2015 ASHA Mid-Career Interdisciplinary Achiever Award Recipient

ASHA congratulates Dr Megan Lim, Senior Research Fellow at the Burnet Institute, who was presented with the inaugural ASHA 2015 Mid-Career Interdisciplinary Achiever Award in recognition of her outstanding interdisciplinary achievements in sexual health.

Dr Lim's work with social media and mobile technologies in relation to the sexual development of young people and, more recently, sex workers in Kenya, demonstrates outstanding collaborative leadership and advocacy in the field of sexual health.

Dr Lim recently received NHMRC funding for a sexual health intervention for sex workers in Kenya. This project involved working in collaboration with WHO, FH1360, the International Centre for Reproductive Health, local service providers, and sex workers. Through participatory design (engaging sex workers), and capacity building with local researchers, service providers, and peer educators, this project will have a lasting impact on the sexual health of a highly vulnerable and marginalised group.

Other achievements include receiving ARC funding for an investigation of the role of social media in young people's sexual development, in collaboration with researchers from sexual health, media, and IT disciplines; and establishing the 'SCOPE' sexual education project which involves working with community organisations, young people, and social media advocates.

Dr Lim collaborates with health promotion practitioners and community organisations and her research is driven by their identified needs. For example, a current project is scoping the experiences and challenges faced by practitioners in using new media for health promotion. This project is using key informant interviews and mixed methods research to identify strengths and limitations in current practice and identify bottlenecks in research translation. It is only through this interdisciplinary approach that interventions proven successful in research can be moved into the broader population. Collaborations between researchers and health promotion practitioners will ensure that research findings are translated and disseminated effectively.

Dr Lim is a recognised leader in her field of research. Her leadership reaches beyond the research setting to government, service providers, community groups, and non-government organisations. Dr Lim is an executive committee member of the Sexual Health Society of Victoria (SHSOV) and has been responsible for establishing the SHSOV website and social media profiles. Through these media she has reached thousands of diverse individuals and organisations with an interest in sexual health. She has also been involved in organising Society events and scholarships, in line with the Society's mission "promoting sexual health by the multidisciplinary exchange of knowledge and ideas."

The award was presented by Dr Deborah Bateson, ASHA Chair, at the 2015 World STI & HIV Congress in Brisbane on 16 September 2015. The prize is a one-year journal subscription to Sexual Health, kindly donated by MSD.


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