Last week, we recognised R U OK? Day across the Institute. PhD student in Diabetes and Population Health Dee Tomic is well versed in the importance of starting conversations and looking after your mental health as a former ambassador for youth mental health organisation Headspace.
Get to know a little more about Dee in this edition of Fast Five.
What/who inspired you to pursue a career in science/research?
I always enjoyed research during my medical degree, and as a student I was involved in research projects across a range of fields including gastroenterology and anatomy. I also took an epidemiology elective which turned out to be one of the highlights of my study, so when the opportunity to undertake a PhD in epidemiology arose, it made sense given my background and interests. I am excited to be pursuing a career in this increasingly important field.
What does an average day look like for you?
I’m working on several projects concurrently [in the Diabetes and Population Health lab, to explore emerging complications of diabetes mellitus from a population health perspective], which are all in different stages of progress. In an average day I might be conducting data analysis to explore potential reasons for a particular finding in one study, revising a draft manuscript for another, and working on ethics and regulatory documents for a third.
Tell us about your connection with Headspace and the important work you’ve been involved with in the mental health space.
I was the Youth Consortium Representative for Headspace Elsternwick until 2020, where I had the opportunity to act as the voice for young people in my local area in important discussions with mental health stakeholders from various healthcare and government agencies. It was a truly rewarding experience that I hope to draw upon in future mental health ambassador work throughout my career in public health.
What do you do to ensure you are looking after your own mental health?
Get good sleep, schedule self-care time to read or go for a walk, and stay socially connected with my family and friends.
Tell us something about you that not many people at work would know.
I am an avid tennis fan and regularly attend the Australian Open to support a close family friend who is a professional tennis player.