Stages of the Engaged PhD

To complete the Engaged PhD program students will undertake:

  • A formal orientation to the program;
  • Six skill development workshops and masterclasses;
  • Two pathway-specific study activities such as courses, workshops, masterclasses, online courses (MOOCs) or LEAP modules;
  • Personalized mentoring experience
  • Work experience/community engagement activity; and
  • The development of a work portfolio.

These experiences take place over 3 Stages.

Stage 1

Orientation

Shortly after commencing a PhD in the Division of Health Sciences students participate in a networking and program information retreat which will explain the concept, components and purpose of the Engaged PhD program.

Skill development

Students attend a number of core skill development workshops and masterclasses. A choice of six is selected from a range of activities delivered through the Division of Health Sciences Research Office and the Teaching Innovation Unit, including such topics as:

  • Communication to different audiences
  • Career planning and development
  • Effective publishing techniques
  • Analytical methodologies
  • Project Management
  • Finding Funding.

Pathway selection

Students are given guidance to enable them to identify a suitable Engaged PhD program pathway (to commence in Stage 2) that best fits their interests and career aspirations.

Pathways on offer include:

Stage 2

Pathway training

In Stage 2, students will undertake two pathway-specific study activities such as:

Mentoring

Students are matched with a personal mentor that is trained to guide them through the program and assist them with developing their future careers. The Division of Health Sciences has specifically trained researchers to for this section of the program. Information about our Engaged PhD mentors can be below.

Associate Professor Paul Anderson, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Paul Anderson is Group Leader for Musculoskeletal Biology Research Laboratory at the Sansom Institute and is a Research Degree Co-ordinator for the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences. He has supervised numerous PhD students to completion in wide areas Physiology including of endocrinology, bone research, pregnancy and placental function, and breast cancer. Paul has previously worked for Adelaide University and SA Health in research intensive roles and has been continuously funded by government and industry sources since completing his PhD in 2003.

Dr Katia Ferrar, School of Health Sciences

Katia Ferrar is a lecturer and researcher in the School of Health Sciences.

Before joining the university, Dr Ferrar worked as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist both in the United Kingdom and Australia, and managed her own physiotherapy practice for 7 years. She continues to translate her professional skill and knowledge in her role as clinical educator for undergraduate physiotherapy students. Dr Ferrar teaches into both the Physiotherapy and Human Movement programs, and is course developer and coordinator of the new (2015) Foundations of Physical Activity and Health course offered to first year Human Movement undergraduate students.

An emerging independent early career researcher, Dr Ferrar has published 25 peer-reviewed articles and has won more than AU$60 thousand in research funding to date. Her research focuses on physical activity and chronic health conditions such as chronic low back pain, cardiac conditions and chronic fatigue syndrome. She has been recognised for her ability to communicate science to the general public with the 2013 Women’s and Children Young Investigator Award (People’s Choice).

More recently, Dr Ferrar was successful in securing philanthropic funding (Mason Foundation) to investigate the role of active video games in the promotion of physical activity in people with chronic fatigue syndrome, and to investigate the role of the allostatic load.

Dr Ferrar has also been successful in securing over AU$70 thousand Federal New Colombo Funding to lead inter-disciplinary cultural immersion trips to developing countries; facilitating the development of University of South Australia Health Science students as global citizens. 

Last year Dr Ferrar was awarded the title ‘AMP Tomorrow Maker’ for her efforts to open a student-led pro bono physiotherapy and podiatry clinic in Adelaide; providing much needed services for marginalised communities and a multi-disciplinary teaching experience for the UniSA student. The AMP Tomorrow Fund grant money will assist with start-up costs. Katia has developed relationships in the philanthropic space and has strong links to several support agencies in Adelaide.

Dr Sheridan Gentili, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Sheridan Gentili has a background in physiology with a focus on the early origins of metabolic health, and an interest in biostatistics. Her research focuses is on the impact that diets high in carbohydrates have on the development of metabolic disorders and whether dietary interventions could play a role in alleviating such effects. More recently I have commenced a Graduate Diploma in Biostatistics through the Biostatistics Collaboration of Australia.

