Researcher biography

I am an ECR and Research Fellow at the Dementia & Neuro Mental Health Research Unit (DNMHRU), University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (UQCCR). I have a background in psychology and health services research and have been involved in dementia research and service development projects both in Australia and the UK. My PhD (Queensland University of Technology, 2020), "Bereavement without death": Improving psychosocial support of spousal family carers of people with dementia following placement into residential care, was supported by a Consumer Priority PhD scholarship from the Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF). Since then, I have been awarded $3,825,000 as a CI in research grants from both DARF and NHMRC MRFF schemes.

My mixed methods research aims to improve the mental health, emotional well-being, quality of life and quality of care of older Australians living with age-related progressive brain diseases such as dementia and Parkinson's disease and their family care partners, through innovative high-quality research and knowledge translation activities. My research interests include evaluating psychosocial interventions to support the mental health of people living with dementia and their family carers within both community and residential aged care settings and the application of telehealth modalities to support access to counselling and therapy. I am also interested in improving psychosocial and psychoeducational support for the transition to residential aged care and models of aged care that promote mental health and quality of life. Across all studies, I am interested in the application of implementation science to i) identify barriers and enablers to the implementation of evidence-based interventions and programs, and ii) design and evaluate implementation strategies within health and residential aged care services.

I have a record of collaboration with people impacted by dementia. I am currently the Chair of the UQCCR Consumer and Community Involvement (CCI) Sub-Committee, member of the Faculty of Medicine CCI working group, and Co-ordinator of the CCIG at the DNMHRU. I was previously the Co-ordinator of the Lived Experience Group for the Dementia Centre for Research Collaboration. I am also a member of Dementia Australia's Researcher and Advocate Training Working Group, the Dementia-Friendly UQCCR Initiative Audit, the UQ Implementation Science Community of Practice, the QBI Ageing Dementia Research Network and Australian Association of Gerontology ECR group.

Research interests

Residential aged care

  • Understanding factors that promote and support the mental health of people living with dementia within residential aged care.
  • Co-design, development, testing and implementation of a Mental Health Care Indicator Tool for use in Residential Aged Care Facilities (MHICare).
  • Understanding models of care that promote quality of life for Indigenous populations living in residential care settings.

Telehealth psychotherapy and counselling programs

  • Adaptation, evaluation, and implementation of a tailored telehealth counselling program to support family carers of people with dementia during the transition (pre and post) to residential care placement (RCTM).
  • Evaluation and implementation of technology-assisted CBT for people living with dementia and anxiety in community-based settings (Tech-CBT).

Cognitive evaluation in Parkinson's disease

  • Barriers and enablers to cognitive assessment in Parkinson's disease; evaluation and implementation of the PDCogniCare program.