Current Students

Scholarship winner to focus on pregnancy back pain

Scholarship winner Adele Stewart (centre) with her daughter Lily (left) and Penny Palmer (right), daughter of Judith Homeshaw

The Dr Judith Homeshaw Scholarship has been awarded to a UTAS Human Life Sciences PhD student who will investigate back pain in pregnancy.

Adele Stewart said she is honoured and delighted to have been chosen to receive this, the inaugural scholarship and “extremely grateful” for the monetary support provided by it.

“It has enabled me to address pressing financial commitments, leaving me free now to move on in my research work unencumbered.”

Adele explained what many women already know; that lower back pain is a common and frequently debilitating accompaniment to pregnancy.

She said that although a growing number of (mostly European) studies since the 1970’s have attempted to understand the process of pregnancy related lower back pain; the aetiology, consequences, prognosis and treatment remain vague. Adele believes the ambiguous nature of previous studies have tended to reinforce the attitude that back pain in pregnancy is inevitable and inconsequential.

"A functioning mother is essential to the wellbeing and development of her children. Lower back pain and reduced function significantly impacts on a mother’s quality of life and her capacity to care for her children. It is likely to result in significant health and social welfare costs.

“This project examines a common problem and will provide valuable data which will contribute to our knowledge of lower back function and pain during pregnancy. It may also have relevance for limiting back injury risk during and following pregnancy.”

About the Dr Judith Homeshaw Scholarship

The late Dr Judith Homeshaw was a loved and respected member of staff in the UTAS School of Government. Family, friends, work colleagues and the Women’s Electoral Lobby have provided funds to create an annual scholarship in her name for a student entering an honours, masters or doctoral course at UTAS. The scholarship will support a student in any faculty whose thesis will relate to those areas which Judith was passionate about.

The Scholarship is available to a student undertaking postgraduate study in an area which is relevant to the following: Women's participation in the contemporary Australian public sphere with respect to any of: work and employment; government; politics; health care; science and/or Contemporary public policy in Australia with respect to any of: women; science; health care; policy community theory.

More information about the scholarship.

Image: Scholarship winner Adele Stewart (centre) with her daughter Lily (left) and Penny Palmer (right), daughter of Judith Homeshaw.

Published on: 22 Oct 2012 12:38pm