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German connection yielding heartfelt results

Wednesday 22 Aug 2018

  • * A German student based at CSU is investigating the use of ECGs for people that present with fainting spells
  • * Projects are part of long term research project to assist diabetes patients in regional and rural areas

A German medical student at Charles Sturt University (CSU) is helping solve a very Australian problem – how to detect possible heart defects in a fainting patient that lives in a remote or rural location.

Mr Dominik Wehler (pictured left), a student with Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin, is collaborating with Associate Professor Herbert Jelinek in the CSU School of Community Health in Albury-Wodonga to find an alternate accurate method for diagnosing fainting spells experienced by patients without the need for extensive testing.

“Currently, patients who suffer an undiagnosed short fainting episode are referred to a specialist to find out if a fainting spell has been caused by low blood pressure or heart defects such as arrhythmia or previous scarring on the heart muscle.

“This testing can take up to 24 hours to gain relevant data and is undertaken with the specialist, often in metropolitan locations. This may cause major difficulties for people who live long distances from specialists.”

Mr Wehler has used over 220 records gathered from residents in Albury-Wodonga and Wangaratta to develop a simple technique using only pulse rate recordings, if other tests are negative, to detect patterns that can indicate a possible cause for fainting.

“I am adapting a diagnostic computer program to improve the detection and accuracy of the underlying causes of fainting from two to 18 per cent of patients who faint, using only pulse rate recordings.

“The data for this improved test could be gathered by a general practitioner or trained health professional using simple equipment and data entered into the tool.

“If the tool indicates that a patient requires further attention, then they would be referred to a specialist.”

The study is part of Associate Professor Jelinek’s long term research in the use of electro-cardiogram (ECG) data for early detection of diseases common in regional Australia such as depression, heart disease and diabetes.

“I have been working with international students and researchers in this field for over 15 years now, and we are starting to get a large body of data that has led to the development of new ways to detect eye disease, heart disease and depression,’ Prof Jelinek said (pictured left).

“Having international students and researchers here at CSU has brought new and exciting ideas and solutions to the Border region and has contributed to CSU’s international reputation in the area of biomedical science.”

During his three months at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, Mr Wehler is also investigating the use of a simple diagnostic tool to assess patients for diabetes using selected sections of a patient’s ECG reading.

“We are looking to develop an app where a patient wearing a smart watch could provide a short segment of their pulse rate and enough information that a regional health worker or allied health professional could use to identify possible complications of diabetes,” Mr Wehler said.

Mr Wehler is due to leave CSU Albury-Wodonga in September this year, but he will continue working on the projects after returning home to continue his studies.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

For interviews with Mr Dominik Wehler and Associate Professor Herbert Jelinek, both based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, contact CSU Media.

CSU Green tackles e-waste at Wangaratta STEM Careers Expo

Tuesday 14 Aug 2018

* CSU exhibits at STEM Careers Expo at the Galen Catholic College Stadium in Wangaratta on Wednesday 15 August

* CSU Green champions ‘e-waste’ as a valuable resource, to deflect harmful materials from landfill

* CSU is committed to reducing waste across the University from all sources including e-waste

The environmental problem that is electronic waste (e-waste) will be on show at a Charles Sturt University (CSU) display at the National Science Week STEM Careers Expo event in Wangaratta on Wednesday 15 August.

Coordinator for Partnerships with CSU Green Ms Michelle Wilkinson said, “We will show that old televisions, computers, and mobiles are a waste problem that needs solutions from science, as well as by changing people’s behaviours.

“While this so-called ‘e-waste’ has valuable resources that can be extracted, it can also be a source of harmful materials that takes up valuable space in landfill sites.

“This is a problem across Australia. For example, in the year to June 2018, nearly 80,000 old televisions were delivered to the Albury Waste Management Centre, and over 41,000 were disposed of in Wodonga. At the same time, nearly 40,000 old computers and mobiles were delivered to the two centres.”

Ms Wilkinson said that CSU is committed to reducing waste across the University from all sources, including e-waste, and like many regional businesses e-waste is a large proportion of its waste stream.

“Our display at the Wangaratta event will highlight to high school students and the wider community that we have to stop seeing superseded and disposed electronic devices as ‘waste’ and start seeing them as a source of resources, creativity, and even business opportunities! And we can do this through creative science,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“While Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) courses are often responsible for generating e-waste, they can also produce solutions, and Charles Sturt University wants to be part of the solution.”

Ms Wilkinson will attend the CSU Green display as part of the STEM Careers Expo which starts for high school students at 12pm on Wednesday 15 August in the Galen Catholic College Stadium in Wangaratta, and at 4 pm for the whole community.

The display will also include information about STEM courses at CSU, including agricultural sciences, health sciences, environmental sciences, information technology, mathematics, and engineering.

Media Contact: Jessica Mansour-Nahra, 0447 737 948

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with CSU Green's Ms Michelle Wilkinson.

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, or Darius Rountree-Harrison on 0421 821 978 or email

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.

MyDay showcases CSU courses to future students

Friday 22 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.

