Two La Trobe University academics have been successful recipients of Australia-Indonesia Institute Grants, awarded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The grants were awarded to Dr Dina Afrianty (La Trobe Law School) and Dr Elizabeth Fitriana Sari (Dentistry, La Trobe Rural Health School), with projects aiming to build strong people-to-people and institutional links with Indonesia.
“La Trobe University has strong institutional links with Indonesia, and the field for these grants was competitive,” says Dr Bec Strating, Executive Director of La Trobe Asia. “Dr Afrianty and Dr Fitriana Sari’s grants are well deserved. Their high impact research helps our institutional reputation in Indonesia and align to the university’s research themes. They’re a credit to the university.”
Fostering inclusive approaches to health equity in Indonesia ($32,000 grant towards a $49,000 project)
Dr Dina Afrianty’s project aims to address the serious health inequality in Indonesia, which disproportionately affects women and people with disabilities. The project will involve a training program in May 2022 and is multidisciplinary, collaborating with Associate Provost (International ) Sonia Reisenhofer and Professor Lisa McKenna (Nursing and Midwifery).
“It has been understood for some time that structural inequality reduces the quality of health outcomes for people with a disability,” says Dr Afrianty. “This project will inform students of nursing and midwifery and educators about the rights of people with disabilities to health services, and principles of inclusive health practices.”
Dr Afrianty’s project will be facilitated by the Australia-Indonesia Disability Research and Advocacy Network (AIDRAN), which was founded by Dr Afrianty in 2019. AIDRAN has received support from Knowledge Sector Initiative, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and implemented in partnership with Indonesia's National Development Planning Agency. Her research has also led to a memorandum of understanding between La Trobe University and Universitas Aisyiyah (UNISA).
Virtual Training of Oral Cancer Early Screening for Indonesian Dentist ($40,000 grant)
Dr Elizabeth Fitriana Sari’s project will establish a series of virtual training sessions with oral health experts across Indonesia, specifically dentists who work in rural areas.
“Oral cancer in Indonesia had always been neglected and considered a low-priority case,” says Dr Fitriani Sari. “The sessions will be given to local dentists, especially those who reside in rural provinces of Indonesia, with the aim to increase the knowledge, confidence, and skills of Indonesian dentists in oral cancer early screening..”
The grants were announced by the Hon Marise Payne the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and were amongst 13 successful recipients, the most from any institution.
“These grants will strengthen cooperation between our two countries in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as part of our shared commitment to regional recovery,” said Minister Payne at the grant announcement.