

PhD category – Alexandra Procter (joint winner), School of Public Health, University of Adelaide

The hospital burden associated with intergenerational contact with the welfare system in Australia

Alexandra M. Procter, Catherine R. Chittleborough, Rhiannon M. Pilkington, Odette Pearson, Alicia Montgomerie, John W. Lynch

JAMA Network Open.

This was the first Australian study to use Commonwealth Centrelink data linked to jurisdictional data. It established that 35% of young people aged 16-20 years in South Australia experienced means-tested welfare contact in both their parents’ and their own generation. These individuals with intergenerational welfare contact accounted for over half of all hospital admissions from ages 11 to 20 years. The paper provided the policy-relevant hospital burden estimate if this cycle of disadvantage could be broken. The study included careful consideration of Indigenous data sovereignty. It was published in JAMA Network Open, ranked #32 of 826 (96th percentile) in General Medicine journals, with a November 2022 CiteScore of 14.1.

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