Category Archives: News

Curiosity’s in the blood

bloodTesting for the clinical streams of the Hazelwood Health Study is about to get underway.
The Cardiovascular Stream is expected to include a full blood examination and the Respiratory Stream testing will measure Hemoglobin, the oxygen that carries protein inside red blood cells.
Blood is important for our body as it is pumped through our veins and arteries, transporting oxygen from our lungs to all of the other organs, tissues and cells that need it.
But that’s not all it does.
Click here to learn to learn more about the vital fluid coursing through our veins.

Would you like to know more?

Learn more about the Cardiovascular Stream here.
Learn more about the Respiratory Stream here.

The Hazelwood Health Study needs your help

The view of the Morwell central business district near the town's train station and underpass.

The view of the Morwell central business district from the town’s train station and underpass.

The Hazelwood Health Study is looking for people who use or have used electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes or vaping) to provide feedback on a questionnaire we are developing.
The questionnaire takes about 5 minutes to complete and can be done over the phone.
At the end of the questionnaire, we will ask some questions regarding your understanding of the questions. No identifying information about you will be recorded.
If you are a current or past user of electronic cigarettes and are interested in helping us, please private message us using ‘e-cigarette questionnaire pilot’ as the first line, followed by your name and best contact phone number.
Alternatively, you can leave you details for one of our team to phone you back on 1800 985 899.

Key findings on the psychological impacts of the mine fire on students released

Morwell Central Primary School principal Justine Smyth and Hazelwood Health Study research Dr Matthew Carroll discuss the latest findings from the first round of the School Study.

Morwell Central Primary School principal Justine Smyth and Hazelwood Health Study researcher Dr Matthew Carroll discuss the latest findings from the first round of the Schools Study.

Students in Morwell reported more symptoms of distress following the Hazelwood mine fire than students outside the township, a Hazelwood Health Study research project has found.

The Schools Study, an arm of the long-term health study, looked at the psychological wellbeing and educational outcomes for students in 20 schools across the Latrobe Valley, targeting students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in the year after the mine fire.

The document released this week is a summary of the key findings from the first round of the study, including a measure of childhood distress, the change in NAPLAN results from 2013 before the fire to the year after the fire, and what students said to the researchers in interviews.

“While most students reported little or no psychological symptoms from the mine fire, one quarter of the students reported increased levels of distress,” Schools Study lead researcher and Monash University Professor Darryl Maybery said.

The research found there was a strong age effect, with younger students reporting more symptoms of distress than older students. Research co-lead Dr Matthew Carroll said this increase in the year after the mine fire was not surprising given the scale of the Hazelwood event.

“We know from talking with students that many found it unpleasant and some were still reporting impacts such as feeling alarmed when they smelt smoke,” Dr Carroll said.

“On the flipside, some students reported positive outcomes such as more school trips and the opportunity to connect with students from other schools.”

The research team also found that Morwell students had a greater increase in NAPLAN scores, from the year before to the year after the fire, than non-Morwell students.

Now, over three years after the event, the researchers are particularly interested in assessing the students again. The Schools Study will be inviting students, who participated in the first round of the study and are now in years 5, 7 and 9, to complete another survey.

“We will also be inviting current year 3 students from the participating schools to take part. This will allow us to look at whether there are any ongoing impacts in a younger age group, those who were around 5 years old at the time of the fire,” Dr Carroll said.

“We really hope that everybody who is approached about the study agrees to participate as we need as many students as possible. We are writing to all participating parents and schools thanking them for their participation last time, providing a copy of the key results, and informing them about what is happening this year.”

Click here to read the summary report.
Click here to learn more about the Schools Study.

 

Latrobe Valley children helping the next generation

 

Latrobe Early Life Follow-Up project officer Melanie Reeves helps Branigan Kitwood with a simple breathing check.

Latrobe Early Life Follow-Up project officer Melanie Reeves helps Branigan Kitwood with a simple breathing check. photo credit: Anne Simmons, Latrobe Valley Express

A ground-breaking study tracking the impact of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire on children has now health tested more than 100 participants.

But despite reaching the significant milestone, more Latrobe Valley children are needed to complete the health check.

The Latrobe Early Life Follow-up Study is the child health and development arm of the long-term Hazelwood Health Study.

Children whose parents completed the ELF survey last year are all eligible to have simple, free health tests that check on the progress of lung development and blood vessels in young children.

ELF Study organisers have been thrilled with the enthusiastic response from young participants and are hoping to test more.

“This is a ground-breaking study – there are no others like it in the world,” study manager Marita Dalton said.

“The children are helping us learn if long term health and development could have been influenced by the air pollution around the time of the coal fire.

