Albury-Wodonga

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Place of welcome and healing gets green edge at CSU

Wednesday 5 Sep 2018

A place for welcome and strengthening community relations will further grow on Friday 7 September when students from Trinity Anglican College at Thurgoona work at Charles Sturt University (CSU) to plant native shrubs and bush tucker plants around the Wongamaa Gathering Area.

Located on the Thurgooona site of CSU in Albury-Wodonga, the Wongamaa Gathering Area is a collaborative project between the local Wiradjuri elders and community, CSU staff and students, the Woolshed Thurgoona Landcare Group and the broader Thurgoona community.

When fully developed, the area will be an important site where the Wiradjuri community can welcome visitors and new residents, and CSU students and lecturers can experience Wiradjuri Culture. In addition, CSU will also strengthen its relationships with the Wiradjuri and broader Aboriginal community.

Starting at 1pm, Trinity students will plant native plants around the site supervised by Wiradjuri woman, Leonie McIntosh, CSU ground staff and members of the Woolshed Thurgoona Landcare Group.

Aunty Denise McGrath, Wiradjuri elder and daughter of Wongamaa (the late Pastor Ces Grant), will also be on hand during the planting.

In the previous month, the school students, CSU staff and students and Landcare volunteers prepared the site and removed encroaching weeds.

Appropriate plant species and planting techniques are guided by representatives of the Wiradjuri community and Woolshed Thurgoona Landcare Group.

While planting will commence in September this year, it is expected that plantings will continue until the official opening ceremony due in December 2019.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Aunty Denise McGrath, the Woolshed Thurgoona Landcare Group, and CSU representative in the project Dr John Rafferty.

Home-based mindfulness program to alleviate PTSD symptoms

Wednesday 8 Aug 2018

  • * Researchers are looking for at least 40 participants to test if mindfulness practice can alleviate symptoms of PTSD
  • * Each year 1.5 million Australians are diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD
  • * Participants will undertake a one week home-based mindfulness program to determine the effect on PTSD symptoms

A research team led by a Charles Sturt University medical researcher will assess the effectiveness of mindfulness practices such as breathing practices and self-compassion to alleviate the symptoms of a debilitating mental health issue.

“Each year 1.5 million Australians are diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD, or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder,” Said research team leader Associate Professor Herbert Jelinek.

“Current approaches for treating symptoms of PTSD include cognitive-behavioural therapies and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, and stress-inoculation training which uses controlled breathing, muscle relaxation and positive self-talk.

“Recently, mindful emotion labelling has demonstrated benefit for PTSD. Even brief mindfulness interventions over one week seem likely to foster improved wellbeing and reduced PTSD symptoms.

“We want to put these claims to the test in a scientific trial.”

Professor Jelinek is collaborating with Monash University researchers Mr Darius Rountree-Harrison and Dr Dominic Hosemans for the study, which is aiming for at least 40 participants aged over 18 years old, at least 20 of whom were diagnosed with PTSD in the past year and 20 without PTSD.

Each participant will receive free mindfulness training in two one-hour sessions over the course of two consecutive weeks.

Participants will learn simple skills that can be easily applied in daily life to help manage the symptoms of PTSD. They will also be in a draw to win a $150 Westmead shopping voucher.

For more information on or to participate in the PTSD study, contact Herbert Jelinek on 0427 681 754 or email hjelinek@csu.edu.au, or Darius Rountree-Harrison on 0421 821 978 or email drou0001@student.monash.edu.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Associate Professor Herbert Jelinek.

This study has received approval from the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee, number 11313.

CSU arts and culture CUP grants available for Albury-Wodonga region

Tuesday 7 Aug 2018

* CSU CUP small grants available for Albury-Wodonga region arts and culture projects

* Applications close Friday 24 August

* Previous recipients include the Henry Lawson Festival of Arts in Grenfell, Uranquinty Preschool, the Wagga City Rugby Male Choir, Canowindra Arts Inc, Cudal Public School P and C Association, the Rotary Club of Orange Inc, and the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre; Albury LibraryMuseum.

* The grants help the community to encourage participation in arts and culture

The next round of 2018 Charles Sturt University (CSU) Community-University Partnership (CUP) grants for arts and cultural activities are available for applications.