Course for ageing well in North East Victoria

Tuesday 1 May 2018

> CSU is offering a short course on strengthening community capacity to support ageing people in North East Victoria.

> Nearly one-third of people in the Ovens-Murray region are currently aged over 60 years.

> Course aims to help community account and prepare for an ageing population in the region.

Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the Department of Health Human Services Victoria (DHHS) have created a program that will help services and community members develop the skills to effectively address community needs for an ageing population.

"The course aims to support participants to think innovatively to develop a liveable and inclusive community for older people, while fostering partnerships between course participants and colleagues and relevant agencies,” said CSU Wangaratta Regional Study Centre Manager Ms Ilena Young.

“In the Ovens Murray region, people aged 60 and over account for 32 per cent of our community,” said DHHS Director for Eastern Division (2017), Ms Sandy Austin.

“More people over 60 live, work, learn and contribute to our community than any other group in the region,” Ms Sandy Austin said.

The course consists of four modules, each running face-to-face for two days.

During the course, participants will learn how to:

> Understand and interpret various social models of ageing;

> Examine the social determinants of health in ageing;

> Analyse choices and options available to older adults;

> Create social policy for age friendly communities;

> Develop individual and structural healthy ageing opportunities; and

> Develop systems necessary to support this work.

DHHS have put forward funding to support scholarships which reduce the cost by 50 per cent.

The course totals eight days in all, with the first two-day module commencing at 9am on Thursday 24 May, at the CSU Wangaratta Regional Study Centre, 218 Tone Rd, Wangaratta.

Successful completion of the course and the associated assessment tasks can give participants one subject credit towards the CSU Graduate Certificate in Gerontology and Master of Gerontology.

Media Contact: Wes Ward , (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:

For interviews with CSU Wangaratta Regional Study Centre Manager, Ms Ilena Young, contact CSU Media.

See online brochure for details on and application for the course.

CSU helping people age well

Wednesday 21 Mar 2018

Are you aged 60 years or over and looking to maintain or improve your brain power or physical strength?

Academics from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga are looking for participants in their ‘Ageing Well’ program which aims to enhance older people’s physical and cognitive abilities.

Participants will have access to allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, podiatrists and physiotherapists, who will support and supervise CSU students to deliver the weekly program.

Project coordinator and occupational therapist Dr Melissa Nott said, “Healthy ageing is more than increasing the number of life-years without disability. It’s about creating an opportunity for older people to actively participate in the everyday functional tasks that give their life meaning and value.

“We know that keeping active later in life brings incredible benefits for older people, in mental and physical wellbeing.”

Dr Nott, from the CSU School of Community Health, believes that working in community groups also enhances social connection and reduces feeling of isolation for older people.

“This project provides an opportunity for Charles Sturt University students to work in partnership with older people to assist them while gaining skills for their future careers as health professionals in regional areas.

“We are also keen for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50 years to take part in the program.”

Participants will sign up for a one-hour session each Thursday for 10 weeks. The sessions will involve individual and group activities from Thursday 19 April 2018.

The program will be held in the Community Engagement and Wellness (CEW) Centre, Ellis Street, at CSU’s Thurgoona site.

For more information and to sign up for the program, contact Dr Nott on (02) 6051 9246 or send an email to

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

A media event announcing the project will be held with project coordinators Dr Melissa Nott and Dr Kristy Robson at 10am on Thursday 22 March in the Community Engagement and Wellness (CEW) Centre, Ellis Street, on the CSU site at Thurgoona.

For interviews at other times with Dr Nott or Dr Robson, contact CSU Media.

Albury launch for writing handbook

Tuesday 6 Mar 2018

A leading education researcher at Charles Sturt University (CSU) will launch a new book this week that recognises that young writers need support from a very early age.

Associate Professor Noella Mackenzie in the CSU School of Education located in Albury-Wodonga is the lead editor of the book and either wrote or co-authored 6 or the 13 book chapters in Understanding and supporting Young Writers from Birth to 8.
The book explores what it means to be a young child learning to write in the 21st Century.

“Writing has possibly eclipsed reading as the critical literacy skill for children to learn,” Professor Mackenzie said.

“The book fills a gap in literacy education, and provides practitioners such as early childhood and primary school teachers with the skills and knowledge they need to effectively support young children as they learn to write.”

The book will be launched by one of the NSW Directors of School Education in Albury, Dr Brad Russell, and CSU’s Head of the School of Education, Associate Professor David Smith.

Teachers, educators and interested members of the community from both sides of the border have been invited to the afternoon event. The launch will be hosted by the Albury Library Museum and sponsored by the local chapter of the Australian Literacy Educator’s Association.

In addition, the launch event will be attended by other co-authors of the book, who are all based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, as well as some of the children who took part in research and provided pictures for the book.

  • Event details
    Where: Albury Library Museum, Kiewa St, Albury
    When: starting 4.30pm on Thursday 8 March

Read and hear further details here on the book Understanding and supporting Young Writers from Birth to 8.

Media Contact: Bruce Andrews, 0418 669 362

Media Note:

As well as attending the launch, Associate Professor Noella Mackenzie, who is based at CSU in Albury-Wodonga, is available for interviews between 9 and 10am on Thursday 8 March through CSU Media.

