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Research
Research

Consumer and Community Engagement

A commitment to improving consumer and community engagement in health and medical research

SAHMRI has joined forces with the Health Consumers Alliance of SA Inc (HCA) to bring researchers and consumers together to tackle some of the greatest health issues confronting us today. 

A framework for better engagement 

We are using our co-research framework to engage consumers in planning research priorities, in the projects themselves, and in working out how to make sure our research really does improve the health of individuals and communities. 

The framework was informed by a review of literature and current practice from across the world. We have formed a Consumer and Community Engagement Committee  and their work plan has four immediate priorities: 

  • Embed consumer and community engagement in SAHMRI culture 
  • Build the capacity of researchers for consumer engagement 
  • Create a register of consumers interested in different aspects of research 
  • Research and evaluate our work to help us do it better 
Ms Debra Kay
Chair
Ms Debra Kay

Debra originally trained as a teacher and has undertaken health curriculum development, policy and research. She has worked with The Smith Family and was CEO of Asthma Australia. Debra is a consumer member of the SAHMRI Faculty; has several government committee appointments; is an NPS: Medicinewise Director; Chairs the Board of the Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia; and undertakes pro bono roles with a wide range of community organisations.

Associate Professor Caroline Miller
SAHMRI Executive Representative
Associate Professor Caroline Miller

Associate Professor Caroline Miller is currently Director, SAHMRI Population Health Research Group as well as Executive Officer at SAHMRI. Qualified in psychology, economics and public health, and with 15 years in cancer control in the NGO sector, Caroline understands the impact of cancer on individuals, families and support networks, and is well versed in the spectrum of issues across cancer control.

Caroline has been conducting population monitoring, policy evaluation, program evaluation and applied research in the field of preventive health for over 20 years. Her research interests are in behavioural and policy research to inform interventions aimed improving public health.

Her Group has programs of research in tobacco control, food policy and labelling, and alcohol. She collaborates on cancer registries and undertakes Patient Reported Outcomes Measures (PROMs) research.

Ms Ellen Kerrins
HCA Executive Representative
Ms Ellen Kerrins

Ellen Kerrins is currently Manager Advocacy and Policy at Health Consumers Alliance SA, she is also a member of the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network Governing Council and Board Director for Helping Hand Aged Care.

Ellen Kerrins has proven ability to lead, consult with and advise health business units to effect organisational improvement. She has demonstrated capabilities in connecting with people, building and leading high performing teams. Having worked in government and not for profit sectors Ellen is adaptive, resilient and outcomes focused. With over 20 years’ experience as a leader, manager, executive and board director Ellen remains committed to public health. Ellen has a broad range of competencies with particular expertise in nursing, cancer control, primary health care and workforce reform. She is passionate about working with consumer focused health care providers and services.

Ms Judy Smith
Health Consumer

Judy has been involved in the Healthcare industry for over 50 years and is now semi-retired. Judy has held various leadership positions including Director of Nursing. She is currently on the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network Governing Council and am on their Risk and Audit Committee. She is the consumer representative on the Pharmacy Regulation Authority of SA and a community representative on the SA Health Practitioner Tribunal.

She has been on several of the transforming health working groups. She is vice president of the Adelaide Soaring Club Steering Committee. She is married and enjoys gardening. She is also a recreational pilot.

Dr Michael Musker
SAHMRI Representative
Dr Michael Musker

Mike is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the Mind & Brain Theme and has over 30 years practice experience in mental health.  He was the Advanced Clinical Services Coordinator for the South Australian Forensic Mental Health Service.  Mike was the winner of the South Australian Nurse Excellence Awards 2013. He completed his PhD at the University of Adelaide and was awarded the Bellberry Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the Mind & Brain Theme at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. His PhD research training focused on Perpetrator Induced Traumatic Stress (PITS) and included interviewing forensic mental health patients and prisoners about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other comorbid disorders. 

Mike is researching mental health, including bullying, trauma, depression, weight gain, cognitive behavioural therapy, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic myeloid leukaemia and many other areas.  Most of this research is completed through face to face interview using structured interviews and other diagnostic tools.  Mike has helped to develop consumer led practice in South Australia, chairing the Forensic Mental Health Service Lived Experience and Carers group for over 10 years, and has been facilitating the regular meetings of the Consumer (Lived Experience) and Carer Research Consultation Group in the Mind & Brain theme since May 2015.

