|Dr Jessica O'Brien|
The sub-Faculty of Translational Medicine and Public Health at the Alfred precinct is celebrating a flurry of funding from Heart Foundation Australia, who released details on their latest grant recipients this week. Fifty-three projects worth $13.1 million, all investigating the causes, treatment and prevention of heart disease, stroke and related disorders were announced. Congratulations to all of our very worthy winners! See story.
Cardiologist and PhD student at the Central Clinical School, Dr Jessica O’Brien, received an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award for her project Quantifying myocardial inflammation in acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. This grant is focused on capacity building and increasing Indigenous representation at all levels of research.
Jessica will use cardiac MRI to identify myocardial inflammation in acute rheumatic fever (ARF) with the aim of improving diagnostic accuracy and predicting which patients are most likely to progress to rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Improving these would ensure that antibiotic prophylaxis and follow-up can be optimised accordingly with the overall goal of helping to reduce RHD prevalence and severity.
She says, "Because of my background, I have always been interested in Indigenous health, but it wasn't until I started physician training that I saw the extent of the disparity in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. One of the many contributors to this is the disproportionately low numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals and researchers."
Jessica is supervised by Dr Andrew Taylor in the Department of Diabetes.