A Queensland researcher’s decades of devotion to influencing women’s health policy has resulted in international recognition.
Professor Christina Lee of The University of Queensland Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, and School of Psychology, has been presented the Distinguished Scientist Award.
The honour was bestowed for “several outstanding contributions” to scientific research.
“I would say the highlight of my career is my ongoing role as chief investigator of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH),” Professor Lee said.
“From 1995 to the present, the study has made major contributions to policy underlying the Quality Use of Medicines, National Tobacco Strategy, Watching Australia’s Weight, Active Australia and the National Continence Strategy.
“The project has generated over 350 peer-reviewed journal articles during its 21 years of existence relating primarily to chronic disease prevention, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, and healthy ageing.
“I’ve been privileged to work with – and to have led - a team that is second-to-none, which has produced some of the most important sources of information underpinning women’s health policy and practice today.”
Prior to the ALSWH, Professor Lee completed her PhD in 1983 and has since published over 180 peer-reviewed articles and four books.
She is in her fifth year as editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.
Professor Lee’s hallmark is an expertise in the interactions between psychology, public health and government policy – and she is unafraid to disprove conventional thinking.
“Analysis of transitions into motherhood, and in and out of relationships and employment suggest that these traditional milestones are not the major influences on women’s wellbeing in Australia,” Professor Lee said.
“I’ve presented evidence that, with few exceptions, it is socioeconomic advantage and disadvantage which plays a major role in predicting both women’s wellbeing and the timing of these transitions.
“With few exceptions, the mental health of Australian women tends to improve as they move through adult life.”
Professor Lee received her Distinguished Scientist Award at the International Congress of Behavioral Medicine in Melbourne, where she will also deliver one of three keynote addresses on Saturday.