About Professor Susan Rachel Skinner

Associate Professor Skinner undertakes research in adolescent sexual and reproductive health, trying to understand why adolescents engage in sexual behaviour which puts them at risk of sexually transmitted infection and unplanned pregnancy even though they may often know that they need to use contraception or condoms. She has also done world first research on HPV vaccines including on how best tovaccinate adolescents against HPV.

Associate Professor's current research program on adolescent sexual and reproductive health spans several areas, including 1) School based HPV vaccination of adolescents: this PhD opportunity will use mixed methods to understand determinants of uptake of HPV vaccine; knowledge, attitudes and acceptance of the vaccine; health literacy around the HPV vaccine; strategies to improve uptake of the vaccine. This PhD opportunity is linked to two large NHMRC projects. 2). The health, social and economic consequences of risky behaviour in adolescence: a data-linkage analysis of the Raine birth cohort. This PhD opportunity will use quantitative methods to examine antecedents, trajectories of risky behaviour patterns in adolescence and adverse health and social outcomes in young adulthood. This is linked to current NHMRC project grant funding. 3) Social Networks and Agency Project (SNAP) in adolescence: This ARC funded project is a longitudinal follow up of an adolescent cohort and has collected qualitative and quantitative data on social networks on-line and off-line, social media use, relationships and sexual behaviour of adolescence during a key developmental stage. The PhD opportunity is mixed methods and involves the analysis of the existing dataset.

Her work in this field has used multiple methods including qualitative designs, quantitative cross-sectional surveys, longitudinal cohort and intervention development and evaluation. These studies, funded through a combination of NHMRC, the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging, the WA Raine Medical Foundation and the WA Department of Communicable Diseases, are providing unique understandings into the early life, social and contextual influences on teenage risky sexual behaviour; and why teenagers use or don't use contraception and condoms for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevention. These data have contributed unique understandings into why teenagers engage in risky sexual behaviour, have unplanned pregnancies and contract STIs, and the experiences and outcomes for teenagers who chose motherhood at an early age. This type of research is unique, given the ethical sensitivities of studying sexual behaviour in adolescents, and the challenges in recruiting and retaining teenage mothers in longitudinal research. Associate Professor Skinner is also a CI on University of Sydney Medical Foundation's ARCHER (Adolescent Rural Cohort: Hormones, Environment, and Relationships) study, initiated in 2007. This study is the first study to objectively measure the influence of puberty hormones on onset and tempo of puberty and how this impacts on a range of health and well-being outcomes in adolescence and adulthood, including risk taking behaviour.
Associate Professor S. Rachel Skinner is a fulltime clinical academic and in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health (DPCH), University of Sydney at the Children's Hospital Westmead, in 2007. She holds honorary research and academic titles with the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Perth and the School of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Australia. She is an adolescent physician and consults in adolescent gynaecology at the Children's Hospital Westmead, Sydney. Associate Professor Skinner received an MBBS in1989, and then FRACP (Paediatrics) in 1999 after training at the Royal Children's Hospital and the Centre for Adolescent Health, Melbourne and the Mount Sinai Hospital Adolescent Health Center in New York. Her PhD (Melbourne University) was awarded in 2003. Associate Professor Skinner has been awarded over $3 million in nationally competitive research grants, and has been awarded over $5 million in research funding overall. She is recognised as a national opinion leader in adolescent sexual health and HPV immunization as reflected in 14 invitations for keynote presentations (3 national and 3 international fully funded). She has 36 peer review journal publications, with 31 of these in the last 5 years, 2 published book chapters, 2 published reports and 21 first author presentations of original research. She has a further 4 journal manuscripts currently submitted and under review. Associate Professor Skinner has contributed to our understanding of adolescent contraception and condom use, teenage pregnancy and teenage motherhood in Australia. Associate Professor Skinner has also made an outstanding contribution to research in HPV vaccination, including being a principal investigator on pivotal phase III clinical trial evaluations of the bivalent HPV vaccine (Cervarix). She has also undertaken research evaluating the delivery of vaccines against sexually transmitted infections to adolescents (HBV and HPV) through school vaccination programs. Her research has led to widespread adoption of school based

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Selected publications

For a comprehensive list of Associate Professor Skinner's publicatons, please visit her Sydney Medical School profile page.