Individuals and community groups across the University’s regions covered by its campuses in Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Wagga Wagga, and Port Macquarie are invited to apply.

Head of Camus at CSU in Albury-Wodonga Dr Jenni Munday said, “The University provides up to $20,000 worth of small CUP grants across its regional footprint, and I encourage individuals and groups with projects or initiatives that meet the criteria to apply.”

Applications close on Friday 24 August, and the CUP grants application form is here:

https://about.csu.edu.au/community/grants/arts-and-culture

Previous 2017 CSU CUP arts and culture grant recipients from across the CSU regional footprint include:

Albury LibraryMuseum for a Story Booth, and to host ‘Mad Writing’ panel during the Write Around the Murray Writers’ Festival.

The Rotary Club of Orange Inc received a $1,000 CSU CUP arts and culture grant to stage 17 poetry workshops in 10 primary schools across the Orange region from17 to 27 October 2017.

The Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre (BMEC) used its $1,000 grant to bring professional writers to speak at the Bathurst Writers’ and Readers’ Festival, and keep the festival free and therefore accessible for the community.

The Henry Lawson Festival of Arts in Grenfell organises national competitions and exhibitions in the literary, visual and performing arts, and celebrates and promotes the winners. As in 2016, the CSU Cup grant was used to help stage and judge the 2017 Verse and Short Story Competition.

Mount Austin High School in Wagga Wagga used its grant to help fund students to go to Sydney for rehearsals for State Dance and the Schools Spectacular. The grant assisted the students with accommodation and food while in Sydney for rehearsals and performances.

Uranquinty Preschool’s project explored the music of other cultures with three- to five- year-old children. The grant was used to invite musical artists to the preschool to engage the children in music and dance with instruments that included a didgeridoo, and African drums. Instruments, CDs and cultural costumes were also purchased to support this project.

The Wagga City Rugby Male Choir, in conjunction with the South Wagga Public School used the CSU CUP grant to contribute to the availability of sound and amplification equipment to assist student band members to engage with learning and future musical education.

The Canowindra Arts Inc CSU CUP grant funded an art course for young artists in Canowindra to develop students’ personal skills in specific art mediums and styles, and facilitated their practical knowledge and application of art.

Cudal Public School Parents and Citizens Association received a $1,000 grant to create stronger ties within the small community by staging a school and community theatrical production. The funds were used to cover costs associated with the project, including sound and microphones for students to use during the play and the creation of props and costumes.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews.

Vulnerable frog to benefit from revegetation

Friday 3 Aug 2018

  • * Small wetland on CSU in Albury-Wodonga is home to the vulnerable Sloane’s froglet
  • * Volunteers are planting native vegetation around the wetland to provide vital protection for the species
  • * CSU in Albury-Wodonga is also home for a thriving community of native animals and birds in the midst of suburbia

A frog listed as ‘vulnerable’ in NSW will benefit from some human intervention on the Charles Sturt University (CSU) campus at Thurgoona next Tuesday 7 August.

Recent school leavers and support staff will plant native grasses to provide important cover for a small population of Sloane’s froglet (pictured left) establishing itself near the David Mitchell Wetlands at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

Ms Michelle Wilkinson from CSU Green said the planting will add to vegetation planted last month around a small wetland in which the frogs have been found.

“Native grasses are important for the Sloane’s froglet as provide important shelter for this tiny frog,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“They like areas of grassland or woodland that are periodically inundated, but recent populations have been decimated by trampling by cattle, loss of habitat caused by clearing for growing urban areas, drought and long-term changes to climate patterns, and changes in water flows through creeks and wetlands.

"We hope our revegetation program will help these little critters increase numbers again.

“It will also allow experts in the School of Environmental Sciences to carry out more detailed studies of the species, particularly to assess if they are affected by the chytrid fungus disease which has devastated so many other frog species across Australia.”

