Dr Mieke Snijder wins 2018 TheMHS Early Career Research Award

October 2018

Dr Mieke Snijder from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at UNSW Sydney was awarded a prestigious Early Career Research Award at the 2018 Mental Health Service Awards of Australia and New Zealand for service to mental health.

Dr Snijder, a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS), received the award in recognition of her research program to improve social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal youth.

Dr Snijder’s research is innovative in its participatory approach, rigorous design and creative methodology. It aims to empower and reduce alcohol and drug related harms experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.

“The only way we can do this successfully is by working in close partnership with Aboriginal communities, organisations and individuals,” said Dr Snijder.

As part of her PhD at NDARC (supervised by Deputy Director, Professor Anthony Shakeshaft), Dr Snijder successfully worked with Aboriginal communities to develop, implement and evaluate a community-based program, reaching between 1,000-2,000 people.

The program was developed in close partnership with three Aboriginal communities in regional NSW and led to measurable reductions in alcohol-related harms and improvements in community safety and empowerment.

More recently, as part of the CREMS team, she has worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous secondary students in NSW and Queensland on a number of initiatives aimed at giving a voice to young people through photographs and stories.

These stories are informing the development of a computerised, culturally inclusive school-based drug prevention program funded by the Australian Government Department of Health for Year 7 and 8 students: Strong & Deadly Futures.

“It was inspiring to hear so many young people talk about the ways they draw strength from their communities,” said Dr Snijder.

Read more on the NDARC website.