She coordinates both Molecules to Tissues A and B, and in 2014 she was awarded the UniSA Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.

Sheridan is currently the Associate Director: Curriculum Development and Support in the Teaching Innovation Unit. Her role in the Teaching Innovation Unit is to contribute leadership in the development of teaching innovation and excellence throughout the University.

Dr Marianne Gillam, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Marianne Gillam is a Public Health Physician, currently working as a Research Fellow in epidemiology at the Quality Use of Medicines and Pharmacy Research Centre (QUMPRC) at UniSA. She holds a PhD in Public Health and a Master of Biostatistics.

Her research interests include the epidemiology of medicines and medical devices, statistical methods, particularly statistical analyses in observational cohort studies, and dementia research. She is conducting research at the Medicine and Device Surveillance CRE based in the QUMPRC with a focus on safety of medicines and medical devices, investigating prevalence and trends of medical device procedures in the population and examining health data for patterns and problems relating to medical devices. Current projects include assessment of toxicity associated with metal-on-metal hip replacements, use of cardiac devices and associated adverse effects, risk associated with MRI in patients with pacemakers and utilisation of medical devices at a population level. She is also involved in a range of projects with the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry. Marianne has recently started undertaking work with the University Department of Rural Health.

Associate Professor Jennifer Keogh, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Jennifer qualified as a dietitian from the College of Technology, Dublin, Ireland. Following a career in clinical dietetics and research she is now Associate Professor, Dietetics and Nutrition at the University of South Australia. She held a Fellowship in Nutrition and Cardiovascular Disease from the South Australian Cardiovascular Research Development Program 2013 - March 2016.

Jennifer’s research is on the prevention and management of chronic disease using dietary change to achieve health benefits in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She has published research demonstrating the effects of dietary composition on endothelial function, including the detrimental effects of sodium and saturated fat and the beneficial effects of increasing potassium intake. She has held successful NHMRC and NHF grants in this area. She recently published and has on-going research on the use of intermittent dieting as a strategy for weight loss.

Jennifer has 114 peer reviewed publications, an h-index of 40 and 5518 citations (Google Scholar Feb 2017). She is a Member of the Sansom Institute for Health Research in the Division of Health Sciences (2010 - ) and a member of the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA) Research Concentration (2015 - ). Jennifer has held leadership positions in Clinical Dietetics in the UK and Australia.

Dr Saravana Kumar, School of Health Sciences

Saravana Kumar is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia. As a physiotherapist, he has 16 years of professional experience spanning clinical practice (in manipulative and sports physiotherapy), research (health services research, evidence-based practice, implementation/translational science, quality and safety, allied health) and teaching (undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy, evidence-based practice, and research methods). He is a passionate and committed teacher who teaches topics on evidence-based practice and implementing and sustaining change in health care to students and health professionals, nationally and internationally. As a researcher, he has published (180) and presented (125) extensively.  He works with a number of allied health disciplines and as he has expertise in transforming health and achieving best practice, he provides specialist advice to several local, national and international agencies in development, implementation and evaluation of new models of care, workforce role re-design and quality and safety initiatives. He is an active supervisor and a supportive mentor for students, early career researchers and academics. He is also the webmaster of Implementation Central (www.implementationcentral.com), the only free website in the world dedicated to the science and practice of evidence implementation.

Associate Professor Carol Maher, School of Health Sciences

Carol Maher is an Associate Research Professor in the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA) at the University of South Australia. She is recipient of fellowships from NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (2017-2020),  National Heart Foundation (2015-16) and Australian Research Council (2011-2014). Carol has authored over 100 research papers on lifestyle behaviours (such as physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep) and outcomes such as health, obesity and academic performance. She is particularly interested in developing and testing technology-based interventions for improving health behaviours, using platforms such as websites, smartphone apps and online social media. Carol currently serves as Chair of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity's e- & mHealth Special Interest Group, and is a Section Editor for BMC Public Health.

Dr Michelle McDonnell, School of Health Sciences

Michelle McDonnell is Senior Lecturer in Rehabilitation at the University of South Australia; examiner, Australian Physiotherapy Council; Neurological Physiotherapist, The Physio Clinic.

