JCU Murtupuni Centre for Rural and Remote Health’s researcher Dr Yaqoot Fatima takes a win at the annual prestigious Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards

“The Tall Poppy Award recognises emerging research leaders and outstanding scientists in Australia. The winners of the Young Tall Poppy Science Awards (‘Tall Poppies’) play a key role in promoting interest in science among school students and teachers, as well as an understanding and appreciation of science in the broader community,” (AIPS,2021).


Dr Yaqoot Fatima joined the MCRRH in 2015 as a part of the research team. Dr Fatima, an epidemiologist, has a wide range of research skills much used by the health services of our region. She is also a Sleep Scientist, using large population data to identify what is causing poor sleep, how poor sleep affects our health, and how we can improve our sleep. This research suggests a significant increase in the burden of poor sleep in the community over the years. Unfortunately, many sleep problems remain undiagnosed and untreated due to the lack of awareness and appropriate services, resulting in a range of physical and mental health problems.

“Dr Fatima is an active mentor of local clinicians learning to do research, novice and early career researchers and has made a significant contribution to building research capacity in our region’, Professor Knight said. Collaborating with local services and community members, Dr Fatima is developing resources and programs to improve community awareness and understanding of sleep health and empowering community members to embrace sleep health. Her work is leading to local capacity building and inspiring new champions from the community who will be Australia’s first ever ‘Indigenous Sleep Coaches’. These efforts also resulting in a sleep clinic in Mount Isa, which will facilitate timely diagnosis and management of sleep issues in remote communities.

Through sleep health improvement, we can bring positive changes in our communities’ health, wellbeing, and productivity, and provide opportunities for living life to its fullest potential.

Dr Fatima said “this award recognises the contribution we make to developing research capacity in the outback and in real efforts to close the gap and the potential of sleep health. I’m thrilled,” she said.


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