Scholarship opportunity for research into ear, nose and throat care

  • Ear inspection
  • Throat inspection

Photos: La Trobe University

Regional Victoria has been identified as a ‘hotspot’ of health inequality for ear, nose and throat (ENT) care and La Trobe University and the Murray Primary Health Network are seeking a PhD candidate to investigate.  

Many of us can relate to the annoying and lingering symptoms of ear, nose and throat conditions. Think ear infections, allergies, tonsillitis, sleep apnoea, grommets. The Perils of Place report produced by the Grattan Institute, identified that there are issues with ear nose and throat (ENT) care in rural Victoria.

Dr Evelien Spelten will supervise the successful PhD candidate and says the project has the potential to improve the health and wellbeing of rural Australians.

“Regional Victoria has been identified as a ‘hotspot’ - which is defined as a ‘small area with a relatively high risk of a particular health problem’. Hotspots point to health inequalities and worldwide are used to target and tailor health interventions,” Evelien said.

She said that anecdotal evidence from health care professionals in rural Victoria point to additional problems when it comes to ENT care.

“For example, there seems to be an undervalued ENT component to current asthma diagnoses. Care provision appears to be impacted by remoteness, low socioeconomic status, and the presence of a large Indigenous population. In addition, junior doctors and doctors working in general practice may lack sufficient ENT training due to a paucity of postgraduate ENT rotations and limited exposure in medical school,” Evelien said.

The La Trobe University PhD scholarship will be for three and a half years and is valued at $27,082 per annum.  

“There are many benefits to an aspiring researcher to take part in this industry PhD opportunity. Alongside the scholarship, the successful candidate will be able to build their professional and community networks, and will have access to La Trobe’s research network and to a suite of professional development programs,” Evelien said.  

The PhD project will be based in Mildura and will be conducted in close collaboration with local ENT, general practice and audiology services. The project is an opportunity for an honours degree graduate in public health, health sciences or (health) psychology looking to establish a research career.  

More information is available at


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