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Dr Melanie Nichols is a Research Fellow at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University. Melanie’s research focuses on the epidemiology of heart disease and other non-communicable diseases, and community-based approaches to promoting health.
Melanie has worked extensively in evaluation of community-based obesity prevention, including the successful Sentinel Site for Obesity Prevention programs in the Barwon South-Western region of Victoria, which generated world-leading evidence into the effectiveness of whole of community-approaches to obesity prevention. Melanie also worked for 3 years providing support in evaluation and evidence to community-based initiatives across Australia through the CO-OPS Collaboration of Obesity Prevention Sites.
More recently, Melanie has led two successful grants to support and evaluate innovative obesity prevention projects. Funding was received in 2012 from the ACT Government Health Directorate for development and evaluation of a 3 year systems-based intervention to prevent obesity among secondary students (ACT-It’s Your Move!). From 2013, a grant from the Australian National Preventive Health Agency will support evaluation of capacity building and professional network development in the OPAL obesity prevention program in South Australia using Social Network Analysis techniques.
Between 2011 and 2012 Melanie worked in the British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group at the University of Oxford, UK, leading the European Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2012 project as part of the EuroHeart II project, funded by the European Commission. The project examined Europe-wide cardiovascular disease mortality, morbidity, treatment and risk factors, with special attention to inequalities and recent trends, and culminated in a significant report which was launched by the European Heart Network on World Heart Day 2012.
Melanie completed her PhD in Public Health at Deakin University in 2009. Her PhD thesis investigated issues around prevention of obesity in early childhood, including recent trends in prevalence, behaviours and environments. Prior to beginning her research career, Melanie qualified as a dietitian, and worked in the field of gastroenterological disorders. Melanie holds tertiary qualifications in nutrition and dietetics and health promotion.
• Evaluation of large scale and 'natural' experiments in public health
• Epidemiological modelling of non-communicable diseases
• Community-based approaches to obesity prevention
• Improved use of routine datasets for monitoring population health