Industry to benefit from Phd students

Mildura organisations will benefit from La Trobe's Industry PhD program

Local industry are set to benefit from La Trobe University’s Industry PhD program, with Sunraysia Community Health Services being the first organisation in the Mildura area to sign up.

La Trobe University and Sunraysia Community Health Services are collaborating to award a doctoral scholarship to a PhD candidate.   The candidate will undertake research to contribute to the development of an improved care model for patients suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD).

Simone Heald, CEO of Sunraysia Community Health Services says the rate of avoidable deaths in Mildura from COPD was higher compared to the state average.

“With this research project, we’re looking to identify a new way we can expand support for patients suffering from COPD and CVD.  Local statistics indicate to us that a large number of patients suffering from both diseases could prevent a hospital admission, if they had access to a community based service.

“La Trobe’s Industry PhD program is the perfect initiative for us to get access to a researcher on-site and investigate how this new care model may improve care for these patients. Our patients say they actually do not want to be hospitalised.  This research project will assist the health sector in hearing the voice of our community and facilitating their wishes by caring for them at home.” Ms Heald said.

Dr Evelien Spelten, La Trobe University’s Regional Research Coordinator in Mildura, supervises PhD and Master students and is involved with an array of research projects happening in the region. Having moved to Mildura from Amsterdam four years ago, Dr Spelten has a passion for increasing research opportunities regionally and says the program has the potential to build research capacity within the local industry.

“The program benefits both the PhD student and the industry partner, and is applicable to a wide range of the private sector, government and not for profit organisations.” Dr Spelten says, “I see a lot of potential for the program in Mildura, as many organisations have projects that require research, but they don’t know where to start. The Industry PhD scholarship is co-funded by La Trobe and the industry partner.  We work closely with industry partners to plan the project stages and deliverables.”

Dr Spelten says La Trobe University is looking for a candidate with an honours degree in a health related discipline, such as public health, allied health, health sciences or psychology.