CSU ecologist and frog expert Dr Geoff Heard will be on hand to speak about the Sloane’s froglet to the visitors and lend a hand in the planting.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Ms Wilkinson and Dr Heard on the revegetation project and the Sloane’s froglet, which is also the flagship native animal for CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

Planting will commence at 10am on Tuesday 7 August, near carpark P2 of CSU in Albury-Wodonga, through the Elizabeth Mitchell Drive entrance (just past the Childcare Centre), Thurgooona. Planting is due to be completed by 11.30am.

CSU Albury-Wodonga celebrates NAIDOC week, Because Of Her We Can

Friday 13 Jul 2018

* CSU Albury-Wodonga presented two 2018 Charles Sturt University NAIDOC Awards

* The National NAIDOC theme this year is Because Of Her We Can

* Today we celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their active and significant roles across the Albury-Wodonga region

Charles Sturt University (CSU) is proud to recognise women as part of the National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week theme this year, Because of Her We Can.

Head of Campus at CSU in Albury-Wodonga Dr Jennifer Munday said, “Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people have kept the oldest continuing culture on the planet strong, and the women have been strong partners with their men in maintaining this cultural connection through generations”.

Two women from the Albury-Wodonga region were awarded with CSU NAIDOC week awards at a ceremony on campus today. Past and present CSU staff and students and community members attended.

Ms Liz Heta is a Senior Advisor, Aboriginal Engagement and Outcomes (Department of Health and Human Services), and this year spoke to the first year occupational therapy students at CSU in Albury-Wodonga about her thoughts on the impact of racism on occupational choice and engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Ms Heta’s presentation was a balance of being factual, honest and confronting as well as being personal, considered and sensitive to the needs to the first year students. Instead of being paid for her time, the money was used to purchase resources for a local preschool that provides education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Aunty Nancy Rooke is an Elder who has played an important role in the wider community.

She was a pioneer in bringing the Aboriginal community of Albury into TAFE and is a passionate advocate for education with her people.

The nomination noted, ‘because of her we can, as non-Indigenous people teach CSU students with confidence on how to connect with community’.

“Today we have celebrated just a few of the women who contribute, who work in a variety of ways, and are influencing and shaping our community,” Dr Munday said.

“We also acknowledge that there are many, many more local women that should be recognised, in addition to those whose stories we shared today.

“Charles Sturt University is so proud to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander staff, students and community members.

“It was delightful and an honour to be able to acknowledge and present awards to all these fabulous women making an impact across our communities.”

Media Contact: Kate Fotheringham, 0447 737 948

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews.

CSU Albury-Wodonga NAIDOC Scholar Award to PhD student

Thursday 12 Jul 2018

* PhD research explores why Aboriginal men of Albury-Wodonga under-utilise the local Aboriginal Health Service

* Culturally appropriate exercise and health education program achieved an 85 per cent attendance rate for the 10-week program

* Aim is for program to be transferable to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) student and academic has been awarded the CSU Albury-Wodonga 2018 NAIDOC Scholar of the Year Award for his PhD research project.

Mr Brett Biles (pictured), a PhD student and lecturer in Indigenous health in the CSU School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health in Albury-Wodonga, received the award for his PhD research project titled, ‘An exploration of a tailored cardiovascular exercise and education program for Aboriginal men in a regional centre’.

“It is humbling to receive this award as recognition for community-driven research,” Mr Biles said.

“It has been an amazing experience to research within my community and privilege the voices of local Aboriginal men.”

The award citation notes the three-pronged research was developed to explore the reasons why Aboriginal men of Albury-Wodonga under-utilise the local Aboriginal Health Service, to evaluate the effectiveness of a cardiovascular exercise and health education program, and to explore the men’s experience of this program.

As background, the citation notes that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major health problem within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

It states Mr Biles’ research has developed a culturally appropriate and respectful tailored exercise and health education program, that achieved an 85 per cent attendance rate for the 10-week exercise and health education program, which highlights the cultural appropriateness of the program.

Mr Biles aims for his culturally-appropriate and respectful tailored exercise and health education program to be transferable into other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The research is in its final stages of his PhD and Mr Biles looks forward to disseminating the findings of the research.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Mr Brett Biles who is abased at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

MyDay showcases CSU courses to future students

Thursday 21 Jun 2018

  • * 180 high school students expected for MyDay at CSU in Albury-Wodonga on Wednesday 27 June
  • * Free MyDay event is a great start to preparation for university

Senior high school students from across NSW will attend a MyDay at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga on Wednesday 27 June to explore a range of courses and future study options.

