ABOVE: Dr Tara Boelsen-Robinson presents in the Rising Star Symposium at the Asia-Oceania Conference on Obesity in Hong Kong.
Dr Tara Boelsen-Robinson has completed a PhD evaluating healthy food retail policies in community settings and has worked to produce and measure outcomes to advance this field relevant and useful for multiple stakeholders. In 2023 she was nominated by the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) to participate in the ‘Rising Star’ Symposium at the Asia-Oceania Conference on Obesity in Hong Kong, as their best candidate under 35 years of age.
She shares her experience of the trip she was able to make with extra support from Knowledge Exchange funding:
In early 2023 I was delighted to learn of my ANZOS selection to participate in the Rising Star Symposium at the Asia-Oceania Conference on Obesity from August 4-6, 2023, recognising outstanding researchers in the Asia-Oceania region in the field of obesity research. It was a career highlight for the society to recognise my contributions to the field of healthy food retail research, including novel methodological and conceptual advancements, collaborative partnerships, and the emphasis I have given to policy and practice outcomes of my research. In addition to funding from the Hong Kong Obesity Society, the CRE RE-FRESH Knowledge Exchange Award enabled me to present my work to peers on an international platform.
Alongside five other nominees from across Asia-Oceania, I presented on the pilot randomised control trial I was working on which involves testing the impact of co-created implementation tools to support healthy food retail environments, underpinned by a strong partnership with Health and Wellbeing Queensland.
This opportunity supported the global relevance, research translation, and international connections between RE-FRESH and the broader obesity prevention research community while representing the culmination of 10 years working in obesity, food retail, and public policy research.
I was thrilled to showcase the innovative work that RE-FRESH is part of and, in particular, the way we have fostered strong partnerships between research and health promotion to work towards real-world change. Presenting to an international audience of peers from across the obesity research community was a real privilege. I met a variety of researchers from fields the childhood obesity, treatment, basic science, and academic journals, and enjoyed the local Hong Kong cuisine together.
These connections and conversations highlighted to me the importance of a unified voice from the field, to be able to critically engage with a variety of topics outside your own expertise, and the incredible opportunities we have to learn from others across the globe.
I wish to thank the RE-FRESH CRE for the support provided to make this experience possible and to acknowledge the meaningful impact the CRE has had on my professional and personal development over the past 5 years.