Welcome to 2021’s newest mentees

We are delighted to welcome nine new mentees onto our Mentorship Program, after 2020 saw us receive a record number of applications in the five-year history of the program.

The Mentorship Committee was extremely impressed by the calibre of the applications, their research records and leadership positions and is pleased to announce the new mentees, who commenced the program in February 2021.

These rising research stars were competitively selected, will be actively mentored by an Academy Fellow while in the three-year program and will benefit from receiving additional training, support and networking opportunities. They become Associate Members of the Academy during this period, contributing to our work, including our policy projects, events and programs.

They join 21 existing mentees, bringing the current total to 30. 59 individuals have now been accepted since the program began in 2015.

Introducing our newest mentees

Professor Phil Batterham is a Professor at the Centre for Mental Health Research at ANU.  Professor Batterham is an internationally recognised leader in mental health research and is innovative across the areas of mental health assessment, suicide prevention, e-mental health and psychiatric epidemiology.

When asked about his motivation to apply for the Mentorship program Professor Batterham said: “After being promoted to Professor in 2020, I have been eager to learn more from others about fostering a collegial, sustainable and successful research environment. I am excited to work with a senior researcher from a different area of health research, to play my part in building a positive research culture.”

Professor Rebecca Bentley is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne whose primary discipline is social epidemiology, her research focusing on housing and health.  She leads an interdisciplinary Centre funded by the NHMRC and is looking to make policy change and develop capacity in the next generation of researchers in the field of interest.

Professor Bentley is “excited by the opportunity to connect with, and learn from, the big thinkers and leaders in health scholarship in Australia.”

Professor Alison Calear is also Professor at the Centre for Mental Health Research at ANU.  She has always valued and found benefit in having research mentors and has also acted as a mentor to more junior colleagues.

Professor Calear was eager to connect with her mentor and stated “I am looking forward to drawing on the experiences and wisdom of an AAMHS Fellow as I further build my career and learn how to best balance my career with having a young family. I am also excited to make new connections with other mentees and Fellows through the program”.

Associate Professor Leonie Heilbronn is a Senior Research Fellow at The University of Adelaide who has dedicated her career to researching obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.  Her primary discipline is nutritional physiology and metabolism.

Her reason for applying for the program was to “network with Academy fellows, gain skills in how to be a better mentor myself, and for guidance on how I can move from highly regarded scientist to change-maker”

Associate Professor Kim Hemsley is Head, Childhood Dementia Research Group at Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute and Flinders University.  Her research work is dedicated to disease pathogenesis and treatments for rare neurodegenerative diseases.

 She “feels so fortunate to have been given an opportunity to ‘pick the brain’ of one of this country’s most eminent scientists and discover new ideas and strategies for how to grow my career in science and successfully lead a diverse, energetic and happy team of researchers”.

Professor Jeroen Hendriks is a Professor of Cardiovascular Nursing at Flinders University and the Royal Adelaide Hospital and his research work examines integrated care in cardiac arrhythmias and associated conditions.

Professor Hendriks is excited to gain a place on the program, which “provides a wonderful opportunity to learn from, be guided by, and potentially work with eminent Mentors in the program. With my participation in the program it is my aim to enhance my clinical academic career and to strategically expand my recently started professorial role”.

Professor Ainsley Newson is a Professor of Bioethics at The University of Sydney.  With her research focus on genetics, genomics and emerging biotechnologies, she has critically assessed appropriate implementation of genomics and novel reproductive technologies.

She explains her rationale for applying for the program: “When I was a mid-career researcher, I dedicated myself to attaining the outcomes necessary to achieve promotion to Professor; a goal I achieved at the end of 2019. But like many others, as a new Professor I was faced with a sense of ‘now what?’ How can I be a great Professor in my field? I was seeking guidance to hone my leadership skills, cement my international reputation, consolidate my collaborator networks and so on. I also wished to do this while at the same time not ‘pulling the ladder up’ after me to lock out future leaders, nor fall into traps like overwork and burnout. The Mentorship Program could not have come at a better time.”

Associate Professor Donna Urquhart is an Associate Professor, NHMRC Career Development Fellow and physiotherapist at Monash University and her research program concentrates on musculoskeletal pain, particularly low back pain.

Associate Professor Urquhart explained why she wished to be part of this special program and said “The scheme will provide an invaluable opportunity to build capacity in research translation and practice and policy development in the area of low back pain. Given low back pain is the leading cause of disability globally and effective treatments are limited, developing expertise and collaborations in research translation will assist in impacting patient outcomes and reducing the burden of this condition”.

Professor Frank van Haren is an Honorary Professor at ANU and is also an Intensive Care Physician.  His research interest is in respiratory failure, including the type of acute respiratory distress syndrome seen in COVID-19.

He is looking forward to the “Mentorship program providing me with expert support and guidance to further develop my research and academic career. As a (self-made) mid-career clinician researcher, I have mentored many students and early career researchers, but I never had a real opportunity to learn from more experienced peers. Ultimately, this will help me in helping other clinicians who are also trying to develop an academic career and research program on top of their clinical commitments”.

Applications for the next round of the Mentorship Program close on 1 March 2021.  Click here for further information about the program.




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