Development of an Allied Health Research Framework within a major Paediatric Hospital and Health Service (HHS) in Queensland

Ms Ayala Rogany1,2,3, Tania Hobson3, A/Prof Robyn Littlewood1,2,3,4

1Centre For Children’s Health Research, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, South Brisbane, Australia, 2Queensland Child and Youth Clinical Network, Department of Health, Brisbane, Australia , 3Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, South Brisbane, Australia, 4School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane,  , Australia


Aim: To investigate, develop and implement a framework to support an Allied Health Research Strategic plan and supporting structure

Background: The Health Practitioners (Queensland Health) Certified Agreement includes a research package intended to build research capacity in the health practitioner workforce and support the implementation of evidence based clinical services. This research package provided the necessary funding to establish dedicated Research Fellow positions within each HHS.  At Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) this role has been unoccupied since December 2017, the research strategic agenda and overarching research structure has changed significantly since this role been occupies and this factor was to be considered as part of future planning.

Method: Method for this project included identifications of relevant stakeholders, consultation with stakeholders, benchmarking with other HHSs, negotiation with relevant academic institutes and scoping of relevant research positions.

Results: Number of themes/issues have been identified as a result of the consultation process. These included: education and training: no established research capacity and capability building; culture and Human Resources: there is no shared research culture across the organisation; structure: no established, sustainable research structure for Allied Health Professionals; no established pathway/process for partnering with Universities; challenge regarding previous role structure and reporting lines.

Significance of the findings to allied health: The need for coordinated linked up approach for Allied Health research have been identified from the consultation, including the importance of well-established structure and agenda.


Associate Professor Robyn Littlewood: Director, Health Services Research, Children’s Health Queensland, Co-Chair, Queensland Child and Youth Clinical Network within the Clinical Excellence Division, Department of Health, Board Director, Dietitians Association of Australia.  Dr Littlewood holds a Conjoint Associate Professor position at Human Movement and Nutrition Science, The University of Queensland. She has completed both a Masters of Medical Science and PhD in the area of Paediatric Nutrition and is currently completing an MBA.  Dr Littlewood continues to maintain a clinical position in the area of tertiary Paediatric Obesity for Children’s Health Queensland and maintains special interests in the area of Paediatric Food Services and infant obesity prevention.

Tania Hobson is a public sector and hospital executive, allied health practitioner, and graduate of the University of Queensland School of Health and Rehabilitation Science (Speech Pathology).  Holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Managers.  Able to translate research into evidence-based practice to positively influence the reliability and safety of the health system for the patients that we serve.  Facilitates a culture of research curiosity and demonstrates capability for designing, implementing and evaluating innovative Models of Care spanning geographical areas that include acute, sub-acute, and community healthcare delivery and in adult and paediatric populations.  A PhD candidate, researching consumer engagement in health care.  Significant public sector experience in advising the executive team and the DG through the health service chief executive.  Presents at national and international conferences on emerging issues and trends related to Allied Health and consumer engagement (e.g. , Planetree International Conference of Person Centred Care).

Tania has a strong clinical background, with extensive experience in governance, risk management, strategic management, and professional leadership.  Track record of leading organisational improvements and cultural change.  Able to balance a performance focus with evidence informed best practice.  Passionate about quality health management, with interests in transformational organisational change, strategy, consumer and community engagement, innovative best practice Models of Care and integrated service delivery.