Zelda Doyle, Rural Epidemiologist

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“Good relevant research does not have to be done at ivory towered sandstone universities. Things that will make a difference to communities should come from the communities. Grass roots stuff.”

Zelda Doyle loves her work. From her office at the University of Notre Dame Rural Clinical School in Lithgow, she is involved in a number of exciting, ground breaking medical research projects.

“I am never bored,” says Zelda. “I have worked on studies in rare genetic diseases, Vitamin D levels in prisoners and smoking in pregnancy, just in Lithgow. From our other campuses I have assisted with studies in c-section outcomes, and compassion in medical students to name a few. Yet I can still be involved in studies in Sydney if I want to.”

Zelda is a Rural Epidemiologist. Epidemiology is the study of patterns, causes, and effects of health and disease conditions in defined populations. Zelda’s job at the University involves significant research projects, working with the local medical community to assist them with research ideas, lecturing to medical students at the new Lithgow campus and supervising postgraduate students.

“I can also be found behind the BBQ twice a year at our student conferences and trauma weeks. I spend some of my time working on evaluations of the teaching and conferences that we give up here, so that we can deliver the best educational experience possible to our students.”

“I love the variety. I love the fact I am working on things that will make a difference to people. I love the fact I can walk into medical records at the hospital and get an answer on how I access records, as opposed to trying to wade through levels of administration. I love the fact that I can actually do most of my work up here, but if needed I can be in Sydney for meetings in a couple of hours.”

For a woman who was educated in Brisbane and lived in cities as diverse as London and Hobart, living and working in Lithgow has been a delightful surprise. Her home is in a pretty valley not far from Lithgow city.

“What’s not to love?” she says. “I look out my window and I see cows, kangaroos and parrots. I can go outside at night and stare at a sky full of stars, and in the morning it takes twenty minutes to get in to work.”

“I love the sense of community. When I came back from overseas last year, it took me nearly an hour to get out the supermarket as everyone who saw me wanted to know what the trip was like. I got home to find the neighbours had aired the house, got my fire going and the house was warm. People look out for you.”

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