MPH and Honours Thesis Topics

 

 

Topic Dissertation (>=24 units) or Project (<24 units) Supervisor Additional Information
A comparison of univariate and bivariate methods for the meta-analysis of diagnostic studies Either Assoc Prof Suhail Doi
suhail.doi@anu.edu.au
Newer methods of meta-analysis that take account of implicit/explicit threshold differences (bivariate SROC methods) will be compared with the univariate pooling of sensitivity and specificity proportions separately to see if indeed there is any advantage of using these more computationally intensive methods
       
Evaluating the completeness and quality of mortality data recorded by the Indonesian National Tuberculosis Control Program in 2015, in a sample of districts across Indonesia Dissertation Chalapati Rao & Matthew Kelly
chalapati.rao@anu.edu.au
This will be undertaken as a joint activity by two students from ANU. The research will involve fieldwork in Indonesia for 6-8 weeks, in collaboration with staff from local Indonesian universities; followed by data analysis and report preparation at ANU.. Depending on volume of interested candidates, there may be a selection process.
Measuring perinatal mortality through triangulation of data from various sources in selected districts of Indonesia Dissertation Chalapati Rao & Matthew Kelly
chalapati.rao@anu.edu.au
This will be undertaken as a joint activity by two students from ANU. The research will involve fieldwork in Indonesia for 6-8 weeks, in collaboration with staff from local Indonesian universities; followed by data analysis and report preparation at ANU.. Depending on volume of interested candidates, there may be a selection process.
Employment and mental health during the postnatal period Honours Liana Leach
liana.leach@anu.edu.au
The project will examine the association between employment circumstances/expections and mental health, during the first year after having an infant.
An assessment of the experience of international students diagnosed with TB in Australia Either Kerri Viney
kerri.viney@anu.edu.au
In Australia, 88% of our notified TB cases are notified among people born overseas, in many cases in people from countries with a higher background incidence of TB than in Australia. Among these, approximately 150 international students are diagnosed with TB each year. Further research is needed to determine the health seeking experiences of these patients and to determine if interventions through the education sector can encourage these students to seek early treatment.
An assessment of TB patient costs in Solomon Islands Either Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
or
Kerri Viney
kerri.viney@anu.edu.au

A tuberculosis patient cost survey is underway in Solomon Islands.  The survey will provide key information to establish baseline data for the catastrophic costs indicator of the End TB Strategy.  The analysis will involve calculating costs for patients to access TB care and will involve descriptive and analytical methods.  The analysis will be complemented by a policy analysis, asessing what local policies exist to protect patients from excessive out of pocket expenses for health care.  The key partners involved in this project are ANU, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.

