Nicole Li: measuring the effects of sodium reduction against community health

How long have you been working at The George Institute/George Clinical?

10 years

What attracted you to working at The George Institute/George Clinical?

The George Institute’s many interesting research projects in the Asia Pacific region, particularly China. 

What are you currently working on?

I am currently the study director of the China Salt Substitute and Stroke Study (SSaSS)—a large scale cluster randomised controlled trial looking at the effects of sodium reduction on hard clinical outcomes. I am also the project leader for the Australian Food Front of Pack Labelling Trial—a randomised controlled trial looking at the effects of different design of front of pack nutrition labelling on consumer’s food purchases. I have recently been granted a National Heart Foundation Vanguard Grant, allowing me to delve into a new research area that will be looking at improving patient’s compliance with therapy.

What is a recent highlight?  

Our SSaSS study started recruiting participants from April 2014 and we have recently completed recruitment in the fourth province, with a total of 16,800 participants included in the trial so far. We are hoping to finish recruitment by the end of 2014 in all five participating provinces. We aim to recruit 21,000 people. 

What difference will this make to healthcare and why?

SSaSS is the first large scale randomised trial directly measuring the effects of sodium reduction on hard clinical outcomes. The results will bridge the current evidence gap and will be relevant to health policy making in all countries around the globe.

What is your professional background?

I completed medical training in Bethune University of Medical Sciences (Jilin province, China) in 1995 and then worked as a paediatric resident for four years in China Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing until 2000. I completed a Master of International Health at The University of Sydney in 2000 and started a career in public health research from 2001.

Why do you enjoy working at The George Institute/George Clinical?

There are endless things I like about working in The George Institute: the research that we do here actually do drive changes in clinical practice and health policy making; colleagues are always motivated and willing to help; continuous support from the Institute in career development; the flexible and social work environment; etc.

To explain to people what I do I say….

I conduct research studies about how to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases from population level, for example, preventing high blood pressure related diseases through reducing dietary salt intake levels.

I work at The George Institute/ George Clinical because…..

The George Institute has provided me the opportunity and platform to grow both professionally and personally. 

 To unwind at the end of the day I….

I would first spend quality time with my daughter YoYo, read her a couple of bedtime stories before she goes to sleep, and then enjoy bedtime reading of my own.

My first job was….

A paediatric resident in China Japan Hospital, Beijing, China

My biggest achievement so far….

Nothing makes me more proud than my lovely daughter YoYo.