Every day females around the world are making vital contributions to scientific and medical developments – and the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024, marked on February 11 each year, is the perfect chance to pause and acknowledge their groundbreaking work and incredible achievements.
At The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, we provide funding to dozens of female researchers who are spearheading the research that leads to significant advancements in their fields and changes lives for the better.
Of the individual researchers funded by The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation and our incredible supporters over the last five years, we are proud to say that 47% have been female.
In this blog, we give you a brief introduction to just a small selection of these remarkable women who have received support through The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation thanks to the generosity of others.
Acknowledging the International Day of Women and Girls in Science in 2024
Associate Professor Thuy Frakking
Current Position: Acting Research Director & Clinician Research Fellow, Caboolture, Kilcoy & Woodford Clinical Directorate
Specialty: Paediatric Speech Pathology
Research Focus: Identifying and treating swallowing impairment in infants and children; and integrated care co-ordination for children with chronic conditions and their families.
Foundation Grants: Experienced Researcher Grant (2022)
“I am passionate about working in this field because I have the ability to make a difference through the discovery of new assessments and treatments and the relationships you build with people, including stories of a family’s journey. Sometimes, they enrol in your research project because you’re their last hope for better care,” A/Prof Thuy Frakking said.
“Also, research helps to lift you up through the successes, but it also reminds you of your humility and the need to be humble. For every success, I’ve had at least three or more failures. Research has helped shape my character for the better.”
Thuy recently completed the Swallowing sounds in premature babies (SUPERB) study, funded by the experienced researcher grant.
- This project developed a groundbreaking approach to accurately detect swallowing sounds in infants, offering a non-invasive method to monitor infant feeding and provide advice to mothers on whether to opt for bottle feeding if challenges arise during breastfeeding.
More about the outcomes and impacts of the project here.
Dr Viviana Lutzky
Position: Research Fellow, Queensland Lung Transplant Service Research Laboratory
Research Focus: I am currently working on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, trying to find ways to improve the outcome for patients with incurable lung diseases.
Foundation Grants: Research Fellowship (2021), Innovation Grant (2023)
“I am passionate about working in the field of health science as I hope that my research can help find the cure for some devastating diseases,” said Dr Lutzky.
Ms Saroeun Ven
Position: Research Assistant & Registered Nurse, Nursing Research and Practice Development Centre
Specialty: Palliative Care
Research Focus: Pressure Injury Prevention in Palliative Care Patients
Foundation Grants: PhD Scholarship (2023)
“I am passionate about working in this field because raising awareness of pressure injury prevention ensures palliative care patients can live their best lives for as long as possible. Preventing pressure injuries prevents complications such as infections and pressure injury-associated pain, thus improving the patient’s quality of life and health outcomes,” said Saroeun.
The primary outcome of Saroeun’s research program for her PhD is the development of an appropriate pressure injury risk assessment tool for use in acute palliative care patients, with the identification of appropriate pressure injury preventive interventions matched to the assessed pressure injury level of risk.
“This research is the first of its kind to address the evidence gap for hospital-acquired pressure injury prevention in acute palliative care. The results will inform future research and practice in the context of pressure injury prevention at The Prince Charles Hospital and externally. Importantly, this research has the potential to improve healthcare outcomes for acute palliative care patients at TPCH, nationally and internationally,” said Ms Ven.
Read more about Saroeun and her research here.
Dr Louise See Hoe
Position: Research Alumni , the Critical Care Research Group
Research Focus: I am proud to be a research alumni of the Foundation, with my past research work focussed on heart preservation and transplantation.
Foundation Grants: New Investigator (2015), Research Fellowship (2017), Innovation Grants (2019 and 2021)
“In my academic role, I was passionate about the value of preclinical work to inform a clinical study addressing a major health problem in Australia. Now working in industry, I’m incredibly motivated to help the company I work for open bring this life-saving technology to patients soon as possible,” Dr See Hoe said.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024
While we recognise the incredible achievements of female researchers we support, we also acknowledge the challenges they face.
The United Nations says, “Female researchers tend to have shorter, less well-paid careers. Their work is underrepresented in high-profile journals and they are often passed over for promotion.”
International Day of Women and Girls in Science began in 2015 and aims to generate awareness of the gender disparity of women and girls in STEM.
In Australia, the Department of Industry, Science and Resources STEM equity monitor shows some improvement for women and girls in STEM in recent years – with the number of females in STEM-qualified occupations increasing by 68% from 2012 to 2022. However, according to this monitor, there’s still plenty of work needed before there’s equal opportunity for females in STEM.
This STEM equity monitor’s latest data shows that only 15% of STEM-qualified jobs are held by women, only 23% of senior management and 8% of CEOs in STEM-qualified industries are women.
It also shows that women make up 37% of enrolments in university STEM courses and just 17% of VET STEM enrolments.
More about our research grants
To learn more about the research grants available through The Prince Charles Hospital Foundation, head to our Research Hub.