Advanced search

PHRP Awards celebrate outstanding health research with real-world impact

MEDIA RELEASE: 30 October 2019

Two research teams responsible for a rural community project that helps children with speech problems and a paper analysing the renewal of Australia’s National Cervical Screening Program have been honoured in the 2019 Public Health Research & Practice Excellence Awards.

The awards celebrate outstanding papers that have been published in Public Health Research & Practice – an open-access, peer-reviewed, quarterly online journal published by the Sax Institute.

This year’s Best Paper Award went to a team led by Dr Sue Kirby from the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity at the University of NSW, for research on a speech pathology service-learning program for primary school children in Far West NSW. The research showed that speech pathology services delivered by undergraduate students led to reduced speech impairments for approximately one-quarter of the primary school children involved.

One of the paper’s authors, Ms Claire Brunero, said the program provided a unique rural learning experience for speech pathology undergraduates and also led to positive outcomes for the children. “Some children are starting compulsory education without the speech sounds and language they need to be able to access literacy,” she said. “This program is a way of targeting and building those skills for our pupils.”

The Award for Best ‘In Practice’ Paper – which specifically recognises work authored by frontline practitioners – was won by a team led by Dr Megan Smith at Cancer Council NSW, for their analysis of the renewal of Australia’s National Cervical Screening Program. Dr Smith said Australia’s transition from Pap tests to primary HPV screening in 2017 can provide valuable lessons for other countries.

“In our analysis of the renewal of Australia’s National Cervical Screening Program, we found that communication was critical, particularly for providers,” she said. “Another great opportunity that came out of the change was that some women can now do a screening test on a self-collected sample. A change like this has a lot of moving parts. If we can help make that road a bit smoother for other countries, that would be a great thing.”

Congratulating the winners, Editor-in-Chief of Public Health Research & Practice Professor Don Nutbeam said their work has made important contributions to improving public health.

“The winners of these awards, along with those who have been highly commended for their contribution to the journal, have produced important work that could lead to real improvements in health policy and practice,” he said. “This is an exciting achievement, and we look forward to seeing how these talented researchers will help shape Australia’s future public health landscape.”

The awards for Best Paper and Best ‘In Practice’ Paper celebrate excellence in public health research, practice and policy, and recognise the inspirational work taking place in Australia. The judging panel, comprising members of the Journal’s Editorial Board, judges papers for their potential impact on public health policy and practice, usefulness to policy makers, researchers and public health practitioners, rigour of methodology and quality of analysis and presentation.


Best Paper

Design and delivery of an innovative speech pathology service-learning program for primary school children in Far West NSW, Australia (27 September 2018)

Sue Kirby, David Lyle, Debra Jones, Claire Brunero, Alison Purcell, Pascale Dettwiller

Best ‘In Practice’ Paper

Lessons from the renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program in Australia (31 July 2019)

Megan Smith, Ian Hammond, Marion Saville

Highly commended – research papers

Obesity prevention in children and young people: what policy actions are needed? (6 March 2019)

William Bellew, Adrian Bauman, James Kite, Bridget Foley, Lindsey Reece, Margaret Thomas, Seema Mihrshahi, Lesley King

Increasing the use of research in population health policies and programs: a rapid review (27 September 2018)

Danielle M Campbell, Gabriel Moore

Highly commended – ‘In practice’ papers

Reflections on the NSW Healthy Children Initiative: a comprehensive state-delivered childhood obesity prevention initiative (6 March 2019)

Christine Innes-Hughes, Chris Rissel, Margaret Thomas, Luke Wolfenden

Built environment interventions for human and planetary health: integrating health in climate change adaptation and mitigation (6 December 2018)

Jason H Prior, Irena LC Connon, Erica McIntyre, Jon Adams, Anthony Capon, Jennifer Kent, Chris Rissel, Leena E Thomas, Susan M Thompson, Harriet Westcott

About the PHRP Excellence Awards

Launched in 2018, these awards celebrate the high calibre of articles published in Public Health Research & Practice – an open-access, peer-reviewed, Medline-listed quarterly online journal published by the Sax Institute. All papers considered for the 2019 awards have appeared in an issue of the Public Health Research & Practice journal published within the past year.


Hugo Wilcken, Media Manager, Sax Institute

M: 0451 122 146 E: [email protected]

Nyssa Skilton, PHRP Editor

M: 0408 331 262 E: [email protected]

Please acknowledge Public Health Research & Practice as the source for any stories on our papers.