The CRE in PCOS supported Melanie Gibson-Helm to attend the Androgen Excess and PCOS (AE-PCOS) Annual Meeting in beautiful Siracusa, Italy, during October 2015. As a relatively small and specialised conference it was a great opportunity for Melanie meet and spend time with many of the world leaders in PCOS research. She gave an oral presentation on women’s experiences of PCOS diagnosis, key concerns and information and support needs. The study Melanie is working on, is an international collaboration and attendance at the AE-PCOS conference allowed her to meet, for the first time in person, with her international collaborators to progress her work. Her presentation generated a lot of interest and a number of people approached her about working together to extend the research to other countries and languages.

An international consensus meeting on the name of PCOS followed the conference. As Melanie had been involved in the pre-meeting preparation and had also given an oral presentation about findings from international consumer and clinician consultation that she had been involved in, she was invited to attend. This was her first involvement in a consensus meeting and it was a valuable experience for which she learned a great deal about how to conduct and participate in this type of activity.

In summary being given the opportunity to attend this conference via the CRE PCOS travel grant, enhanced Melanie’s research activities by broadening and progressing her collaborations with leading researchers; providing an opportunity to reinforce the importance of timely PCOS diagnosis and the need for evidence-based educational resources for both consumers and clinicians; and finally, the findings from widespread consultation made a major contribution to the process concerning a potential name change.

Melanie Gibson-Helm is a PhD student at Monash University. Melanie Gibson-Helm applied for and received a travel grant from the CRE PCOS in 2015 to attend the AE-PCOS Annual Meeting. Keep up to date with when the next round of grants and scholarships will be offered via the Professional Development pages.