Young Tall Poppy honour for Institute researchers

Two Institute for Health Transformation researchers will inspire a passion for science in a new generation after being named among the Australian Institute of Policy and Science Young Tall Poppies for 2020.

Written by Judy Baulch and Maddie Brake

Associate Professor Gary Sacks and Dr Anna Ugalde will share their research into obesity prevention and cancer supportive care with school students, teachers and communities across Australia after receiving their awards in a COVID-19 era online ceremony this week.

The Tall Poppy Campaign was created in 1998 by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) to celebrate Australian intellectual and scientific excellence and encourage young Australians to follow in the footsteps of scientific leaders.

The campaign recognises the achievements of Australian scientists through the prestigious annual Young Tall Poppy Science Awards and engages the winners in activities to promote interest in science among school students and teachers, as well as an understanding and appreciation of science in the broader community.

“This is an outstanding achievement for Gary and Anna and highlights the excellent work of the Institute’s early to mid-career researchers. Communicating our work to people of all walks of life is a vital part of being a researcher, and Gary and Anna both excel in this area. It’s so important for the next generation of scientists to have such fine examples to inspire them on their own road to research,” said the Institute’s Director, Professor Anna Peeters.

Associate Professor Sacks is a Heart Foundation Future Leader and Associate Director of the Global Obesity Centre (GLOBE). His research aims to support governments and food company leaders to change their policies and practise to improve population diets and prevent obesity.

“Unhealthy diets and obesity are major public health issues in Australia. This award recognises that Deakin’s research is designed to directly inform policy change, including extensive engagement with policy makers to help support their decision-making in this important area of population health,” Associate Professor Sacks said.

Dr Ugalde is a Senior Research fellow in the Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research (QPS) and Deakin’s School of Nursing and Midwifery. Her research interests include psycho-oncology, with a focus on support for patients and caregivers affected by cancer and implementation science. Dr Ugalde is a current Victorian Cancer Agency Early Career Health Services Fellow, for a project embedding smoking cessation support across Victorian health services.

“I work with and enjoy communicating research to a variety of audiences; so, to be acknowledged with a Young Tall Poppy Science Award that reflects both science and communication is a wonderful recognition and comes with a lot of thanks to the collaborators who support this work,” she said.

Dr Katherine Livingstone, Joint Domain Coordinator for Deakin’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition’s (IPAN) Food, Nutrition and Health Research Domain, was also named a 2020 Young Tall Poppy 2020. Dr Livingstone’s research aims to develop personalised nutrition approaches to improve population diets and health. Find out more about Katherine’s research.