Celebrating our researchers on International Women's Day!
Meet Miranda Hendry from our Women’s Health Program
Miranda Hendry is a Research Assistant at The George Institute, Australia working within the Women’s Health Program (WHP). Miranda has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health Nutrition and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Sydney. She has a special interest in food policy, mother and child nutrition, women’s psychology and mental health, advocacy for policy change and prenatal diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, or other arthropods, such as Zika.
Along with her work within the WHP at The George, Miranda is working on a paper on trends and prevalence of overweight and obesity in women from 72 countries worldwide, using USAID datasets. She is passionate about working on obesity, not just as a health issue but also the prejudice attached to it.
“I am a big advocate for smashing the stigma against obesity. Yes, it is unhealthy to be overweight and obese but there are also genetics, the environment and things other than personal decisions that contribute to becoming obese that are totally not in our control. This is where research driven policy changes can really make a difference to people’s lives.”
This resonates with this year’s IWD message of choosing to challenge and confronting biases.
Miranda has worked with the NSW Health COVID response team where she was faced with the heavy impact this virus had on the community, especially women and families.
“I was in teams that managed exemption applications for border crossings and mass gatherings. As you can imagine there were thousands and being on the receiving end made it emotionally draining at times.”
The pandemic affected Miranda’s personal learning experience as well.
“The tail end of my studies at the University of Sydney was the beginning of COVID and I vividly remember the head of the School of Public Health announcing for the first time on Zoom how the semester would go 100 percent online. He also said something remarkable ‘there will be many papers about this time we are living in, it is history in the making’. I had my virtual graduation too, which wasn’t as much fun as I’d hoped.”
Her role at The George involves assisting three research fellows on topics including maternal sepsis in developing countries, COVID affected areas of the health care system and an exciting new recruitment strategy for participants to be more involved with scientific research. She keeps track of GWHP strategies and plays a part in overall project management tasks.
Defining her work at The George Institute, Miranda says, “Having been here just a few weeks, I appreciate the opportunities to work with honourable research investigators on their projects within the Women’s Health Program. The George Institute has a great reputation in the academic world and I’m happy to be representing it.”
Passionate about pursuing public health research, Miranda recalls the day when she realized the meaningful impact her work can have on people’s lives.
“One of my university professors introduced the Master’s course with ‘we will save lives by the million’ which I liked the sound of. I also thought the prevention of ill-health was the way of the future.”
With a mixed heritage that spans British, German and Australian, Miranda is a multi linguist and always on a lookout for people and opportunities to practice her German, Spanish and French. When not working, Miranda can be seen riding a bike or surfing the waves in Sydney.