Researcher recognised with Churchill Fellowship

Dr Abbott with the Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC

Dr Penelope Abbott, Senior Lecturer at Western Sydney University’s School of Medicine has been awarded an esteemed 2018 Churchill Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

Dr Abbott is one of 112 Fellows awarded Australia-wide who have been recognised for their expertise and contribution to current issues affecting Australians.

The fellowship will fund Dr Abbott’s travel to the United States and Canada in 2019 to research health care accessibility for people in contact with the criminal justice system.

Here, she will engage with community-based primary healthcare organisations, prison health services, re-entry health programs and workforce educators to identify strategies to guide care for people suffering from addictions or cycling imprisonment.

“Most people in prison actually have short sentences, often cycling between prison and the community, and their offending is strongly related to health issues, particularly in terms of mental health and drug and alcohol use,” she said.

“This means we can do something about that – by making sure that the care they need is easily accessible and that providers can work well with this group of our community.

“Canada and the US have more experience in the primary care transformations we are moving towards – I want to see how they manage this.”

Dr Abbott has been a long-standing advocate for improving health and wellbeing outcomes among the community, and recently completed her PhD exploring health care access for women leaving prison.

“I really do believe that the success of our society relates to how well we include everyone in moving forward towards a great future,” she said.

“People in prison and leaving prison need excellent health care access and expert care that meets their needs so that the cycle of being incarcerated when you are actually in need of healthcare can be broken.”

Dr Abbott will be abroad for six weeks returning to the University in mid-June 2019.

Established after Sir Winston Churchill’s death in 1965, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and the Churchill Fellowship are funded by the $4,412,000 raised in his name by the Australian community.


9 November 2018

Ali Sardyga, Marketing Officer