An assessment of TB patient costs in Timor Leste Either

Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au

or

Kerri Viney
kerri.viney@anu.edu.au

A tuberculosis patient cost survey is underway in Timor-Leste.  The survey will provide key information to establish baseline data for the catastrophic costs indicator of the End TB Strategy.  The analysis will involve calculating costs for patients to access TB care and will involve descriptive and analytical methods.  The analysis will be complemented by a policy analysis, assessing what local policies exist to protect patients from excessive out of pocket expenses for health care.  The key partners involved in this project are ANU, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.
Preventive therapy for tuberculosis among people with diabetes Either Kerri Viney
kerri.viney@anu.edu.au
People with diabetes have a threefold risk of developing TB. This association is well known and has been documented in many settings. Two studies conducted in Germany and Russia in the 1950-60s appear to show an effect of TB preventive therapy among people with diabetes although the data in these studies are limited. Therefore more evidence is needed on the issue of preventive therapy for TB among people with diabetes including effective regimens, who benefits most and how this could be integrated into health services.
Adolescent time pressure and impact on health and health behaviour Either Lyndall Strazdins
lyndall.strazdins@anu.edu.au
This would use LSAC cohort data and/or  interviews to describe the nature and prevelance of time pressure amongst adolescence,  social patterning, precursors and consequences for health.
Young adults: work, study and wellbeing Either Lyndall Strazdins
lyndall.strazdins@anu.edu.au
This would use LSAC or HILDA cohort data and/or  interviews to consider how the  need to combine studying with paid work is altering young Australian's experience  and outcomes of education, generates health trade offs and for whom. Could consider including some cross national comparisons.
Work intensity and health Either Lyndall Strazdins
lyndall.strazdins@anu.edu.au
We are finding that time pressure and rushing has a pervasive, negative health impact on mental health and health behaviours. This study would explore how this happens using interviews (could be complemented with HILDA or LSAC data)
Non-diabetic hyperglycemia and risk factors for CVD Either Assoc Prof Suhail Doi
suhail.doi@anu.edu.au
Performing the OGTT is considered pivotal for accurate identification of subjects with impaired beta-cell function (and thus prediabetes). We recently proposed a revision of the OGTT cutoff to a lower threshold be considered. This study aims to compare the burden of CVD risk factors between subjects that meet the lower and standard theresholds using the NHANES III dataset.
Views of restaurant chefs about food safety Either Martyn Kirk & Cathy Banwell
martyn.kirk@anu.edu.au
cathy.banwell@anu.edu.au
In this study, the student will conduct focus groups with experienced restaurant chefs in the ACT about their views of food safety and public health messaging. In particular, the study will explore the context of workign in a competitive environment and preparing food safely.
Media messaging about Mr Fluffy Either Martyn Kirk & Cathy Banwell
martyn.kirk@anu.edu.au
cathy.banwell@anu.edu.au
The student will conduct a media analysis of the Mr Fluffy asbestos contamination of households using published data held in libraries and at the ACT Asbestos Response Taskforce. The main aims of this study are to explore how the media reports public risks to safety posed by asbestos and how they are received by the affected population.
The influence of general practice business model on adoption and maintenance of a healthy weight awareness programme in the ACT   Dr Anne Parkinson
anne.parkinson@anu.edu.au
A new program to assist parents to be aware of, and to act on, healthy weight achievement and maintenance for their children; and to assist primary health care staff in general practice and other settings to adequately support this will be rolled out in the ACT over the next 12 months. This element of the program will examine the acceptability, adoption and maintenance of the program in General Practice in the ACT, with a particular assessment of the influence of practice business models on the way the program is adopted and maintained. Methods to be used will be participant observation, interviews with parents and with staff, and record audit. The aim is to evaluate the implementation of the program and its impact.
A framing and discourse analysis of media and policy reports on Australia’s response to the Ebola crisis in 2013 –14. Either

