What made you want to study with MUARC?
Following the completion of my Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours) in Psychology, I worked as a research assistant for the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit, Monash University Accident Research Centre. It was in this role that I was first exposed to administrative datasets (i.e. Victorian Admitted Episodes Dataset and Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset). My interest in research and big data grew from this experience. I went on to work as a data analyst for the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research, where I analysed the Compensation Research Database. An opportunity arose for me to undertake a PhD in compensable injury. Given MUARC strong reputation and expertise in injury epidemiology and outcomes (and my previous positive work experience), MUARC was an ideal place for me to pursue my PhD.
How was your experience studying with MUARC, and would you recommend it to prospective PhD candidates?
My PhD experience was positive and rewarding, thanks to my superb supervisors Dr Sharon Newnam and Dr Janneke Berecki-Gisolf. Their guidance, support and encouragement throughout my candidature were exceptional. This led to a timely and successful completion. I would recommend MUARC to prospective PhD candidates.
Can you please tell us a bit about what your thesis was about and what you found?
My PhD research project examined the role of perceived social support in recovery from musculoskeletal injury (MSI). This was a mixed methods research project with a predominantly quantitative epidemiological approach. The research project comprised of four studies: 1) a systematic review; 2) two cross-sectional studies using the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) Client Outcomes Survey and 3) linking this information to TAC administrative claims and payments datasets and; 4) a qualitative study involving injured persons, significant others, their family and friends. The findings contribute to the literature by identifying which characteristics and sources of support are associated with MSI outcomes, whilst also accounting for broader issues impacting social support and recovery such as healthcare service use and the effects of bi-directional relationships on recovery from the perspective of the person with MSI and their informal social network. The findings have several primary and tertiary preventions implications: the use of social support as a prevention resource, the collection of socio-demographic information to identify those at the greatest risk of poor support, the development of informal and formal support interventions for those who lack support, and the provision of support for informal social network members engaged in the recovery process.
How do you think you’ll remember your time studying with MUARC?
The lifelong friendships made with fellow PhD students. There was a high level of camaraderie among PhD students.
Can you please tell us about where your career has taken you post-graduation?
I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow for the Centre for Health Policy, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne. In this role, I am responsible for the running of the day-to-day activities of “Great expectations: Achieving the promise of public reporting of health service performance in Australia” project. This is a mixed methods evaluation research project with four components: 1) systematic review and meta-analysis; 2) qualitative interviews with stakeholders; 3) patients’ cancer surveys and; 4) quantitative data analyses of emergency department presentations, hospital admissions linked to elective surgery waiting times and patients’ experience surveys.
How have your studies with MUARC helped you in your career?
During my PhD, I have gained experience in evidence synthesis, stakeholder engagement, qualitative and quantitative research methods including data collection and analysis, and research dissemination including manuscript writing and public speaking which I apply in my current role.