CSU prospective student adviser Ms Katie Trebley said, “With around 150 students currently registered, we can expect about 180 students plus parents to attend the MyDay.

“Students who have registered come from NSW and Victorian high schools, from as far as Bendigo and Echuca to Dubbo, as well as local schools across Albury-Wodonga.

“The students who attend MyDay can learn about the courses we offer at Charles Sturt University in Albury-Wodonga as well as general information about university and study. This free event is a great start to university preparation.

“Parents are also welcome to attend most sessions to learn more about courses and study at Charles Sturt University.”

Courses to be explored by the students include accounting and business, environmental science and outdoor recreation, podiatry, occupational therapy, speech pathology, physiotherapy, gerontology, leisure and health, and teaching and education.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with CSU prospective student adviser Ms Katie Trebley.

Registrations commence at 9.30am in the Gums Café, CSU in Albury Wodonga, off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona. The event runs across the campus from 10 am to 2.30 pm.

Does stretching help relieve people with diabetes?

Friday 1 Jun 2018

* Simple regular stretches can help physical status and well-being of people with diabetes

* Research project seeking adults with Type 2 diabetes and living in Albury-Wodonga to test stretching program at home.

A Charles Sturt University (CSU) health researcher is investigating the benefits of simple stretching exercises to relieve aches and pains for people with diabetes.

Honours student Mr Rod Burgess is seeking residents from Albury-Wodonga aged over 18 years who have Type 2 (Age Onset) diabetes to take part in his research project based at Thurgoona.

“We know that diabetes can thicken and stiffen the tissues in the body and so affect a person’s quality of life as they become less flexible. This can change the way a person moves and causes them more harm,” said Mr Burgess, who is in his final year of physiotherapy with the CSU School of Community Health.

“We know exercise can benefit people with diabetes, however some people cannot or choose not to exercise.

“We are now investigating if even a small amount of stretching and exercise can have positive medical effects for people with diabetes, as well as how they feel.”

Mr Burgess is now seeking participants to take part in his research project in their homes to assess the impact of gentle exercise on their disease.

After completing an initial health check and questionnaire with Mr Burgess at the CSU Community Engagement & Wellness Centre, participants will be asked to gently stretch muscles in their legs and ankles at home for 10 minutes in each session, with three sessions per week over a six-week period as part of the study.

“Muscle stretching is easy and safe to do and may possibly improve or delay some of the damaging effects of your diabetes. Participating in the project could help you, and hopefully other people with diabetes, to relieve some symptoms of this crippling disease,” Mr Burgess said.

For further information or to participate in the research project, call the Community Engagement & Wellness Centre (CEW) on 6051 9299 or email Ahcrecep@csu.edu.au, at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, Ellis Street, Thurgoona.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with CSU health researcher Mr Rod Burgess.

Mr Burgess is supervised by Associate Professor Paul Tinley and Dr Louise Pemberton.

Mr Burgess will be available for pictures and interviews at 10 am on Monday 4 June in the CSU Community Engagement & Wellness Centre, Ellis Street, Thurgoona (parking in carpark P7).

Low-income households lead power saving, at a cost

Friday 1 Jun 2018

* CSU research finds low-income households leading Albury community, using 70 per cent less electricity.

* Low-income households suffer in health and well-being being unable to afford higher electricity costs, making heating and cooling homes a real problem.

* ‘Powering Down’ project sharing hints and tips from project on World Environment Day (5 June).

Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers have found that low-income earners lead the Albury community in power saving, but at a cost.

“Some low-income households are using 70 per cent less electricity than similar households in Albury. But they are using far less power than they need out of financial necessity,” said social researcher Dr Helen Masterman-Smith, who led the ‘Powering Down’ project based in the northern suburbs of Albury.

“High electricity costs are making heating and cooling homes a real problem, especially for those with health conditions.

“Some people are spending winter days in bed and summers taking repeated cold showers or baths. As a result, their wellbeing and quality of life are suffering,” Dr Masterman-Smith said.