Public lecture on rights and innovation for older workers

Thursday 8 Feb 2018

Older workers in Australia are facing a ‘Catch-22’ situation.

“Workforce trends and government policy tell us we will need to work longer before achieving a well-earned retirement,” says Head of Campus at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga, Dr Jennifer Munday.

“At the same time, many older workers report experiencing discrimination in their search for jobs.”

Dr Kay PattersonThe federal Age Discrimination Commissioner, The Honorable Dr Kay Patterson, AO, will address this dilemma and present some solutions in a free public lecture titled ‘Older Workers - Rights, Innovation and Inclusion’.

This free event will be held as part of the University’s Exploration Series at CSU in Albury-Wodonga on Tuesday 13 February.

“We invite the people of Albury-Wodonga and surrounding areas to meet Dr Patterson and hear about how we might resolve this dilemma,” Dr Munday said.

Dr Patterson will also discuss innovative opportunities for promoting the rights of older workers and creating an inclusive and productive workforce for Australia.

Event details:

When: 6pm - 7pm, Tuesday 13 February (followed by light refreshments)

Where: CD Blake Auditorium (Building 751, Room 104), CSU in Albury-Wodonga,
off Elizabeth Mitchell Drive, Thurgoona

Parking: Car Park 2

About the Exploration Series

The Explorations Series brings speakers from diverse disciplines to CSU campuses to share the latest ideas, thinking and opinions on contemporary social, scientific and cultural issues.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Advice for parents on university options

Monday 18 Sep 2017

Parents of Year 11 and 12 students looking for guidance on the next steps for their children on their path to a university education can meet with representatives from Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Albury-Wodonga on Thursday 21 September.

"We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to attend university if they want to," said the coordinator of the CSU Parent Information evenings, Ms Katy Fardell.

"A degree can open up a world of possibility for a person's future career, community, and personal development.

"Parents play an important role in helping their child make that choice by providing advice, guidance and support as they consider their options as they approach the end of their schooling.

"That's why Charles Sturt University is giving parents the opportunity to get first-hand information about studying at the University," Ms Fardell said.

"From applying, pathways and costs, to scholarships, accommodation and support, these events help parents help their child prepare for university."

In addition, the NSW University Admission Centre will also attend the Albury event to explain the ATAR score that their child receives after the Higher School Certificate exams, how it is calculated, and the university preference system.

The free CSU Parents Information Evening will run from 5.30pm to 7.30pm in the Stanley A Room in the Commercial Club Albury, Dean Street, Albury. Please register to attend here.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:
For interviews with Ms Katy Fardell, contact CSU Media.

Supporting educational aspirations of people with disability

Friday 8 Sep 2017

People living with disability are looking to higher education as a path to engaging with meaningful activity in their community, particularly in regional areas. But can our regional universities support these aspirations?

Researchers from five universities including Charles Sturt University (CSU) are currently investigating the experiences of people with disability who aspire to complete a university course in regional Australia.

The research team is now calling for people with disability in regional areas from Wangaratta in Victoria to Port Macquarie in NSW to share their experiences of higher education, particularly those:

  • currently at high school in Years 10 and 11 and who are interested to go to university; and,
  • mature aged people who  haven't been to university but are interested in study.

Clare Wilding"We want to interview volunteers from regional communities to understand their perceptions of higher education. We are investigating the barriers for people with disability in undertaking a university course," said CSU researcher Dr Clare Wilding.

"The uptake of higher education by people with disability is lower in regional areas than for their city counterparts," Dr Wilding said.

"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, people with disability are more likely to have lower levels of educational attainment. Furthermore, data from the bureau showed that there are more people aged 15 to 64 years living with disability in regional areas – around 18 per cent - than those living in major cities, which is 13 per cent. So we should see a higher proportion of students with disability from regional areas attending university."

"However, only two per cent of people with disability living in Australia's regional or remote areas are currently studying in higher education, compared with four per cent in a major city.

"We want to find out why this pattern is happening, and how universities, governments and the community can address the problem," she said.

As part of the project, the researchers have already surveyed and interviewed students with disability who are currently enrolled in regional universities.

"Through this research, we hope to improve access and participation in higher education by regional people with disability, particularly those from a low socio-economic background," Dr Wilding said.

The upcoming round of interviews will be conducted using media to suit the volunteer participants: by telephone, instant messaging, Skype, email or face-to-face. People wishing to participate should contact Ms Kate Freire on (02) 6051 9355 or email

The researchers aim to complete and analyse the interviews before the end of 2017, and report final recommendations to the Federal Department of Education by the middle of 2018.

Media Contact: Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Interviews with project researcher Dr Clare Wilding are available through CSU Media.

The research project, titled "Understanding how regionality and socioeconomic status intersect with disability", is funded by the Federal Department of Education.

The project has been approved by the CSU Human Ethics Committee, project number H17124.

Other partners in the project are Federation University in Victoria, and University of Southern Queensland, Central Queensland University and James Cook University in Queensland.

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