Dr Nicola Newton has won a 2014 NSW Tall Poppy award for her outstanding research into the prevention of substance misuse among young people.
As a Senior Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) and director of Prevention Research at the Centre for Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (CREMS), Dr Newton works to develop and implement internet-based drug prevention programs for schools. These include the Climate Schools health education programs, proven to reduce students’ consumption and increase their knowledge of alcohol and cannabis. Dr Newton is also developing additional programs that will target mental health and drug use concerns together, as well as target students’ use of other drugs such as new psychoactive substances.
As director of the CREMS Prevention Research stream, Dr Newton has overseen the development and distribution of an array of resources for school communities. These include drug information booklets tailored for parents, teachers and students; an app-based game; and a soon to be launched online education portal.
The annual Tall Poppy Awards recognise excellence in early career research across all the sciences, alongside a passion and capacity to communicate science to the community. Each year the winners participate in education and community outreach programs to inspire school students to pursue science-based careers and to foster an appreciation of science in the community at large. Dr Newton was one of five UNSW researchers to take home a Tall Poppy award in 2014, the largest number of winners from one university.
Pictured: Dr Newton (third from right) with fellow UNSW Tall Poppy winners and UNSW deputy vice-chancellor (research), Professor Les Field.