Click on the names below to learn more
Foundation Director, Chair in Behavioural and Social Research in Diabetes at Deakin University Lead and NDSS National Development Program for Mental Health and Diabetes
Professor Speight is a chartered psychologist with a PhD in health psychology from Royal Holloway University of London. She leads a large and varied program of research in Australia and the UK, through which she aims to improve the quality of life of people with diabetes and encourage healthcare professionals to better understand the impact of diabetes and its treatment from the individual’s perspective. Her research focuses on optimising self-management, with a strong emphasis on:
- The optimal use and personal impact of new treatments and technologies.
- The development and evaluation of self-management / education / peer support programs.
- Recurrent severe hypoglycaemia: its impact on quality of life, prevention and drivers of severe hypoglycaemia, measurement of impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia.
- Therapeutic engagement, beliefs about illness and medications, and behavioural change.
- The experience of living with diabetes, including its impact on emotional well-being, quality of life and perceptions of social stigma.
Senior Research Fellow
Jessica has a PhD in health psychology from the University of Wollongong, and has a research background in the psychological aspects of prevention of chronic conditions. Jessica joined the ACBRD in January 2011. She leads a varied program of research that primarily focuses on type 2 diabetes, and works alongside numerous national and international collaborators from different health-related disciplines. Jessica has a particular interest in understanding the unique challenges faced by special groups with type 2 diabetes (e.g. young adults), and in the social impact of living with type 2 diabetes. Jessica regularly works with consumer and health professional groups to contribute to training and information dissemination, and to utilise her research findings to inform policy and practice to help improve the lives of people affected by diabetes.
Christel is a registered clinical psychologist, trained at the Brussels Free University (Belgium). She completed her PhD in health psychology at Royal Holloway University of London. For many years, Christel had a dual role:
- Managing international research programs on new treatments for type 1 diabetes at the Diabetes Research Centre (Brussels Free University); and,
- Counselling people with diabetes and people with obesity/eating disorders attending the University Hospital.
Christel moved to Australia and joined the ACBRD in June 2011. Her major interest is in people with type 1 diabetes and their perceptions of new treatments and technologies and in evaluating the impact of new therapies on psychological outcomes. Her key projects focus on interventions to improve the psychological well-being of people living with diabetes, and on the prevention of severe hypoglycaemia.
Steve is a cognitive research psychologist with an interest in everyday cognition, such as prospective memory and multitasking. He is project manager for the Diabetes MILES Youth Study and is involved in several electronic health projects within the ACBRD group. He is especially interested in the potential of new and developing research technologies (e.g., smartphone and web apps) in cognitive assessment and behavioural intervention among individuals with diabetes. Having gained several years of cognitive research experience in Europe, he relocated to Melbourne and joined ACBRD in August 2013.
Adriana has a DPsych in health psychology from Deakin University. She is also a registered psychologist with an interest in chronic illness management. She joined the ACBRD in March 2012 and has since been engaged in various projects, including the Diabetes Stigma program of research and Diabetes MILES-2. Currently, Adriana is involved in the National Diabetes Services Scheme National Development Program for Mental Health and Diabetes. In this role, she is contributing to the development of resources for health care professionals and people with diabetes to better manage and navigate the emotional and psychological complexities associated with diabetes.
Associate Research Fellow
Andrea completed a PhD at Deakin University in 2014 and joined the ACBRD as a full-time associate research fellow in October 2015. Andrea is currently working a number of research and evaluation initiatives as part of the National Diabetes Services Scheme National Development Program for Mental Health and Diabetes. In particular, her research focuses on peer support for people with diabetes, and evaluating resources for health professionals. Before joining the ACBRD team, Andrea was a Problem Based Learning tutor in the School of Medicine (Optometry) at Deakin University. Andrea's previous areas of health research include understanding the impact of illness attribution and treatments response in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients.
Associate Research Fellow
Jennifer completed a Bachelor of Health Science with first class Honours at Deakin University in 2008. She joined the ACBRD as a full-time associate research fellow in July 2013, having previously worked for the Centre in a part-time capacity (2011-2013). Jennifer has supported a number of ACBRD projects, including co-ordination of the 2011 Symposium for Behavioural Research in Diabetes and supporting an audit of psychological wellbeing in adults with diabetes. Currently, she co-ordinates the National Diabetes Services Scheme National Development Program for Mental Health and Diabetes. The program focuses on developing resources for health professionals and people with diabetes, to overcome barriers to routinely monitoring the mental health and wellbeing of people with diabetes. Jennifer's other research interests include the ways in which family functioning and eating behaviours are influenced by migration and acculturation, and their influence on body weight and health, specifically amongst African migrants and refugees. She also has an interest in children's perspectives of health, which was the topic of her Honours thesis.
Associate Research Fellow / PhD Candidate
Amelia Lake has worked as a Research Fellow and project manager since 2005. Key projects include a 3 year alcohol education intervention randomised controlled trial, a the detailed evaluation of an integrated drug and alcohol service and an evaluation of a broad scale chronic condition management system redesign for a large Metropolitan health service. Amelia has a strong interest in chronic condition self- management with a specific focus on people with co-morbidities and complex psychosocial issues. As a full-time PhD candidate at the ACBRD, Amelia manages the Diabetes and Eye Health project, which aims to increase rates of eye screening in people with type 2 diabetes and improve the early detection and management of diabetic retinopathy.
Virginia is a registered nurse and credentialed diabetes educator, with post-graduate qualifications in vocational education and public health. Her professional and research interests have focused on innovative and effective models of diabetes self-management education, and improving the provision of diabetes care through health professional development and training. Formerly manager of diabetes education services at Diabetes Australia-Vic, in 2012 Virginia enrolled at Deakin University as a part-time PhD candidate. Her PhD focuses on educating and supporting adolescents with type 1 diabetes, through the development, national implementation and evaluation of the Teens Empowered to Actively Manage Type 1 diabetes (TEAM T1) project. TEAM T1 is a structured, self-management education program for adolescents with type 1 diabetes, and their parents.
PhD Candidate / Associate Research Fellow
Elizabeth completed her undergraduate degree in 2010 at the Australian Catholic University and was awarded the Australian Psychological Society (APS) prize for Psychology Honours (1st class). Elizabeth joined the ACBRD in November 2010 as a full-time research assistant and project manager of the Diabetes MILES Study. In February 2012 Elizabeth enrolled at Deakin University to conduct her PhD exploring perceptions of insulin use among people living with type 2 diabetes and interventions to improve receptiveness to insulin initiation. Alongside her PhD research, Elizabeth works for the Centre as an associate research fellow supporting various research projects.
Lucinda is currently undertaking the Doctor of Psychology (Clinical) program at Deakin University. She joined the team in April 2014 as a casual research assistant to support the Closed Loop study. Her DPsych research project is looking at the effect of a new family-based intervention for adolescent depression and is also involved in facilitating group therapy sessions for parents and young people who are dealing with a depressive disorder.
Anna joined the ACBRD in March 2014 to provide administrative support to Prof Jane Speight and senior team members. Anna excels at creating and developing systems and procedures to assist in the smooth running of our office on a day-to-day basis. She manages all reporting, finances, events and website development, so Anna is the ‘go to person’ for any administrative questions or requests you might have. Before joining the ACBRD, Anna worked as an office manager in the construction and sales industries. She thoroughly enjoys her role in the ACBRD, where her hard work is valued and she feels she is contributing to a fabulous cause. She looks forward to supporting the ACBRD team in all its activities, and to watch it develop and strengthen over time.