Case Studies & Profiles

HETI Awards in Psychiatry and Mental Health

Case study

Removing barriers to vital Alzheimer’s research

The Awards provided a platform to delve into full-time research and specialist training in a way that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible at this stage in my career. Programs like the HETI Awards in Psychiatry and Mental Health provide an exemplary model of developing workforce capacity. It is a unique opportunity to work across a diverse range of clinical settings, in addition to fostering the development of research, education and advocacy skills.

Dr Rebecca Koncz, Neuropsychiatrist and Senior Lecturer with the University of Sydney School of Medicine. NSWIOP Intellectual Disability Mental Health Fellowship (2016 – 2017) and a HETI Research Fellowship (2017 – 2018).

Sydney-based neuropsychiatrist and PhD candidate, Dr Rebecca Koncz, is a passionate advocate for the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) Awards in Psychiatry and Mental Health, having previously completed a NSWIOP Intellectual Disability Mental Health Fellowship, and a HETI Research Fellowship.

Formerly known as the NSWIOP Fellowships, this program has become the HETI Awards in Psychiatry and Mental Health. The HETI Awards in Psychiatry and Mental Health are fully funded and give recipients the opportunity to take part in specialty training or research to develop new skills in an area otherwise not possible without the Awards.

Dr Koncz’s Research Fellowship enabled her to pursue important research into the genetic and environmental factors contributing to Alzheimer’s disease. Now the basis of her PhD candidacy, Dr Koncz continues to work with researchers at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing, UNSW Sydney, using PET brain scans to investigate amyloid plaque build-up in twins over the age of 65 years.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a widespread and devastating illness that effects millions of people worldwide. The funding from HETI has given me the flexibility to make a contribution to this extremely important body of research,” she said.

There are few opportunities to pursue fulltime research during psychiatry training, or to develop specialist clinical skills in areas such as neuropsychiatry and intellectual disability mental health. Dr Koncz credits HETI with allowing her to overcome those barriers and help shape her career as a clinical academic in this field.

“The Fellowships provided a platform to delve into full-time research and specialist training in a way that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible at this stage in my career”.

In addition to her PhD, Dr Koncz has also recently been appointed as Senior Lecturer with the University of Sydney School of Medicine, and works clinically with Sydney Local Health District. As an advocate for her discipline, she was invited to speak at the 2018 National Round Table on the Mental Health of People with Intellectual Disability on the importance of adequate psychiatry training opportunities to improve the quality of care provided to this population.

“Programs like the HETI Awards in Psychiatry and Mental Health provide an exemplary model of developing workforce capacity. It is a unique opportunity to work across a diverse range of clinical settings, in addition to fostering the development of research, education and advocacy skills”.

“For anyone looking to acquire a diverse skill set, I would strongly recommend they apply for the HETI Awards in Psychiatry and Mental Health,” she said.

Key benefits

  • Specialist training and research
  • Make a contribution to the Mental Health sector
  • Fully funded

The Program