Associate Professor Philippa Middleton
SAHMRI Representative
Associate Professor Philippa Middleton

Philippa Middleton is a Principal Research Fellow with the Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children Theme of SAHMRI. She is involved in studies to reduce stillbirth and to prevent preterm birth and cerebral palsy.

Philippa is also working on ways to improve the nutrition of women, babies and families and she collaborates on several Aboriginal health projects. She is committed to translating and implementing the best evidence into the best outcomes for mothers and babies.

Ms Julie Butters
SAHMRI Representative
Ms Julie Butters

Julie is the Business and Research Manager for Heart Health and is responsible for the provision of administrative and operational leadership and business and research support services to the Heart Health Theme Leader and the theme.  Previous to working at SAHMRI, Julie’s background was in clinical trials and she has a Bachelor of Health Science.  Julie is currently undertaking a Master of Business Administration.

Additionally, Julie is also responsible for overseeing activities of the Cardiac Innovation Centre, within the Heart Health theme, whose aim is to coordinate efforts across Clinical Trials, Medical Education, Health Systems Research and Cardiac Technologies to bring collaborative world-class research to SAHMRI.

Professor Steve Wesselingh
SAHMRI Representative
Professor Steve Wesselingh

In October 2011 Professor Wesselingh took up the position as the inaugural Executive Director of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). Professor Wesselingh has also been appointed as the Infection and Immunity Theme Leader for the institute.

Professor Wesselingh was Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, from 2007-2011. Prior to taking up the Deanship, he was Director of the Burnet Institute an independent medical research institute specialising in infectious diseases, immunology and public health.Professor Wesselingh undertook his undergraduate and doctoral training at Flinders University/Flinders Medical Centre in South Australia and his post-doctoral training at Johns Hopkins in the United States.

Professor Wesselingh is an Infectious Diseases Physician and researcher in Neurovirology, HIV and vaccine development.

Professor Wesselingh has consistently worked towards the integration of high quality medical research with health-care delivery, leading to improved health outcomes for Australia and the poorly resourced countries of the region.

Dr David Yeung
SAHMRI Representative

David Yeung is a haematologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. He is also a research fellow at the SAHMRI. David completed his PhD studies with Sue Branford and Tim Hughes at the University of Adelaide, on optimising the use of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) as targeted therapy for chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), through the use of new prognostic markers. He has a strong clinical research interest, being an investigator on several frontline TKI studies conducted through the Australasian Leukaemia and Lymphoma group, to maximise outcomes for CML patients by incorporating TKIs in innovative treatment strategies. His laboratory research interest include adapting emerging molecular biology technologies to study resistance and minimal residual disease in CML and high risk acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, as well as integrating comprehensive correlative studies with clinical trials to discover and validate prognostic biomarkers.    

Ms Kathy Mott
SAHMRI Representative
Ms Kathy Mott

Kathy Mott is a research and business manager, having spent 15 years in the higher education (University of South Australia) and independent medical research sectors (Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute). Kathy is currently the Manager, Business Strategy for SAHMRI, having completed 5 years as the business manager for the Aboriginal Research Unit at SAHMRI, working closely with Professor Alex Brown to support the establishment and maintenance of his research platform.

In her professional career Kathy has a track record in effective consumer engagement strategies, training, policies and evaluation. Kathy worked for State Governments in Victoria and South Australia from 1982 to 1996, implementing significant community and consumer involvement programs in social welfare and health policy and planning. Kathy operated her own consultancy business from 1996 to 2003, “Consumer Perspectives” specializing in assisting health services to develop programs and strategies for engaging with consumers.

Kathy has a particularly strong understanding of the primary health care and pharmacy systems, but also has extensive policy and research experience in relation to hospitals, disability, mental health and chronic illness.

Dr Marten Snel
SAHMRI Representative
Dr Marten Snel

Marten Snel heads the SAHMRI Mass Spectrometry Core Facility. He has been active in the field of mass spectrometry (MS) for over 20 years. He completed a PhD focused on the MS analysis of synthetic polymers at Edinburgh University in 1999. He then worked for Waters Corporation, a manufacturer of analytical instrumentation for nine years in both a commercial and scientific capacity. He has a broad range of mass spectrometry experience and interests, including proteomics, metabolomics, lipidomics and direct tissue analysis (MS imaging).

