ATODA is seeking to support public health initiatives across the ACT and region and has developed partnerships towards improving public health outcomes of the community.
Improving Public health Outcomes through the Canberra Pollen Monitoring Program
ATODA has established a partnership with the Department of Archaeology and Natural History at the Australian National University (ANU) with its participation to the Canberra Pollen Monitoring Program.
In October 2014 was launched the pollen monitoring project and has since achieved a number of significant research outcomes and has been able to successfully engaged the public through social and print media.
Key outcomes for 2014
- From 1 October to 31 December 2014, pollen counts were successfully counted by an ATODA staff member who provided high quality daily pollen counts from the ATODA-based monitoring station (Watson) and uploaded the data to the Canberrapollen.com.au website
- The Canberra Pollen iPhone and android app delivered this data to the Canberra population on a daily basis and was downloaded by over 3500 people in the Canberra region
- The online survey of Hay Fever suffering had 6400 responses which enabled to provide the first evaluation of “hotspots” for hay fever suffering in the ACT
- “Extreme” grass pollen days were identified in the project and appear to be associated with high incidence of Asthma suffering in the region (ongoing research)
- The possibility that “Thunderstorm Asthma” is a phenomenon in the Canberra region was identified in this study
- Public awareness of the project was assisted through regular radio and newspaper articles (see Media section below or go to @CanberraPollen twitter feed for details)
- In December of 2014, the project received an “Innovative Communications Award (Highly Commended)” from Strategic Communications and Public Affairs at ANU.
In 2015, it is hoped the project could expand the monitoring program to include a longer period for pollen monitoring (September 2015 – February 2016). Discussions with researchers from across Australia are in process to develop a truly national pollen monitoring network to provide similar program that was developed in the ACT to other capital cities and regional population centres around Australia (see http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-09/australian-allergy-sufferers-given-more-time-to-prepare/6291588?WT.ac=localnews_brisbane).
Canberra’s hay fever hot spot revealed (Canberra Times, 9 January 2015)
Thunderstorms cause havoc for Canberra’s hay fever sufferers (Canberra Times, 9 January 2015)
Canberra sneezes through worst hay fever season in years (Canberra Times, 7 November 2014)
Hay fever misery prediction: some to get off lightly, others to suffer (The Conversation, 8 October 2014)
Last Updated 20 April 2015