Australia Foundation recognises future leaders in health and medical research

26 April 2018 . Australia

At Bupa, caring for our customers means more than providing exceptional services. We’re committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our customers more widely; working with partners and research institutions within the communities we serve to make positive contributions to wider public health.
Amanda and Bruce with award

In Australia, the Bupa Health Foundation is one of the country's leading private charitable organisations dedicated to health. Since it was established in 2005, the Foundation has invested more than $30 million to support over 100 projects which aim to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians.

Earlier this month, the Foundation awarded Dr Amanda McCullough with the Emerging Health Researcher Award for 2017, an award that recognises the dedication of early career researchers and their valuable contribution to improving health outcomes for all Australians.

The $25,000 award will go towards furthering Dr McCullough's research career, helping to drive her work to stop the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria by reducing antibiotic prescription among general practitioners (GPs).

Antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria can resist being killed by antibiotics – medicines that are used to help the body fight off bacterial infection. When antibiotics are used unnecessarily, we become more vulnerable to bacteria that no longer respond to our medicines.

Annette Schmiede, Executive Leader of the Foundation, recognises antimicrobial resistance as a clear threat to global health, and therefore is delighted with Dr McCullough’s work and the potential positive impact it can have.

She said: “Dr McCullough’s contribution in this area of research could be far reaching, and help us address a global health challenge. Ultimately, finding strategies to overcome antibiotic resistance can save lives – in Australia and around the world.”

As part of her research, Dr McCullough has been reviewing the evidence on why GPs prescribe antibiotics, and how this could be reduced for common conditions such as coughs, colds, flus and ear infections.

The Emerging Health Researcher Award will allow Dr McCullough to expand her work beyond understanding GP prescribing behaviours, to actually changing them.

“To my mind, there is actually no point of doing research if you can’t get it into practice so that it improves health. So, that’s really my driving force, said Dr McCullough.

Annette added: "The Bupa Health Foundation is proud to recognise the work of early career researchers who are not only doing important research, but are also focused on translating the results to ensure improvement in the wellbeing of the community."

In addition to Dr McCullough, five additional outstanding health researchers have been acknowledged as finalists and have been awarded $5,000 to continue their research that is driving changes in health policy and practice in Australia.

Emerging Health Researcher Award 2017 finalists
Bupa Australia Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award 2017 finalists

“We want to keep encouraging our Australian researchers to think big and make breakthroughs that can improve the health of all Australians. Supporting and funding emerging researchers is vital to our research sector and an important focus for the Bupa Health Foundation.” Annette said.