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Darren Webb

PhD candidate
Faculty of Computing, Health & Science


Helping others "Take Charge of Life"

Currently, I am the Senior Research Assistant (eHealth) at the Vario Health Institute (VHI) based at Edith Cowan University’s Joondalup Campus. Having studied a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology and then a Master of Computer Science, I have been involved in a number of medico-technical projects, the latest being the development of the VHI Men’s eHealth Network (MEHN) with my work colleague, Shane Johnstone. This website (www.mehn.org.au) features an online community, which aims to encourage men to adopt positive lifestyle changes (i.e. seek help from health professionals, increase physical activity levels, enjoy healthier diets and speak out about troubling issues). 

Ultimately this research project will identify new approaches for reducing the high proportion of male deaths (5 male deaths every hour), that could be prevented by lifestyle changes and reduce the disparity of health opportunities for regional, rural and remotely located men. As a result of our work with the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA), Shane and I were both awarded honorary PCFA ambassadorships in February 2010.

My interest in eHealth, Telemedicine and Health Informatics has been driven by my experiences as a Telemedicine technician while working for MedicVision, a private medical technology company based at UWA’s Collaborative Training and Education Centre (CTEC). I am now pursuing a PhD in eHealth titled “An internet community based exercise healthcare intervention in the Australian office workplace” through the School of Computer and Security Science at ECU. My PhD research looks at whether an online community can motivate a population of sedentary, office-based employees to exercise in a workplace setting. I believe this research will have widespread and significant impact both in improving healthworkers’ understanding of sedentary populations and in further tailoring ways to use online media to increase motivation to make lifestyle improvements.

My reason for working in research is to see others “Take Charge of Life” (the MEHN slogan) by reducing the incidence of preventable chronic diseases stemming from poor lifestyle choices and to see the successful implementation of technologies that facilitate that reduction. While I enjoy anything technically challenging, I also enjoy participating in collaborative applied research with real-life applications and benefits to end-users.

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