Chronic pain researcher needs your vote

Update: University of Queensland graduate and chronic pain researcher Georgia Richards has been awarded The Australian Women’s Weekly Qantas Women of the Future Judges' Choice Award which honours people who are pursuing a dream to help others. See her acceptance speech here (10:30). 

Georgia, who graduated as a Bachelor of Science (Biomedical Science) with First Class Honours in Pharmacology last year, hopes to help alleviate the silent epidemic of suffering in Australia.

“One in five Australians suffers chronic pain, which costs the Australian economy $35 billion a year,” she said.

“My research project in chronic pain was shaped from the time I worked as a pharmacy assistant when I became intrigued with the use and dependence on prescription medications, particularly strong pain-relievers like opioids.”

Georgia has been nominated as one of the top 15 competition nominees, and you can help Georgia win the People’s Choice Award by voting here (to vote, scroll down past the information on Georgia to where all 15 names are, then click the ‘Vote Now’ button. Multiple votes are permitted).

The Scientific Program Committee for the 16th World Congress on Pain has accepted Georgia’s research findings to be presented at the International Association Study of Pain (IASP) Conference in Yokohama, Japan this September. This award would allow Georgia to grow her research ideas and network with professors, doctors and scientists from all over the world. 

Georgia, who was a 2015 UQ Advantage Ambassador, is currently working at the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation at Greenslopes Private Hospital.  She works on the Veteran Mental Health Initiative that investigates Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and the experience of reintegration to civilian life for Australian military veterans.

“I dream of studying medicine and completing my PhD – so I can not only treat patients with chronic pain but carry out evidence-based research that will be translated into tangible outcomes to improve healthcare for Australians,” she said.

Emeritus Professor Jenny Strong of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences said Georgia's passion was to help people with chronic pain manage better and to raise awareness for the importance of medical research in Australia.

“A vote for Georgia is truly appreciated.  It will help spread information about the burden experienced by people who live, day after day, with persistent pain,” Professor Strong said.

“Someone reminded me that more people read the Women's Weekly than read our top Pain journal, so this is very exciting for our mission to improve pain management, and also, I believe, it is great for UQ.”

Georgia’s Honours Thesis was supervised by an interdisciplinary UQ team: Professor Strong; Associate Professor Lesley Lluka, of the School of Biomedical Sciences; Professor Maree Smith of the School of Pharmacy and Centre for Integrated Preclinical Drug Development; Professor Catherine Haslam of the School of Psychology; and Pain Specialists, Adjunct Associate Professor Brendan Moore of the Centre for Integrated Preclinical Drug Development; and Dr James O'Callaghan, at Brisbane Private Hospital and Greenslopes Private Hospital. 

Her profile is showcased in the August issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly, alongside the other 14 finalists.

Competition background: Now in its fourth year, The Australian Women’s Weekly Qantas Women of the Future competition encourages young women aged between 18 and 30 with a great business idea, charity or creative venture to fund, or innovation to research that will transform the lives of others, to enter. Eight winners will share in a prize pool of more than $100,000, which includes prize money, Qantas travel bursaries and 12-month Qantas Club memberships. 

The Judges (Lucy Turnbull, Julie Bishop, Olivia Wirth, Lisa Wilkinson, Chloe Shorten and Jesinta Campbell) will select the Judges’ Choice Award and six Runners-up Awards from the 15 semi-finalists.

The winners of The Australian Women’s Weekly Qantas Women of the Future Scholarship will be announced at an awards dinner in Sydney in late August. Don’t forget to vote for Georgia online here before 3 August.

Media: Georgia Richards,

Last updated:
1 September 2016