What experiences led you to your role?
I worked in research in clinical settings for 15 years, and then left academia to start my own health and medical research consultancy where I focused on bringing researchers, health staff and consumers together to solve challenges. I worked with so many different stakeholders all focused on improving health services and patient care – and it has been so rewarding to see the benefits to patients’ lives and experience. Returning to my hometown of Newcastle, I couldn’t resist this role where I can keep doing what I love to improve people’s health.
What do you find most fulfilling about your job?
It’s absolutely the people I work with. I’m surrounded by passionate people who genuinely want to make a difference. The best part about my job is getting to channel all that energy and passion into real, tangible benefits for our health services, patients, and their families!
Can you share a game changer moment or an accomplishment you’re particularly proud of?
When I was running my consultancy, I had the opportunity to work with a small charity started by a family with a son with cerebral palsy (CP). We organised a series of workshops followed by a national summit, bringing together experts including people with lived experience, to make access to physical therapies easier for children with CP. The then Minister of Health, Greg Hunt, joined us and through our collective efforts, we ended up changing policy to ensure children could access financial support to get the care they needed. It was exciting and so satisfying to see the power of evidence to bring about such positive change.
Do you have any advice or tips for someone who aspires to work in a similar role or industry?
The key is to talk and listen to people. Understanding what people need is vital in this line of work. Collaborating and exchanging ideas is how we can all grow and make a meaningful impact together. And be open to learning from others; no one person has all the answers!
What’s an interesting or unexpected fact that others might not know about you?
I love combat and boxing classes at the gym. Maybe it’s therapeutic? It keeps me focused and refreshed. I also love hiking – Tasmania is one of my favourite places to go hiking.
Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives where you are looking for new collaborators?
We’re always looking for new collaborators! Together, we can achieve so much more than we can alone. The beauty of our research translation centre is that it’s a ready-made partnership to take research to the next level, adapt and test it in different settings, and make an even bigger impact.