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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 and health psychologist (registered with the UK Health Professions Council). 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.
Personal Assistant to Professor Speight; ACBRD Administrative Officer
Claudia provides administrative support to Prof Speight and other staff of the Centre. Claudia is the first point of contact for enquiries to the Centre and takes care of the day-to-day operations. She is responsible for establishing, managing and improving administrative procedures and systems within the Centre.
Before joining the ACBRD, Claudia worked at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (University of Melbourne) where she provided administrative support and assisted in financial operations. She holds a Masters in Fashion Design from HTW Berlin.
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.
Dianna is a social researcher with 15 years experience in government and health research. She has expertise in the design and administration of patient experience surveys and worked for 7 years at The Picker Institute Europe, Oxford, where her team was responsible for conducting the NHS patient survey program across England. As well as hospital-based patients surveys, Dianna has developed patient experience surveys for administration in a variety of settings and health services (e.g. Dental Hospitals, Sexual Health Clinics, Maternity Wards) and for services consulting patients with specific conditions (e.g. Cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, Diabetes, COPD, Rheumatoid Arthritis etc). Dianna joined the ACBRD in August 2013 and will undertake research in the area of youth transition.
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.
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
Before joining the ACBRD in February 2013, Amelia had worked as a research fellow in the School of Psychology at Deakin University since 2005. Key projects included the management of a 3 year alcohol education intervention RCT and the detailed evaluation of an integrated drug and alcohol service. During that time, Amelia became involved in an evaluation of a broad scale chronic condition management system redesign for a large Metropolitan health service. She developed a strong interest in chronic condition self management with a specific focus on people with co-morbidities and complex psychosocial issues. 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. She has enrolled on a part-time basis to complete her PhD based on this project.
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 / Research Assistant
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 continues to work for the Centre one day per week supporting various research projects and managing a qualitative study exploring perceptions of the language used in communication with and about people with diabetes.
Rachel completed her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Monash University in 2012. Rachel plans to pursue postgraduate studies in 2014. During her years break from University, Rachel has commenced working for the ACBRD part-time as a research assistant on the IDEAS Evaluation Study. Her role is based primarily within diabetes clinics in a community setting, with participants who have recently commenced care at the clinics.
Lucy is a registered psychologist and research assistant with a strong interest in the application of positive psychology research to wellbeing and mental health, particularly in young adults. She commenced work for the ACBRD as a student in November 2011, and has been employed as a part-time research assistant since March 2012. During this time she has contributed to a number of projects including the investigation of emotional wellbeing and support needs of young adults with type 2 diabetes, wellbeing and health-related experiences of adults with diabetes and intellectual disability, and developing diabetes wellbeing guidelines for healthcare professionals.
Laura has a bachelor’s degree in applied science and commenced her Doctorate in Psychology (Health) at Deakin University in 2009. As part of her degree, Laura completed a student placement at the ACBRD in 2011 where she was engaged in activities such as undertaking a systematic review and contributing to the development of a Young Adults Diabetes Service. Laura is currently completing the final stage of her doctorate and has returned to the Centre to work part-time as a research assistant on the IDEAS Evaluation Study, investigating the impact of collaborative care service for people with type 2 diabetes.
Adriana is currently undertaking the Doctor of Psychology (Health) program at Deakin University. As part of her doctoral degree, Adriana completed a student placement at the ACBRD in 2012, where she was engaged in a qualitative research study focusing on the social experience of living with type 2 diabetes. She completed her placement in late 2012 and stayed on at the Centre to work part-time as a research assistant, enabling her to see the qualitative social experiences study through to publication. Adriana is now also working on a similar study for people with type 1 diabetes.