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I’ve been reading…

The Shepherd’s hut by Tim Winton- one of my favourite authors- someone who is gifted in the use vernacular Australian expressions to perfectly capture the character of a person or place.

I’ve been researching…

the health and wellbeing of women in large representative samples of Australian women.

My team…

consists of a relatively small, tightly-knit and very loyal group of people led by Professor Susan Davis. A core group in our team have worked together for a long time. The team members have different skills but are very good at working together to achieve a common goal.

An anecdote…

I have had a very varied career doing everything from clinical medicine to basic science to population-based epidemiology, health economics and teaching. Nothing I have done has been wasted- it has all been a very enriching journey and a great privilege to have so many educational opportunities.

An interesting case…

I did my PhD on pre-term labour in women with a strong emphasis on the role of steroid hormones in pregnancy and birth. My post-doctoral fellowship was on the role of steroids in the control of pregnancy and labour using sheep as the model. I became very good at being a midwife to sheep and have probably delivered more lambs than I have human babies.

I’m worried about…

the capacity of medicine to do harm as well as good. I’ve been thinking… about the challenge of communicating both the benefits and harms of medical interventions (especially screening) to medical students and doctors.

In my spare time…

I try to keep fit and grow food in my garden. I find physical activity including gardening a great antidote to hours spent in front of a computer screen.

A thorn in my side…

the faith of many medical practitioners in the benefits of medical interventions that blinds them to the need for careful assessment of possible harms.

What challenges me…

as well as my research role I also teach undergraduate and post-graduate students. When students start out in the medical course they seem to think medicine is about learning anatomy with perhaps some pathology and pharmacology. My challenge is to communicate to them the importance of the social determinants of health and the role that the doctor can play in the prevention of disease using all levels of prevention, including advocacy.

Author(s)

  • Robin Bell
    Deputy Director of the Women’s Health Research Program at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Citations

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