University of Tasmania community health research shines

Dr Juanita Westbury has been recognised with the Heather & Christopher Chong Outstanding Achiever Award, ahead of a strong field of community contributors, at the 2018 Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards.

A researcher with The Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre and a community pharmacist, Dr Westbury is well known for her research into the use of sedating medication in aged care through the ‘RedUSe’ project.

Aimed at reducing the use of medications for dementia, anxiety and sleep through audit, education and review in residential aged care facilities, the RedUSe project has been trialled in 25 Tasmanian Aged Care Homes and expanded to 150 Homes nationally with much success.

Dr Westbury said the Award was a chance to recognise all those involved with RedUSe.

“The award was an opportunity to thank all the Tasmanian aged care homes, staff, pharmacists, GPs and organisations who have worked with me over the past decade to ensure appropriate medications are used in our most vulnerable older citizens,” Dr Westbury said.

“Without their participation this work would not have been possible.”

Another College of Health and Medicine program, Health Lit4Kids, led by Dr Rosie Nash, was a semi-finalist in the community Achievement Awards Betta Health category.

Health Lit4Kids is aimed at raising the health literacy and ultimately the life-long health and well-being of students, through all aspects of the school curriculum.

The Tasmanian Community Achievement Awards are designed to encourage, acknowledge and reward the valuable contributions individuals, communities, and businesses make throughout Tasmania.

Winners each received either $1,000 prize or a radio airtime package and trophy.

Dr Westbury will use the prize to attend the International Psychogeriatric Meeting in Spain next year, to present her findings.

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