Maternal health information seeking

Maternal health information and healthcare seeking behaviour of Aboriginal and CALD women in Tasmania

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022


Burnie, Launceston

Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Maternal health information and healthcare-seeking behaviour is crucial to women’s health and is an important public health issue. Maternal and child health morbidity and mortality depend highly on the health information and healthcare-seeking behaviour of mothers. Several factors, including educational background, occupation, age, pregnancy-related complications, and socio-cultural influences are known to affect behaviour. Analyses of 13 years of Tasmanian hospital record data (through a data linkage project) have shown indigenous women have a higher rate of obesity and a high incidence of premature births and low birth weight in newborns. Tasmanian aboriginal women also have low education and socioeconomic status, low literacy, higher smoking, and alcohol intake compared to non-indigenous pregnant women.
Tasmania has seen an increase in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations in the past 10-15 years. A large proportion of this population are humanitarian migrants with low literacy and low socio-economic status paralleling that of the indigenous communities of Tasmania. Additionally, often migrants arrive to developed countries with healthy weight; however inherent and environmental factors lead to weight gain in these populations often above the levels in the native population.  Very little is known about the health information and healthcare-seeking behaviours of these groups, especially pregnant women (or those planning pregnancy) in Tasmania. Key research questions include the following:

  • What is the current maternal health information and healthcare-seeking behaviour of Tasmanian Aboriginal and CALD mothers?
  • What socio-demographic and cultural factors are associated with maternal health information and healthcare-seeking behaviour among Tasmanian Aboriginal and CALD mothers?
  • What community-based approaches and interventions are already available to support women to improve maternal health information and healthcare-seeking behaviour of Aboriginal mothers and CALD mothers from low socioeconomic backgrounds, especially in Northwest Tasmania?
  • What intervention package can be developed to improve health information and maternal healthcare-seeking behaviour of Northwest Tasmanian Aboriginal and CALD mothers using the co-design method?

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Kiran Ahuja


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

Honors or Masters of Public Health or equivalent

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

Some experience of working with women with diverse backgrounds

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Kiran Ahuja to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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