Institute for Health Transformation researcher Dr Miranda Blake has been named the Dietitians Australia 2022 Young Achiever of the Year.

The prestigious award was presented in person at the organisation’s awards ceremony and annual conference dinner in Adelaide on Monday, August 15. The award recognises excellence of practice or leadership in nutrition and dietetics among junior members of the profession.

Dr Blake said she was pleased to have been nominated for the award and honoured to be selected for the top prize.

‘This award recognises that we can have a meaningful impact in public health research at any stage of career,’ she said.

‘We have the privilege and responsibility of advocating for better health for Australians, and I feel very fortunate to be able to play a part in this.’

Dr Blake is an Alfred Deakin Post-doctoral Research Fellow with GLOBE (Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition) within Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation, who leads a program within the associated National Health and Medical Research Council-funded Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health (RE-FRESH).

Her research focuses on the implementation of healthy food retail initiatives and policies, with a particular interest in evaluating and leveraging diverse stakeholder perspectives.

Dr Blake’s research approach uses novel and mixed methods and embeds knowledge translation while engaging with partners in all stages of research. This has included working with Nutrition Australia, VicHealth, local government, and the Victorian Department of Health.

Dr Blake is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian, a Deakin University Institute for Health Transformation-Nutrition Australia Partnership Liaison, chair of the Dietitians Australia Food Regulation and Policy Advocacy Working Group, and member of the Nourish Network Advisory Committee.

She has facilitated local, national, and international healthy food policy change via 11 commissioned reports for local, state, and national governments, and internationaorganisations including the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. In addition, Dr Blake has contributed to the next generation of public health researchers through supervision of six Masters students and two PhD students, to date. Her PhD on “Pricing strategies to reduce population sugar-sweetened beverage consumption” was conferred in 2019.

RE-FRESH lead investigator and IHT director, Alfred Deakin Professor Anna Peeters described Dr Blake as an emerging international leader deserving of the award bestowed on her.

‘Miranda is a skilled collaborator and leader who has displayed an incredible level of leadership for an academic only three-and-a-half years post-PhD.

‘We are incredibly proud of her achievements and the impact she has already made towards improving population health.’