Tag Archives: Professor Debra Anderson

Three questions with… Professor Debra Anderson

Three questions with… Professor Debra Anderson, Founder and Director of the Women’s Wellness Research Collaborative (WWRC) and Dean of Health at University of Technology Sydney

1. What inspired you to establish the Women’s Wellness Research Collaborative?

I have been a champion for women’s health throughout my career and I’ve made it my mission to look at ways to help other women get the most out of life. This often comes down to making certain lifestyle changes that help us be the best we can be – from making better food choices, drinking more water, doing more exercise or taking up meditation.

So, after years of study and working in various roles with other likeminded researchers, I saw an opportunity to bring together some of the brightest minds in women’s wellness and form the Women’s Wellness Research Collaborative. We’re an international collective of women’s health researchers, focused on helping women live life to the fullest, at every stage of life – from younger women, through to midlife women, women with a cancer diagnosis and women with type 2 diabetes. I think that if we can successfully support women to change certain lifestyle habits then we have the potential to improve their lives and their health trajectory as they progress through life.

2. What is the greatest health challenge facing women today?

There is a lot ‘wellness’ information out there for women that was overwhelming and not evidenced-based – and this presents a real challenge for women today.

Women often don’t know where to turn to for practical, evidence-based information about how to improve their health and wellbeing. I wanted to be able to help women sift through the noise in the wellness and wellbeing space and provide them with evidence-based information to support their quality of life.

3. What impact do you hope the WWRC will have on the health and wellbeing of women across Australia and the world?

Our goal is to help women ‘be the best they can be’ regardless of their age, culture or current health status.

We aim to have a strong impact on women’s health and wellbeing both nationally and globally by supporting women with the latest evidence-based, age and culturally appropriate programs and information that is easy to understand and supports their health and wellbeing at every stage of life.

Supporting women’s wellness

Researchers, health practitioners and educators from across the globe gathered virtually to launch the Women’s Wellness Research Collaborative – an international research organisation dedicated to supporting women across every stage of life.

Founder and Director, Professor Debra Anderson, said the launch marked a milestone for the organisation and for herself, personally.

“I have been developing the Women’s Wellness Research Collaborative for more than 10 years, bringing together the best minds in the field from across the globe,” Professor Anderson said.

“The launch of this Collaborative signifies a shift in how we view and talk about women’s wellness, with a stronger focus on evidence-based research that supports women with practical, research-based solutions to manage ongoing health concerns.

“Our research covers all the elements that contribute to women’s wellbeing, including exercise and diet, managing stress and anxiety, sleeping well and implementing positive lifestyle changes that reduce the risk of developing preventable conditions,” she said.

“We’ve translated some of this research into a number of evidence-based wellness programs – Dawn Complete Health and Wellbeing – to address specific health needs for women, including wellness after cancer and managing type 2 diabetes, which we are delivering alongside a number of clinical partners across the Asia Pacific region and in the UK.”

The Collaborate has several projects currently underway and recruiting participants across Australia and New Zealand, including the Entwine project – a screening tool for women with gynaecological cancer and the Kōwhai Study – looking at promoting younger women’s wellness after breast cancer treatment, particularly in women of New Zealand and European origin.

Professor Anderson said the Collaborative, only in its infancy, is set to make a huge impact on how we talk about women’s wellness, bringing more evidence to the discussion to fully support women throughout their lives.

“Our vision is to continue to work with leading clinical partners and educators to influence the wellness conversation, drive meaningful programs and support women to get the best out of life, at every stage of life,” she said.

The Collaborative is supported by several research partners, including the University of Technology Sydney, The Menzies Health Institute Queensland and Griffith University, the University of Queensland and the University of Auckland.