Cathy Banwell & Anna Olsen
cathy.banwell@anu.edu.au

anna.olsen@anu.edu.au

The project involves a student searching for and collating Australian media reports and policy statements on the Ebola outbreak and conducting a frame analysis.
Cost-effectiveness analysis of the WASH for WORMS trial, Timor-Leste. Thesis Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
WASH for WORMS is a cluster-randomised controlled trial to test the hypothesis that a community-based WASH intervention integrated with periodic mass albendazole distribution will be more effective reducing infections with STH and protozoa than mass deworming alone. This project aims to perform a cost effectiveness analysis of each arm of the intervention and will involve a field trip to Timor-Leste to collect costing data.
Zoonotic Ascaris in Timor-Leste Dissertaion/ Thesis Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
 Ascariasis in humans in mainly caused by Ascaris lumbricoides. However, the closely related species Ascaris suum that usually infects pigs  can also infect humans and has been described to do so specially when the human species exists in a low prevalence, and in a  limited extent when A. lumbricoides is endemic. This study aims to evaluate the extent to which zoonotic Ascaris is present in Timor-Leste in the context of a cluster randomized controlled trial that aims to decrease the levels of infection with intestinal parasites (the WASH for WORMS trial). The student is expected to conduct laboratory work (PCR) in Melbourne.
Hotspots of chronic kidney disease in Australian communities Either Dr Nasser Bagheri
Nasser.bagheri@anu.edu.au
This research will use GP practices clinical data to predict Chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk and will investigate spatial pattern of CKD risk and also will its correlation with lifestyle characteristics.
Overweight and obesity in the Australian communities: a geospatial approach to better identification and targeting of diabetes and cardiovascular risk prevention Either Dr Nasser Bagheri
Nasser.bagheri@anu.edu.au
This would use real data (GP practices data) to explore area level (community) patterns of overweight and obesity. Furthermore, it will investigate links between obesity and socio-economic, lifestyle and built environment characteristics.
Clostridium difficile: Assessing the risks to Australia Either Prof. Archie Clements & Mr. Luis Furuya-Kanamori
director.rsph@anu.edu.au
C. difficile ribotype 027 is of great concern, the imminent threat of this organism to Australia’s biosecurity and patient safety creates an imperative to understand the epidemiology of C. difficile and assess the risk of outbreaks of severe C. difficile disease in Australia.
What can we learn about conducting collaborative research from Indigenous Australians? Honours Kathryn Dwan
kathryn.dwan@anu.edu.au 
Research is most likely to influence policy and practice when the collaboration between researchers and end-users moves beyond users merely informing research, to a more equitable power relationship in which researchers and end-users form genuine partnerships. Historically research was done "on" or "to" Indigenous Australians, now such research is predicated on a collaborative approach with Indigenous communities. This study involves a quantitative analysis of APHCRI funded research and explores the differences between research with an indigenous focus and those without.
Risk factors and mortality in the Thai Cohort Study Either Dr Vasoontara Yieng
vasoontara.yieng@anu.edu.au
This research project will use the 8-year longitudinal data from the Thai Cohort Study (n=87151) with socio-demo-geographic information, health background, and risk behaviours. Cohort members and their citizen IDs were linked to the Thai Ministry of Interior (approx 1200 deaths) to investigate causes of death and associated risk factors.
Caregiving among older persons in Asia Either Dr Vasoontara Yieng
vasoontara.yieng@anu.edu.au
This research project will use multi-country data from World Health Organization's Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) with representative samples aged 50+ years in a range of low and middle-income countries, including China and India, to assess the impact of caregiving on the financial, social, and health of older caregivers.
Medications - Patterns of utilisation, Psychoactive drugs, CVD preventative medications Either Prof Emily Banks & Dr Wei Du
wei.du@anu.edu.au
Multiple drugs are used for disease treatment and control in older adults. This topic comprises many projects, such as describing current use of a drug or a therapeutic group of drugs, identifying factors associated with low or high use, and evaluating the effectiveness in treating diseases.
Medications - Patterns of utilisation, Psychoactive drugs, CVD preventative medications Honours Prof Emily Banks & Dr Wei Du
wei.du@anu.edu.au
Prostate cancer and disability Dissertaion Dr Grace Joshy
grace.joshy@anu.edu.au
This study aims to quantify social inclusion, quality of life and workforce participation among cancer survivors.
Health effects of Diabetes Either Dr Grace Joshy & Prof Emily Banks
grace.joshy@anu.edu.au
Diabetes is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, nephropathy, foot ulcers, lower limb amputations, retinopathy and overall mortality. The resulting complications and the lifestyle modifications needed in managing the disease could significantly reduce the quality of life for diabetes patients. People with diabetes have to cope with lifestyle changes and medical treatments in order to reduce their risk of developing complications. Many of those with diabetes face a multitude of barriers to quality diabetes care and self-care, including financial barriers and psycho-social problems.
Factors contributing to psychological distress among people with diabetes Either Dr Grace Joshy
grace.joshy@anu.edu.au
This study aims to identify factors contributing to psychological distress among people with diabetes using large scale survey data.
Diabetes and Mortality Either Dr Grace Joshy & Prof Emily Banks
grace.joshy@anu.edu.au
The purpose of this study is to use linked survey and death data to examine all-cause and cause-specific mortality among people with and without diabetes.
Men's Health - Caregiving over the lifecourse Either Dr Grace Joshy & Prof Emily Banks
grace.joshy@anu.edu.au
Despite its importance, Men’s Health is generally under researched. This project aims to investigate men’s caregiving in later adult life, with potential to explore caregiver health and wellbeing
Men's Health - Urinary and Sexual Health Either Dr Grace Joshy & Prof Emily Banks
grace.joshy@anu.edu.au
This project aims to examine risk and protective factors, and long term outcomes relating to men’s urinary and sexual health, over time.
Services for domestic and sexual violence survivors in complex emergencies Either Dr Kamalini Lokuge
kamalini.lokuge@anu.edu.au
Providing effective and accessible services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence is complex, even more so in resource-poor settings and complex emergencies. This project aims to identify effective interventions in such settings.
Variations in Health Service Use Either Dr Rosemary Korda
rosemary.korda@anu.edu.au
While Australia has universal health care, because of factors such as a mixture of public and private funding, out-of-pocket expenses, gaps in services and variability in availability and application of evidence-based guidelines, there is considerable variation in healthcare.  Our program of work examines variation in use of health services using linked data, with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on socioeconomic inequalities in care.
Variation in hospital readmissions and mortality Either Dr Rosemary Korda
rosemary.korda@anu.edu.au
Hospital readmission is used as hospital performance measures, both nationally and internationally.  In Australia, while some medical conditions, such as heart failure, are known to have high readmission rates, knowledge on the burden of unplanned readmissions is generally limited due to lack of published data. The purpose of this program of work is to examine variation in 30-day unplanned readmissions, using linked hospital and death data. The study will rank conditions according to readmission burden, examine patient- and hospital factors associated with hospital readmission, and quantify variation in readmissions across conditions and hospitals.
BMI and hospital length of stay Either Dr Rosemary Korda
rosemary.korda@anu.edu.au
Excess weight is a risk factor for many chronic diseases and has been linked with increased risk of hospital admissions and higher hospital costs. However, it is not clear whether people who are overweight or obese are staying longer in hospital per admission on average and if so, whether this reflects admissions for more serious conditions and/or longer-than-average stays for given conditions. This study will use cohort survey data linked to hospitalisation records to investigate the relationship between incremental changes in BMI and observed and expected LOS per admission.
Health of Indigenous Children Either