She is a Neuroscientist and neurological physiotherapist with research interests centred on the recovery of function following stroke and is the current supervisor for 3 PhD candidates, 1 Masters by Research candidate, and four Honours students. Since 2013 she have coordinated the clinical course in Rehabilitation for third year Physiotherapy students which involves intensive teaching, weekly tutorials and supervising a team of 10 clinical educators (registered Physiotherapists).

Michelle is current chief investigator on one NHMRC Project Grant (2014-2017). Since PhD completion in 2006 she has been awarded over $1 million in funding, including Category 1 funding. She has completed a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Research Training Fellowship (Part-time, 2009-2013) and in 2015 she received two grants from philanthropic organisations to lead research in stroke prevention and rehabilitation following stroke.

Michelle has published 39 peer-reviewed journal articles, 22 as first author, and publications have an average of 18 citations per paper. Current H-Index 13 (Scopus).

Michelle’s research has been translated into an algorithm to guide appropriate interventions to address upper limb function following stroke (McDonnell et al 2013) has been incorporated into an international best practice guideline which she presented with some of the leaders in the field, at the World Congress of Physical Therapy in Singapore in 2015. A summary of this work was also published in the journal Physiotherapy (Wolf et al 2016).

She has successfully collaborated and published with leading researchers in the Europe in the fields of Neuroscience, Physiotherapy and Neurology. Michelle continues to work with a leading group on National Institutes of Health funded research projects in the US.

Dr Craig Phillips, School of Nursing and Midwifery

Craig Phillips is currently an academic staff member in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, a position he has held for 10 years. Craig’s PhD which was conferred in 2014, explored employment practices of final year undergraduate nursing students, and how this employment influenced their pending transition to registered nurse practice. The methodological framework for Craig’s thesis adopted a retrospective sequential three phase mixed method design, which included multiple published works as components of the thesis. Craig has developed expertise with the use of scoping reviews, a literature search strategy that explores evidence around an area of research, examine a broad range of both primary and secondary literature sources. Craig’s current research interests include transition to practice for nurses and allied health personnel, building healthy workforce and health workforce planning, and nurse education. Craig is currently an associate supervisor for two PhD students.

Dr Sally Plush, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Sally Plush graduated in December 2004 with a Ph.D. (Chemistry) from the University of Adelaide, upon which she was awarded a prestigious Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology Research Fellowship to undertake research at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. her second postdoctoral position, also 100 % research based, was at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.  In 2008 Sally joined the University of South Australia, where she established the first dedicated synthetic chemistry research laboratory at the City East campus and she is currently a senior lecturer in chemistry. Her research focuses on furthering knowledge in biology and medicine through the development of imaging sensors with a focus on industry relationships. To this end, Sally is a founding member of a UniSA spin-out company, ReZolve Scientific Pty Ltd, for which she am both Chief Technical Officer and on the board of directors. In addition to this Sally has a number of other industry links in addition to both national and international multi-disciplinary collaborations. She have supervised 5 postgraduate students to completion. Sally is very passionate about her role as a chemistry educator in the undergraduate chemistry space. On a personal note she also enjoys exercising and spending time with her son building paper aeroplanes.

Dr Stephanie Reuter Lange, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences

Stephanie Reuter Lange is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Pharmacy & Medical Sciences. Her research portfolio broadly focusses on using pharmacological principles to inform the optimal use of medications. Appropriately, through this activity she works extensively with pharmaceutical industry and regulatory agencies in the development of new drug entities, as well as clinicians and pharmacists to improve the use of existing drugs for better management of patients in clinical practice. Her research philosophy is one of translation, specifically bridging the interface between foundational science and clinical practice, acting as a conduit between science, policy and the clinic. Stephanie currently holds an NHMRC Australian Clinical Research Fellowship and has previously been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Visiting Research Scholarship to undertake research at the State University of New York, using innovative techniques to inform the quality use of medicines. In acknowledgment of her scientific engagement and research significance, she has also been awarded a Tall Poppy Award and two SA Science Excellence Awards.