The Child and Families Research team in the Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University hosted visiting International Researcher, Dr Karen Matvienko-Sikar from the School of Public Health (Scoil na Sláinte Poiblí), University College Cork (Ireland). This visit was funded by a Flinders Visiting International Research Fellowship.
Dr Matvienko-Sikar is an internationally recognised health psychologist whose research focuses on childhood obesity prevention, maternal health and wellbeing during the perinatal period, as well as health behaviours and psychophysiological indicators of well-being. Methodologically, Karen has expertise in intervention development, outcomes research, evidence syntheses and trial methodology.
During Karen’s visit, she presented a keynote seminar to staff at the Caring Futures Institute at Flinders University on ‘Supporting maternal and child health in first 1000 days: using behavioural science to improve development and use core outcome sets in trials”. This seminar was well attended and sparked a lot of conversation and interest in Core Outcome Sets and Core Outcome Measurement Sets. She also presented to on ‘Supporting maternal and child health in first 1000 days’.
The Children and Families Research team at Flinders University were then lucky to hear further from Karen on ‘Implementation Science and Core Outcome Sets’, as well as on her plans for her Health Research Board fellowship project, SCOPE COMS – A Standardised Approach to Measuring Infant Feeding Outcomes to Prevent Obesity. The SCOPE COMS project aligns with the work of EPOCH-Translate in developing the EPOCH Core Outcome Measures Set. Karen will be working closely with Dr Lucinda Bell (Stream 1) on EPOCH-COMS over the next few years. Karen has strong connections to both the COMET and COSMIN initiatives which provide guidance and support for development Core Outcome Sets and Core Outcome Measurement Sets.
Karen’s visit to Flinders University in South Australia, facilitated knowledge exchange, enhanced collaboration and fostered capacity building and professional development for researchers and health professionals across multiple institutions. These fundamental building blocks will further be strengthened through future collaborative opportunities to maximize the benefits of this visit.
We look forward to having Karen visit again (hopefully) soon or catching up with her next time in Ireland!