Ms Katie Thurber
katherine.thruber@anu.edu.au

 

There is a significant health gap between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population of Australia. Large-scale data can be used to explore factors related to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, with the aim of providing insight into program and policy development.
The impact of physical functioning impairment and caregiving on social inclusion, quality of life and workforce participation among older Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Either Dr Grace Joshy
grace.joshy@anu.edu.au
Equality in access to social and workforce participation for people with disabilities is a key national priority and gaps between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous population in workforce participation remain a significant concern. Studies of physical disability and workforce participation among older Indigenous people are needed to guide policy. This project will use large scale linked datasets to generate the much needed quantitative evidence on how physical disability, physical functioning limitations and caregiving responsibilities impacts differentially on social and workforce participation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Investigation of the impact of the caloric content of alcohol intake on brain ageing. Dissertation Dr. Erin Walsh
erin.walsh@anu.edu.au
Please contact Dr Walsh for more information.
Application of latent class analysis to longitudinal ageing data to identify individuals at risk of brain atrophy. Dissertation Dr. Erin Walsh
erin.walsh@anu.edu.au
Please contact Dr Walsh for more information.
An examination of the longitudinal changes in sulci morphology associated with ageing. Dissertation Dr. Erin Walsh
erin.walsh@anu.edu.au
Please contact Dr Walsh for more information.
Cardiovascular Disease - Risk Factors, Care, Incidence, Outcome (disability, income, work status) Either