Dr Nathan O’Callaghan
SAHMRI Representative
Dr Nathan O’Callaghan

Nathan is a CSIRO group leader in the areas of Food and Nutrition. Nathan's research focusses on developing and validating emerging markers for use in nutritional and health science. He is working to reduce the impact of non-communicable diseases such as obesity and type-2 diabetes, and improve health of the Australian population through diet. Nathan also manages the CSIRO nutrition and health clinic based at the South Australian health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza
Health Consumer
Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza

Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza, PhD is specialised in public health promotion and consumer behaviour research. Her background involves project management; specifically, creating and managing research projects and portfolios within the fields of popularisation of science, human choice and decision-making, scientific journalism, marketing and communications. Her specific interest is in advancing an evidence-based approach in the development of measurements of consumers’ semiautomatic behaviours to influence public policies that address national and community-level health and social issues.

Drawing on a broad range of experience including scientific journalism at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC); consumer behaviour, branding and packaging research at the University of South Australia (UniSA), and research of health promotion and consumer’s decision-making in connection to food choices and Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at Deakin University, she is contributing significantly to The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI): community and consumer engagement committee. Dr. Pinero de Plaza's primary area of health research has focused on memory and its connection to human behaviour, habits and automaticity. As a consumer representative, she is interested in advancing knowledge translation and co-research in the area of autoimmune diseases and their connection to inflammation and diet. 

Dr Cecil Camilleri
Health Consumer
Dr Cecil Camilleri

Cecil Camilleri (B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc., B.Litt. (Hons), Pg.Cert Coaching, Dip.Couns., PhD (Charles Sturt University), DTech. (Deakin University), PhD (UniSA) was born and raised in Malta and is a sustainable wellbeing and resilience specialist. Cecil, who has the lifetime experience of living with and recovering from BPAD, identifies mental health and disability advocacy as his vocation and calling. He has an ongoing active association with Lifeline (Uniting Communities), SAHMRI, the Centre for Wellbeing and Resilience, the Health Consumers Alliance of South Australia, the Community Visitor Scheme and the South Australian Office of the Chief Psychiatrist. 

More recently he has developed linkages with the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership, UniSA’s Centre for Business Ethics and Responsible Leadership and Country Health SA Local Health Network Inc.. Cecil is a statutory officer with the CVS, a crisis support worker, a community educator, coach and mentor. As an adjunct research fellow with the School of Management, which is part of the University of South Australia Business School, his main research theme is, Mental Health Literacy, Woundedness and Spiritual Wellbeing – Human-Centered Narratives Informing Personal Recovery and Leadership in the Mental Health and Substance Use Sectors. This research is being co-designed with Dr Anne-Maree Sawyer and Dr Xianbi Huang from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences of La Trobe University.  Cecil has been the 2016 and 2017 finalist in the Lived Experience Participation Award (S.A. Mental Health Excellence Awards).

Mr Alan Bevan
Health Consumer
Mr Alan Bevan

Alan is currently a director on the Dementia Australia Research Foundation Board and is a consumer representative for a Flinders University research project entitled, Promoting safe and high-quality care for people with dementia. Alan was a Director of the Board of Alzheimer’s Australian SA up until its recent merger into a national body. He is experienced in strategic planning, risk management, policy advice, staff leadership and development, and project management.

Alan has held various leadership positions including Chief Operating Officer, General Manager and Project Director for a range of national government education technology projects. These roles have required liaison across Australia and New Zealand with Ministers, government departments, crown law, industry and professional bodies. 

Previously, Alan was Online Services Manager for the SA Department of Education and Children Services and was instrumental in the negotiation of a whole of government contract with Telstra for the delivery of high speed Internet to all SA government schools. He has been a regional adviser within the education department and a successful secondary school faculty head and classroom teacher. 

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SAHMRI is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people.

The SAHMRI community acknowledges and pays respect to the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region. We also acknowledge the deep feelings of attachment and the relationship of the Kaurna people to their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna peoples' ancestors and the living Kaurna people today.