NSWRHP Clinical Epidemiology Scholars for 2020

Agatha Conrad

Dr Agatha Conrad is the Research Manager for Hunter New England Mental Health (HNE MH) and head of the Mental Health - Research, Evaluation, Analysis & Dissemination (MH-READ) unit. In her current role, she provides clinical and strategic research leadership and support to the mental health executive, and HNE mental health professionals more generally. Agatha is a clinical psychologist with a PhD in psychology and a doctorate in clinical psychology. She wants to develop her clinical epidemiology and biostatistical skills to guide her team in new mental health research projects.

Dr Agatha Conrad

Emma Croker

Dr Emma Croker is an Advanced Trainee in Endocrinology with Hunter New England LHD. She works with the Diabetes Alliance which includes providing an outreach service for rural and remote communities whereby GPs and nurses are supported to manage patients with diabetes in primary care. She applied for the scholarship to improve her skills and understanding of clinical epidemiology and statistics. She would like to use these skills to undertake research within the Diabetes Alliance with the aim of improving the health of rural patients with diabetes.

Dr Emma Croker

Josephine is a Dietitian for Hunter New England LHD. In her role, she provides specialised medical nutrition therapy in an outpatient setting to a range of patients with diabetes and related co-morbidities. Josephine applied for the scholarship as epidemiology has always been a passion of hers. She is keen to learn more about the prevalence of malnutrition in new refugee arrivals to the Newcastle region, as well as food security and health literacy among refugee and migrant communities in Newcastle and the Maitland region.

Josephine Englefield

Nayerra is a Program Manager and Public Health Nutritionist at HNE Population Health. She leads a small team of health professionals to deliver a state-wide initiative across the Hunter New England region. Nayerra applied for the scholarship to develop core research skills pertaining to research design and methods that can be translated to service improvement initiatives. In particular, she has been involved in implementing a randomised control trial and would like to develop a greater understanding of the research components involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of such trials.

Nayerra Hudson

Jennie King

Dr Jennie King is the Research Nurse Consultant for the Nursing and Midwifery Directorate at Central Coast LHD. Her role involves leadership, consultancy and support to nurses and midwives in the development and utilisation of research knowledge in clinical practice. She applied for the scholarship to enhance her skills and refresh her knowledge of biostatistics so she is better able to support and advise clinicians undertaking research projects within CCLHD.

Dr Jennie King


Carolyn Lloyd

Dr Susie Lord is a Specialist Pain Medicine Physician at John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Newcastle. She leads an interdisciplinary team of clinicians who care for children with complex and chronic pain. Susie applied for the scholarship to revise and update epidemiology skills developed through undergraduate and postgraduate research degrees. She is particularly interested in working in partnership with others to address disparities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experiencing complex pain. Susie would also like to mentor junior staff to undertake clinical improvement and research. 

Dr Susie Lord

Fiona Minnis

Fiona is a Clinical Midwifery Consultant in Maternity Informatics for Hunter New England LHD. She is responsible for collecting, storing and reporting on clinical data related to pregnant women attending HNELHD Maternity Services. She applied for the scholarship to enhance her capacity to analyse population level data, assess statistically significant outcomes and use these findings to inform clinical practice improvements within HNELHD Maternity services. She is particularly interested in examining the effect equitable access to iron supplementation has on treatment compliance for iron deficiency anaemia during pregnancy.

Fiona Minnis

Sue is the Director of Pharmacy at Belmont Hospital. She provides direction and coordination of the activities of the pharmacy service to contribute to excellent patient care. Sue hopes to build knowledge in epidemiology and biostatistics to improve her clinical decision-making and develop her research skills to investigate clinical and population-based health problems related to medicines. She is particularly interested in identifying, quantifying and examining adverse drug reactions in hospitalised patients, as the underreporting of adverse drugs reactions has been identified as a practice gap at Belmont Hospital.

Sue Murtagh

Belinda Porter

Belinda is the Whole of Health Program Manager at Port Macquarie Base Hospital. She works to improve patient flow in the inpatient setting and therefore the patient journey. Belinda would like to develop her research skills, particularly around analysing and presenting data to engage and influence colleagues to bring about change.

Belinda Porter

Craig is a Speech Pathologist with the Mid North Coast Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service. In his role, he provides rehabilitation services and short-term case management to people with traumatic brain injury. He also provides speech therapy services to local preschools and schools. Craig has a research interest in providing better access to health services for a range of population groups living outside of metropolitan areas, including those with a traumatic brain injury. He applied for the scholarship to further develop the skills he needs to undertake this type of research.

Craig Suosaari

Kylie is a Clinical Nurse Consultant with the Infection Prevention Service for Armidale and the Tablelands. She provides expert advice, management and education to all staff about infectious disease. Kylie applied for the scholarship to gain a better understanding of data collection and analysis, with the aim of using these skills to design more effective improvement projects. She is particularly interested in the microbiological aspects of her field and hopes to enhance her ability to educate patients and staff as a result of undertaking more research in this area.

Kylie Taylor


Jehnaya Thomson

Dr Zoi Triandafilidis is a Senior Project Officer for Everymind at Hunter New England LHD. She works across research projects that focus on implementing and evaluating mental health promotion and early intervention strategies in workplace, education and healthcare settings. Zoi is keen to grow her skills as a mental health and suicide prevention researcher, and while she has completed a doctorate using qualitative research methods, she would now like to develop her quantitative skills. She has already begun applying the principles of epidemiology and biostatistics to her work at Everymind.

Dr Zoi Triandafilidis

Kristen is a Project Officer at Everymind within Hunter New England LHD. She is currently working within the suicide prevention sector, focusing on the delivery of suicide prevention initiatives such as Life in Mind and the National Communications Charter. Kristen applied for the scholarship to build her capacity to incorporate more research into her role, ensuring that these programs and initiatives have the underlying rigor and scope to be of benefit to the individuals and communities they serve.

Kristen Vallender

Anne Vertigan

Associate Professor Anne Vertigan is the Service Manager for Speech Pathology at John Hunter and Belmont Hospitals in Newcastle. She applied for the scholarship to improve her knowledge of biostatistics and research design. Her areas of interest include: treatment of laryngeal function in asthma, the mechanisms of cough, early intervention for cough secondary to URTI, and changes in cortical function before and after speech pathology intervention for chronic cough.

A/Prof Anne Vertigan

Cass White

Dr Cassandra White is a Medical Oncology Clinical Trials Fellow at the Central Coast Cancer Centre. She is looking to establish good research practice before undertaking a project exploring the use of genotyping for DPYD (dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase) enzyme deficiency. It is known that up to 8% of cancer patients with this deficiency develop severe and sometimes fatal toxicity to 5-Fluoropyrimidine/Capecitabine chemotherapies. Cassandra wants to explore the feasibility and clinical application of DPYD genotyping for patients and, after implementation, review the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the strategy.

Dr Cassandra White

Dr Katya Zawada has worked for Hunter New England LHD for 7 years as she trained to become a Paediatrician and Neonatologist. While she has undertaken several research projects during her paediatric training, she has always outsourced the statistics. Katya applied for the scholarship in order to develop her understanding of biostatistics and is keen to apply her learnings to undertake research in neonatology. She plans to undertake an elective in research protocol design to develop a sound methodology for future research as part of a PhD.

Dr Katya Zawada