Burnet Institute Public Health Registrar and PhD candidate Dr Frances Ampt has been awarded an NHMRC postgraduate scholarship to support her research aimed at reducing unintended pregnancies among sex workers in Kenya.
The scholarship, in the public health category for medical graduates, was announced in the latest round of grants totalling $129.4 million covering a diverse range of research disciplines in Australia and internationally.
The scholarship will enable Dr Ampt to work full-time under the supervision of Professor Stanley Luchters and Dr Megan Lim, on her research project which goes by the acronym Whisper, or women’s health intervention using SMS for preventing pregnancy.
“It’s great to be involved in a large trial with international collaborators, working with people in communication and behaviour change, and working with people on the ground in Kenya to find out first-hand what it’s like for women there,” Dr Ampt said.
“While it’s a small, simple intervention, sending text messages, the formative research work we’ve done so far, and the response, has been really positive.
“The women that we’ve trialled it with have found it inspiring and interesting and they’re looking forward to trying it out.”
Dr Ampt said she was delighted to receive the scholarship, which will cover the remainder of her candidature through to mid-2018.
The Federal Minister for Health, Sussan Ley said the NHMRC research grants are essential for the development of more effective medical treatments and key to delivering real health benefits.
NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said the grant recipients would pursue exciting and innovative research for the benefit of human health.
“The mix of both outstanding new talent and experienced and internationally recognised researchers shows the breadth and depth of medical research in Australia,” Professor Kelso said.
For more information on the NHMRC grants, visit the NHMRC website, and to find out more about the Whisper project, click here.