A moment with Early-Career Researcher Dr Briony Hill

Tia Haralabakos Uncategorised

Dr Briony Hill plays a formative role in the health and social care industry. She is a Public Health Psychologist, Deputy Head of Health and Social Care at Monash University, Research Fellow at CRE HiPP and Chair of the HiPPP EMR-C.

As a Public Health Psychologist, Dr Hill’s interests are directed at problems such as lifestyle, health, and obesity prevention. 

“I focus on the interaction between psychosocial wellbeing and physical health, specifically in women before, during and after pregnancy,” Dr Hill said.

“I am also really keen to reduce weight stigma that is prevalent in society, and is a particular problem for women planning for, during and beyond pregnancy.” 

Whilst it is fair to assume that Dr Hill’s strengths reside in health and social care research, she also has a notable history in the performing arts sector.  

She spent over 20 years as a dancer, moving through classical ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary styles. 

“I performed on stage at the State Theatre in Victoria in a professional production of 42nd Street…” she said. 

“That certainly feels like a lifetime ago.” 

More recently, Dr Briony Hill’s achievement of being awarded the National Health and Medical Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship was a major career break for her.  

“This competitive fellowship gave me the confidence to continue to pursue my research and cultivate my passion in my chosen field,” she said. 

The NHMRC fellowship provides opportunities for Australian researchers to undertake advanced training in health and medical research to foster career development. 

Dr Hill’s NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (2016-2021) concerns preconception wellbeing in the Health and Social Care Unit at Monash University. 

The miracle of pregnancy continues to fascinate Dr Hill and is the source of inspiration behind her work.  

“The more I work in this field, the more passionate I get about learning how best we can work with people to motivate them to become the best and healthiest versions of themselves in the transition to parenthood,” she said. 

Dr Hill’s genuine interest in resolving public health problems and uplifting people through parenthood stems from strong memories of her mother.  

“My mum passed away 11 years ago, shortly before I commenced my PhD,” she said. 

“She inspired me then and continues to inspire me now.

“She had a fighting spirit, and I try to use that energy in tough times – the grant and paper rejections – to keep going and achieve as much as I can.” 

Driven by this spirit, Dr Hill keeps it real with students who are considering a research career.  

“The current research climate is highly competitive and advancing all the time,” she said. 

“But don’t let that stop you if research is your calling.

“I like to talk frankly with my students. I’m a realist, but always will encourage and support their decisions.”