“We want to learn how living through a bad, smoky period compares with other known risks for health, like, for example, living in the same house as people who smoke indoors.

“These things are not known right now and the children are helping us to find out.”

Ms Dalton said the health tests are offered in a family-friendly clinic at Latrobe Community Health Service in Morwell until late July.

While the tests are being completed, parents can read to their children and the child can select a toy to take home with them.

The study team thanked the wonderful children and parents for their support and they hope to see more families in the next month.

If all goes according to plan, the study will offer the same checks in 2020.

If you have completed the ELF survey but not enrolled your child for the health checks and wish to do so, phone the ELF Study hotline on 1800 322 102 or email latrobe.elf@utas.edu.au

The ELF Study is being conducted by the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania as part of the larger, Monash University-led Hazelwood Health Study.

Click here to learn more about the Latrobe Elf Study.

Related media coverage                                                       

Check-ups to gauge mine fire’s impact on kids | Latrobe Valley Express

More children needed to take part in Latrobe ELF Study (Bulletin 1) (Bulletin 2) | TRFM

 

Elf Study clinical assessments underway

Breathing and heart system checks are now underway at the Latrobe Community Health Service in Morwell. We have had a great response from parents of our young ELF participants and it has been great getting to meet many of you face-to-face! All participants who have agreed to take part in clinics have been sent a letter containing a unique log-in which can be used to make an appointment online. Melanie and Susan have also been busy on the phones making appointments.

If you haven’t already been contacted for a clinic booking you can call the Latrobe ELF Study support line on 1800 322 102, or email us at latrobe.elf@utas.edu.au.

All clinic attendees receive a $25 Coles voucher, and the kids are kept smiling with a cute cuddly toy and book to take home.  Here are a couple of our happy customers!

ELF clinicals1ELF clinicals2

Click here to read what is involved in the breathing check.
Click here to read what is involved in the heart system check.

Shaun Mallia to join the Hazelwood Health Study as Communications and Engagement Adviser

We are delighted to welcome Shaun Mallia to the Hazelwood Health Study (HHS) research team.

Shaun will be the study’s Communications and Engagement Adviser and takes up the appointment on Monday 1 May.

In Year 3, the HHS needs to increase engagement with the community and to re-profile the study to better align with the new environment in Latrobe City and the needs of the community. This new position will build on the work of the HHS Gippsland team, especially the work of the Adult Survey Recruitment Coordinator, and will work closely with appropriate people involved in the new Latrobe Health Assembly and the Health Innovation Zone. The position will have responsibility for both the study’s Community Advisory Committee and the Clinical Reference Group, and will be required to coordinate the study’s communications including media releases, the website and social media.

Shaun was the editor of the Latrobe Valley Express newspaper for three years where he oversaw the newspaper’s award winning coverage of the Hazelwood Mine Fire and subsequent Hazelwood Mine Fire inquiries. He has more than 10 years’ experience in media and communications having worked for publications including the Gippsland Farmer and the Moe and Narracan News. He has also completed some media consultancy work for Monash School of Rural Health.

Shaun has lived in Morwell his entire life, 34 years, and has participated in a number of community groups in the past decade. He is currently a member of the Latrobe Health Assembly and is a strong advocate of the region. When not advocating for the Latrobe Valley, Shaun can be found running the many Gippsland trails in preparation for his next marathon.

Shaun will be located on a temporary basis at School of Rural Health, Churchill (Federation Uni Gippsland campus) with Prof Judi Walker and Dr Matthew Carroll while office space is being sourced in Morwell.

Shaun Mallia to join the Hazelwood Health Study as Communications and Engagement Adviser

Study seeking local residents to join Community Advisory Committee

The Hazelwood Health Study team is calling on Latrobe Valley and Sale residents interested in the long-term health outcomes of the Hazelwood mine fire to apply for membership on its Community Advisory Committee (CAC).

More information on the CAC and the current call for expressions of interest to join the committee are available here.

Deadlines approaching for the Hazelwood Health Study Adult Survey Closes 31 January 2017

All eligible residents who are yet to complete the Adult Survey are urged to collect a paper survey and complete by the end of January 2017. Community Packs are available at various locations throughout Morwell and Sale to collect.

  • Neighborhood House
  • GP Clinics
  • Police Station
  • Latrobe City Office
  • Wellington Shire Office
  • Newspower Newsagent, Morwell
  • Latrobe Community Health Service
  • Latrobe Regional Hospital
  • Central Gippsland Health Service

 

study-team

Annual Community Briefing 29 November 2016

The HHS Annual Community Briefing was held at the Morwell Bowling Club 29 November 2016.

Members of the Community were invited to meet the study team, enjoy a supper while team members gave an overview and update on the study.