Prof Emily Banks, Dr Cathy Day

cathy.day@anu.edu.au

Unwarranted variation in cardiovascular disease risk factors, incidence, care and outcomes according to gender, socioeconomic status, rurality, Aboriginality and mental health is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality. It is also unacceptable. A series of projects are possible in this area, spanning the spectrum from large scale data analysis to implementation research.
Alcohol and other drug use and domestic and family violence Honours Dr Anna Olsen
anna.olsen@anu.edu.au
A content analysis (qualitative) review of submissions to the Royal Commission into Family Violence to assess for content on alcohol and other drug use. NOTE: available 2017 only
Pharmacists provision of harm reduction service to people who use illicit drugs Honours Dr Anna Olsen
anna.olsen@anu.edu.au
A thematic analysis (qualitative) of interviews with pharmacists about their supply of opioid overdose prevention drugs. NOTE: available 2017 only
Information criteria in survival analysis Dissertation Dr Alice Richardson
alice.richardson@anu.edu.au
Little is known about the distribution of the quasi-information cirterion in survival modelling. A simulation study of its behaviour would be a valuable contribution.
Censoring rates in survival analysis Dissertation Dr Alice Richardson
alice.richardson@anu.edu.au
A simulation study of the effect of different amounts of censoring in survival analysis
New uses of meta-analysis Either Dr Alice Richardson
alice.richardson@anu.edu.au
Meta-anaysis is increasingly being use as a way to extract information from parameter estimates. This project aims to discover the statistical properties of such approaches and compare them to exisitng methods of combining results from multiple studies.
Climate Change and Human Health Dissertation Dr Kathryn Bowen
kathryn.bowen@anu.edu.au

(1) Quantifying the health impacts of green infrastructure.
 

(2) Supporting the development of health plans to respond to climate change in less developed countries in the Asia Pacific region (potential for a short stint of field work in a selected least developed country)

Environmental Enteropathy in Timor-Leste Either Dr Susana Vaz Nery 
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
 
Environmental enteropathy (EE) is a subclinical condition caused by ingestion of faecal bacteria (in contaminated food and water) and the subsequent intestinal inflammation and enteric infection. These processes impair absorptive and barrier functions of the small intestine mucosa lining, causing growth to falter. Poor WASH has been associated with negative effects on child growth and development. It has recently been suggested that poor sanitation and hygiene cause stunting not only through diarrhoea, but also through the subclinical condition EE. In this sub-study we will conduct a cross-sectional assessment of EE status of approximately 500 children aged between 1 and 5 years of age, who were enrolled in a trial assessing the impact of community WASH and albendazole distribution on infections with intestinal worms.  
Assessment of the efficacy of Albendazole for the treatment of soil transmitted helminths in Timor-Leste Either Dr Susana Vaz Nery 
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
Albendazole (ALB) has been widely used in large-scale deworming programs to control infections with soil-transmitted helminths (STH). The scale up of chemotherapy programs will lead to increasing drug pressure on parasite populations, which will favour parasite genotypes that can resist anthelmintic drugs. Therefore it is imperative that monitoring programs are introduced, in order to detect any changes in therapeutic efficacy that may arise from the selection of worms carrying genes responsible for drug resistance.  The aim of this study is to assess the anthelmintic efficacy of albendazole in communities in East Timor, prior to the implementation of a RCT that involved community deworming over a period of 2 years. 
Use of Bayseain networks to identify risk factors associated with worm infections  Either

Dr Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au

Dr Colleen Lau
colleen.lau@anu.edu.au

Data on the prevalence of soil transmitted helminths (STH) and risk factors for infection (sanitation, water, hygiene) have been collected during the WASH for WORMS study, a randomized controlled trial investigating the impact of an integrated WASH and deworming intervention on STH infection in Timor-Leste. Surprisingly, analysis of the baseline data using regression models has identified few associations between STH infection and WASH variables. On the other hand, a spatial analysis has identified several environmental factors that are associated with increased risk of STH infection. The use of Bayesian networks (BN) in infectious diseases epidemiology has so far been limited, but could potentially provide a powerful analytical method for identify risk factors and understanding causal relationships, especially for diseases with multiple and/or complex transmission dynamics. The aim of this project is to use BN to further explore the WASH for WORMS data, together with available environmental data, to further understand transmission pathways for STH infections in Timor-Leste. 