Funded by NSW Environmental Trust, the Powering Down project has supported low-income households to live better using less electricity. Residents have shared their knowledge and tips on reducing electricity use and have received help with the upfront costs of energy efficient appliances.

“Project participants have much wisdom to convey on striking a balance between living well and powering down for the planet and the hip pocket,” Dr Masterman-Smith said.

“For example, one resident tried the little-known hack of placing bubble-wrap on her north facing windows. It’s a cheap and easy form of double glazing. She ended up being one of our energy efficiency competition winners.”

To provide further assistance for low-income households in Albury, the project team will hold a free ‘Bring Your Electricity Bills’ day on World Environment Day, Tuesday 5 June, running from 9am to 3pm, at the Salvation Army Hall, corner of Union Road and Corella St, Lavington.

The event is supported by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Albury City Council, the Salvation Army and the Global Village Co-op.

“Friendly staff will be on hand to discuss energy assistance vouchers, no-interest loans, hardship programs, service complaints, financial counselling, affordable efficient appliances, independent advice on suppliers, efficiency tips, and much more,” Dr Masterman-Smith concluded.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews and pictures with Dr Helen Masterman-Smith and Dr John Rafferty before and during the ‘Bring Your Electricity Bills’ day (on World Environment Day on Tuesday 5 June).

Calling stroke clients for BEST study

Thursday 31 May 2018

* Call for stroke patients living in southern NSW to take part in an ‘at home’ rehabilitation project.

* Geographical distance from health services can make it difficult for patients in regional NSW to access outpatient services once they have been discharged from hospital.

* Project participants and carers will have access to extensive support materials and phone support for 12 weeks.

* Participating clinicians will also receive support as part of the project.

Have you had a stroke in the last six months and live in or near Albury-Wodonga or Wagga Wagga? Do you experience cognitive or upper limb difficulties?

A research team supported by Charles Sturt University (CSU), Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Albury-Wodonga Health are looking for participants to test a program over 12 weeks that assists patients in their recovery from the debilitating effects of stroke.

Participants and their carers will have access to the Best Evidence for Stroke Therapies (BEST) website that can help stroke patients to regain some or all of their capabilities before the stroke occurred.

Project leader Dr Melissa Nott (pictured left), an occupational therapy lecturer with the CSU School of Community Health, is part of the team that developed the BEST website.

“The website is a one-stop shop for helpful resources including 'step-by-step' guides, information and instruction sheets and videos, home activity records and goal setting worksheets.

“On the same site, clinicians such as occupational therapists and speech pathologists can access 'how-to' videos, implementation checklists and evidence summaries to help them implement and evaluate their stroke-related care of patients, working as a team with the stoke patient.

"We wanted to provide all the information that would be needed by both patients and clinicians so that clinicians feel more confident to implement the National Stroke Guidelines and that patients receive the best quality care," said Dr Nott said, who is based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga.

"Geographical distance from health services can make it difficult for patients in regional NSW to access outpatient services once they have been discharged from hospital. This website offers an alternative way to ensure all patients can access the highest quality rehabilitation."

See 'Cheryl' from Wagga Wagga as she tells her story on the importance of a team approach to her rehabilitation after a stroke.

The program incorporates use of the BEST website (pictured right) with phone coaching and training for clinicians to help stroke patients drive their own recovery from home over 12 weeks, supported by the research team.

The BEST website has been trialled and refined since 2017, and we are now ready to expand its use across areas covered by the Murrumbidgee Local Health District and Albury-Wodonga Health.

“Positive results for this expanded trial will have application for rehabilitation services across regional Australia and for patients living in isolated circumstances.”

To apply to join the BEST project or for further information, contact Ms Tana Cuming on 02 6051 9266 or email bestresearch@csu.edu.au.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews in Albury-Wodonga with Dr Melissa Nott.

Research partner Dr Shannon Pike with the Murrumbidgee Local Health District is available for interviews in Wagga Wagga. Contact Ms Sally Druitt on (02) 6933 91781 or email Sally.Druitt@health.nsw.gov.au to arrange interviews with Dr Pike.

See the BEST website here.

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