The 2019 Winner is Dr Nicholas Fancourt, a paediatrician with degrees in medicine and bioethics, whose PhD in Health Systems was achieved while an International Fulbright Science and Technology Fellow at Johns Hopkins University.

In Timor-Leste, 722 kilometres from Darwin, child malnutrition is among the highest in the world. Dr Fancourt leads a team that aims to improve outcomes for children hospitalised not only for malnutrition, but also for pneumonia. The research project Pulmao Saudavel (Healthy Lung) is identifying different features of pneumonia between children who are malnourished and those who aren’t. Information gathered on clinical findings, demographics, feeding practices, risk factors and food security will underpin a vaccination program.

The 2019 Harry Christian Giese Research into Action Award will support a Nutrition Worker to lead an education program for 8 months, to better understand the social and cultural drivers of malnutrition, the experience of hospital care and perceived barriers to recovery.

It will fund the design, manufacture and printing of resources such as interactive games, flip charts and toys focused on healthy infant feeding practices, in collaboration with other stakeholders such as UNICEF and World Vision. It will support the cascade of care for malnutrition, from hospital to community-based treatment including follow-up home visits with patients; improved referral documentation; and the encouragement of local leadership.

Menzies already has strong relationships in Timor-Leste, including a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health. Joint work is continuing at Hospital Nacional Guido Valadares (HNGV), the national referral hospital in Dili, as well as community health facilities and the National Health Laboratory. Supporting child malnutrition as a priority will highlight an important area in the national nutrition strategy, to be updated in 2020.

Harry Christian Giese AM MBE (1913-2000) was a community leader and administrator who played a key role in the establishment of the Menzies School of Health Research as the first faculty of the Northern Territory University. He and colleagues brought together as stakeholders the Northern Territory government, the University of Sydney and the Menzies Foundation, to set up the School.

During the late 1970s to the 1990s, Giese served on the Board and National Executive of the Menzies Foundation. This Award recognises his outstanding contribution to the development of health and education in northern Australia.

Past winners of the award are continuing with their work at Menzies.

2018 - Dr Kamala Ley-Thriemer

Dr Ley-Thriemer used her Award to provide easy-to-understand summaries of effective vivax malaria treatment in local languages such as Pashtu, Amharic and Bahasa Indonesia at sites including Ethiopia and Indonesia.

2017 – Dr Renae Kirkham

Dr Kirkham says that the Award, ‘a fantastic initiative’, enabled her to produce short videos sharing experiences of diabetes in pregnancy. These have been used widely by clinics. View the Diabetes in Pregnancy videos here on the resources tab.

2016 – Dr Jaqui Hughes

Associate Professor Hughes has secured a highly-competitive 5-year NHMRC Fellowship giving her time to further her work in advancing kidney health. 

2014 – Dr Matthew Grigg

Dr Grigg was recently awarded a large ACIAR-DFAT grant to expand work on zoonotic malaria into Indonesia: North Sumatra, North Kalimantan and Sabang, Aceh.

2013 – Dr Gabrielle McCallum

Dr McCallum was awarded NHMRC funding for a randomised controlled trial to determine whether months of weekly azithromycin (compared with a placebo) improve clinical outcomes for Indigenous children under 2 years hospitalised with acute lower respiratory infection. The trial is being run in Darwin and 2 sites in New Zealand.