Use of recursive conditioning approaches to identify risk factors associated with worm infections  Either Dr Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
Data on the prevalence of soil transmitted helminths (STH) and risk factors for infection (sanitation, water, hygiene) have been collected during the WASH for WORMS study, a randomized controlled trial investigating the impact of an integrated WASH and deworming intervention on STH infection in Timor-Leste. Surprisingly, analysis of the baseline data using regression models has identified few associations between STH infection and WASH variables.  Surprisingly,  analysis of the baseline data using regression models has identified few associations with WASH variables.  Recursive partitioning approaches (classification and regression trees (C&RT) and conditional inference trees (CIT)) are alternative statistical methods that can be used to explore complex interactions between WASH variables and identify the ones most likely to be associated STH infection. The aim of this project is to use the data collected during the WASH for WORMS RCT  in order to futher identify risk factors associated with worm infections. 
Investigation of household clustering of  soil-transmitted infections in Timor-Leste  Either Dr Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
In the context of a RCT assessing the impact of an integrated WASH and deworming intervention on soil-transmitted helminth infections, conducted in 24 communities in rural Timor-Leste, 5 rounds of deworming with albendazole took place, and a parasitological and risk factor assessment was done at the same time.  Household clustering,  has been described in different settings and needs to be considered for the successful implementation of disease control efforts. The aim of this project is to describe the extent to which household context is present in the communities participating in the study and identify risk factors that may explain identify factors associated with predisposition to STH infection. 
A review of global efforts to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF)  and control soil-transmitted helminths (STH) Either Dr Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) and soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are 2 of the neglected diseases where preventive chemotherapy is the main strategy to achieve either elimination (in the case of LF) or control (for STH). In many countries these diseases are co-endemic and therefore LF elimination programs also contribute to STH control given that albendazole, that is used in LF programs is also one of the main drugs used for STH control. For LF, yearly large-scale community treatment programs for at least 5 years can interrup transmission and more than 10 countries have reached levels level enough that they can stop those programs. THe aim of this project is review the policies in place for STH control in countires that are currently undergoing or have recently finished mas drug administration programs for LF. The information gethered will be part of a policy analysis investigating the potential barriers associated with maininging community deworming programs for STH control once LF elimination is reached. 
Hookworm infections and anaemia: a literature review accounting for malaria endemicity  Either Dr Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
Infection with soil-transmitted helminths (STH) is thought to result in several impairing morbidities including iron-deficiency anaemia, particularly in the case of hookworm. However, while there are systematic reviews and experimental studies supporting this association, other studies failed to demonstrate this correlation.  The difference in finding may be due to the existence of confounding factors, including malaria, which is a well-accepted cause of iron-deficiency anaemia. The aim of this project is to summarize the association between hookworm infection and anaemia in malaria endemic vs non-endemic regions. 
Uptake and sustainability of sanitation interventions in Timor-Leste: a mixed-methods case study Either Dr Susana Vaz Nery
susana.nery@anu.edu.au
Dr Naomi Clarke
 
Inadequate sanitation is a significant risk factor for diarrhoeal disease and enteric infections, and is predicted to cause 280,000 deaths globally per year. Achieving sustainable sanitation changes at household level is a particularly difficult undertaking, with increasing understanding of the complexity, time, resources and effort required to achieve the global targets. This case study aims to synthesise and analyse outcomes of sanitation interventions across Timor-Leste, in terms of both uptake and sustainability, using a mixed-methods approach. Specific aims are: 1. Describe approaches to improved sanitation that are currently being implemented in Timor-Leste; 2. Examine the uptake and sustainability of sanitation interventions in Timor-Leste; and 3. Explore the opinions of WASH managers and field staff in Timor-Leste regarding different strategies to achieve improved sanitation, and perceived barriers and facilitators to uptake and sustainability of sanitation interventions. 

Updated:  24 April 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Executive Support Officer