UNSW academic receives NSW Public Health Impact Award

Associate Professor Holly Seale has been recognised for her contribution to public health in developing a COVID-19 vaccination glossary and training program targeting people from diverse backgrounds.
Yolande Hutchinson | UNSW Newsroom

The NSW Branch of the Public Health Association has awarded UNSW Associate Professor Holly Seale the 2021 Public Health Impact Award for her outstanding contribution to public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A/Prof. Seale from UNSW Medicine & Health received the award in recognition of her work in developing a COVID-19 vaccination glossary and for delivering communication training sessions targeting people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

The COVID-19 Glossary of Immunisation and Vaccine Development was developed to provide plain language meanings to complex immunisation and vaccine development and terms in 31 languages.

The training sessions were developed to enhance the confidence and skills of those working within government and non-government organisations as well as community and religious leaders when discussing COVID-19.

“During the pandemic I had the opportunity to speak to over 60 stakeholders across the multicultural sector. I heard their stories; about the work they were doing to support their communities during the COVID pandemic. Adding another piece to the COVID response puzzle, I wanted to support the sector with these resources and to enhance engagement with the COVID-19 vaccination program,” A/Prof. Seale said.

Scientia Professor Vlado Perkovic, Dean of UNSW Medicine & Health congratulated A/Prof. Seale for her award and work during the pandemic.

“The Glossary and training sessions run by Holly were vital in efforts to control the pandemic last year. She did a wonderful job in explaining the complex vaccine medical terminology in simple and easy to understand language. The glossary has been extremely helpful for those working with the CALD community in communicating about vaccine development and implementation,” Prof. Perkovic said.

The COVID-19 Glossary was developed in partnership with NSW Health and used by community organisations, translators and interpreters, bilingual workers, and community leaders in communicating about vaccine development and implementation in Australia. It recently received funding from the Australian Government to be updated into an app-based version. Internationally, the Glossary has been adopted for use in Nepal to support local COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

The training package was adapted from a program designed by the Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation.  A/Prof. Seale voluntarily delivered over 50 hours of training sessions during 2021, involving those working in CALD community organisations, people working in the homeless sector, and those working with people living with mental health issues, disability and HIV, including case workers, doctors and nurses.