Research Fellow Dr Zac Seidler from Orygen wins Emerging Health Researcher Award


The Bupa Foundation has announced Dr Zac Seidler, Research Fellow at Orygen at the University of Melbourne, as the winner of the 2021 Bupa Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award.

The Award, which includes a $25,000 grant, will allow Dr Seidler to further his research into understanding men’s experiences of mental healthcare, improving the services they receive and reducing the high and rising rate of male suicide.

Dr Seidler’s work includes the development of ‘Men in Mind’, a world first online training intervention program developed to help upskill mental health practitioners working with men. During the initial pilot training program, participants reported a significant increase in their competence and confidence in working with men as a result of the training.

Dr Seidler has also tailored both a ‘gatekeeper’ training course and a suicide safety planning app to engage men and help them identify and respond to suicidal thoughts in their male friends and family.

“Men’s mental health is finally on our radar as a research community thanks to years of grassroots advocacy by organisations like Movember. We are now starting to grapple with the fact that, on average, 7 men a day die by suicide in Australia, and it is the leading cause of death for young men. We have a long way to go to understand, reach and respond to men in distress, but the work is well and truly underway, as we seek out men’s diverse voices and opinions to drive much-needed change.” Dr Seidler said.

Bupa Asia Pacific’s Chief Executive Officer Hisham El-Ansary congratulated Dr Seidler on the Award.

“The Bupa Foundation’s Emerging Health Researcher Award recognises the incredible health and medical research talent we have here in Australia. This year, Bupa is supporting emerging leaders focused on building mentally healthy, resilient communities.

“Dr Seidler’s research is making a significant contribution to improved prevention, early intervention and treatments to support men’s mental health.

“At the same time, he is advocating for and engaging the wider community in the need for better approaches to this major health issue that is impacting people and families across the world,” according to Hisham.

The Bupa Foundation also named an additional four Finalists and five Commendations as part of this year’s Awards process, resulting in a total Award allocation of $50,000. Over the last ten years, the Bupa Emerging Health Researcher Awards have provided more than half a million dollars to support some of Australia’s brightest health and medical researchers.

This year’s Bupa Emerging Health Researcher Finalists, who will each receive a $5,000 grant are:

  • Dr Carly Johnco, Senior Research Fellow and NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow, Macquarie University
  • Dr Long Khanh-Dao Le, Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Deakin University Institute
  • Dr Shanshan Li, Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Head of Monash Climate, Air Quality Research Unit, Monash Unit
  • Dr Gemma Sharp, NHMRC Early Career Senior Research Fellow & Clinical Psychologist, Monash University

Penelope Strauss from Telethon Kids, Dr Louise Lavrencic from Neuroscience Research Australia, Dr Claire Blewitt from Monash University, Jennifer Debenham from University of Sydney and Kristin Carson-Chahhoud University of South Australia all received Commendations and will receive a $1,000 grant each.

For details on past winners of the Bupa Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award, visit here.