PhD Scholarship Opportunity – Improving the management of menopause symptoms in cancer survivorship

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Expressions of Interest close on Wednesday 29th September 2021

About the Project

Cancer and its treatment can have enduring side-effects affecting the quality of life (QoL) of survivors. A common consequence of cancer treatment in women is menopause - affecting up to 40,000 Australian women cancer survivors annually. Menopausal symptoms can have significant impacts on day-to-day living, with flow-on effects on ability to work, financial hardship, social interactions, QoL, other morbidities, and mortality due to reduced adherence to cancer treatment. New developments in self-managed interventions, treatments, and clinical practice guidelines, could address this important health area, but only 17% of women with troublesome symptoms receive effective treatment.

Creative solutions are needed to improve access to care and reduce symptom burden. Symptom severity varies considerably between women, and a flexible approach is needed. Stepped-care is an effective and low-cost model for delivery of health interventions of varying intensity. Stepped-care measures the level of need (e.g. symptom severity) and triages patients to a level of care based on their need. Mild symptoms can often be self-managed whilst severe symptoms may need specialist care. Triaging and allocating patients to care matched to their need would result in more efficient use of limited health resources. Stepped-care is suited to managing the long-term symptoms after cancer, including menopause. However, stepped-care uses a clinician-driven approach and with the large population of women who experience menopause after cancer (and the larger number of cancer survivors with other long-term symptoms), a new approach to delivery of the stepped-care is needed.

We are proposing to develop an online patient-drivenstepped-care service delivery platform for the management of symptoms after cancer. We will develop this new approach for women survivors with menopausal symptoms. This will be delivered online to increase accessibility.

Our team has an exciting PhD opportunity for a multidisciplinary project which aims to develop a health care delivery model for the management of menopausal symptoms in women cancer survivors. The aims of the research are:

1. To develop a patient-driven stepped-care model, using co-design and implementation theories to facilitate later implementation.

2. To assess the feasibility of this model to reduce troublesome menopausal symptoms, improve quality of life, and measure acceptability to patients and clinicians.

3. To develop and pilot test the online stepped-care platform.

Scholarship Benefits

Scholarship benefits include:

A $5000 stipend top-up is available to those who are successful in being awarded Graduate Research Scholarship.

Supervision

The successful applicant will be supervised by:

The student will join the Psychosocial, Health, and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit based at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Melbourne and will work across the Royal Women’s Hospital, Parkville and the University’s Parkville Campus.

Eligibility

Applicants should have:

  • Honours or Master’s degree in digital health or psycho-oncology or implementation science or related field;
  • Qualitative research experience.
  • High academic marks that would meet eligibility for enrolment in a Research Higher Degree at the University of Melbourne and award of a scholarship.

Preference will be given to those who have:

  • Experience in cancer survivorship, menopause, women’s health, and/or stepped-care research.
  • Quantitative research and systematic reviews experience.
  • Experience in working with patients and/or clinicians.

This is a Full Time role.

The scholarship is conditional upon acceptance into a PhD degree at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne. More information on MDHS requirements can be found here .

Due to current COVID-related travel restrictions, applicants should be currently located in Australia.

Applications

Please complete the Expression of Interest Form. Candidates who are shortlisted will be invited to an interview.

Download the EOI Form

Further Enquiries

All Expressions of Interest must be received by Wednesday 29th September 2021. Please send your application to mpeate@unimelb.edu.au.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Dr Michelle Peate mpeate@unimelb.edu.au.

About the Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit.

The Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit is part of the Gynaecology Research Centre, situated at the Royal Women’s Hospital  and the Department of Obstetrics and Gyanecology, University of Melbourne . The emPoWeR Unit aims to conduct ethically sound research that will make a difference, with a focus on the psychological, emotional, and social aspects of reproductive health. The unit has a particular focus on the overall wellbeing of people impacted by gynaecological issues and infertility, and the quality of life factors that arise as a consequence of these conditions. The goal of the unit is to develop tools that can help improve the experience of people facing these sorts of challenges.

More Information

Dr Michelle Peate

mpeate@unimelb.edu.au