“Not just surviving, but thriving in a PhD and beyond!”

Professor Terry Haines & Professor Robin Daly


Have you ever thought about doing research, but been afraid to ask how to go about it?

Are you interested in research and wondered if you could do a PhD?

Are you already completing a PhD but not sure where all this work might take me and how to get there?

All of these questions and more will be answered in this joint presentation on “Not just surviving, but thriving in a PhD and beyond!”. Professor Terry Haines (Head of School, School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Monash University) will help those looking to tip their toe in the water of the big research swimming pool by showcasing the pathways and some of the pitfalls for traversing a PhD. Professor Rob Daly (Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Deakin University) will then shed light upon the pathway of a flourishing career following completion of a PhD and tips to climbing the academic ladder to because a research or academic leader. Both will then brave questions from the audience, as those in attendance will be able to ask the most difficult questions considerable before this session moves to showcase some of the most outstanding early career research that allied health in Victoria have to offer.



Professor Robin M. DalyPhD, FSMA, holds the position of Chair in Exercise and Ageing within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. His research has focused on the integration of exercise physiology and nutrition as a means to both prevent disease and improve health outcomes across the lifespan, particularly in older adults. He has designed and completed many human clinical and translational intervention trials to prevent and manage common chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, sarcopenia, falls and fractures as well as type 2 diabetes and cognitive related disorders. He is also interested in health issues related to vitamin D deficiency (and treatment), dietary protein and chronic low-grade systemic inflammation. He has been an active contributor nationally and internationally to clinical guidelines in the area of exercise, calcium and vitamin D for osteoporosis and fracture prevention. He is a fellow of Sports Medicine Australia, President-elect of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Sarcopenia and Frailty Research, a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee of Osteoporosis Australia and a council member of the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society.

Professor Terry Haines is Head of the School of Primary and Allied Health Care at Monash University. In this role he is responsible for a school with 6 departments, over 150 staff, and over 180 research higher degree students. He has a professional background in physiotherapy and health economics, and has worked in research roles imbedded within health services for over 15 years before commencing as the Head of School in 2017. He has previously worked in conjoint roles between the University of Queensland and Princess Alexandra Hospital, and between Monash University and Monash Health.

Prof Haines commenced his research in the area of falls prevention in the hospital setting, leading the first randomised trial to prevent falls in this context. Since then he has gone on to undertake a range of research projects across health care settings. He has now published over 250 peer reviewed manuscripts, supervised 18 PhD students through to completion and attracted over $21 million in research funding. He has twice been awarded the NHMRC Achievement Award (2010, 2014).

Barriers and facilitators to delivering an effective falls prevention program: an interdisciplinary allied health perspective

Ms Rebecca Morris1, Associate Professor Ilana Ackerman1, Professor Keith D Hill2, Doctor Darshini Ayton1, Associate Professor Anna Barker1

1Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 2Curtin University, Perth, Australia


A process evaluation was conducted alongside an RCT of a falls prevention program – RESPOND – with the aim of identifying barriers and facilitators to delivery of the program.

RESPOND recruited 541 adults presenting to two Australian public hospital emergency departments (ED’s). The program comprised an initial home visit and subsequent telephone coaching for targeted falls risk factors, over six months. The program was  delivered by allied health professionals who received RESPOND-specific training and support, including application of motivational interviewing techniques. Implementation barriers and facilitators from the perspective of those delivering the program were explored through individual interviews with six RESPOND clinicians.

Participants’ competing health and social priorities, and clinicians’ limited prior experience with delivering specific RESPOND components, were the main barriers to implementing RESPOND. Limited capacity for clinical decision-making within the constraints of an RCT was also perceived as a challenge to delivering RESPOND, however, peer support was considered a useful strategy to overcome this issue. Clinicians perceived that the use of positive health messages, delivered in a patient-centred manner, helped facilitate delivery of the program.

Significance of the findings to allied health:
A targeted telephone-based falls prevention program delivered by allied health professionals can reduce the rate of further falls and fractures in older people who have presented to an ED with a fall. Clinicians’ discipline-specific  prior experience and skills should be considered when providing RESPOND training and support.


Ms Morris is a PhD candidate in the  Health Services Research Unit & The Centre of Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics (CCRET) at Monash University. Her research focuses on a program evaluation of  a falls prevention initiative for older adults – RESPOND.  Ms Morris developed an interest in health services research following completion of her Master of Health and Human Services Management degree at Deakin University in 2011. Ms Morris is a registered physiotherapist with over a decade of clinical experience working with older adults in hospital settings in both the UK and Australia.

Exploring the therapeutic role of social media for young adults living with suicidal ideation: an overview of a developing PhD project

Mr Paul Dodemaide1, Dr Mark Merolli2, Dr Nicole Hill1, Professor Lynette Joubert1

1Social Work Department, Melbourne School of Health Sciences, University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

2Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre / University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia



Understanding and responding to the lived experience of suicidal ideation (SI) poses challenges and opportunities for allied health clinicians.  Social media (SM) and their therapeutic affordances (TA) have proven effective in improving patient reported outcomes within health and mental health research, however a similar evidence-based for SM and SI remains scarce.  A TA perspective has its foundation in ecological and behavioral psychology.  In SM studies, TA emphasizes the mechanisms linking consumer-perceived action opportunities, to their respective patient-reported outcomes.  This presentation reports on a developing PhD project seeking to explore the therapeutic role of SM for people experiencing SI.



Reported methods relate to an exhaustive scoping review.  A literature search of seven databases, ASSIA, PsycINFO, MEDline, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Web of Science, and PubMed was conducted in November 2015.  Search terms (and derivatives) ‘suicidal ideation’ AND ‘social media’ AND ‘outcomes’ were used



Scoping review included fifteen peer-reviewed articles.  Positive (n= 8) and negative (n= 3) suicidal ideation outcomes were reported.  Four articles explored motives and experiences of suicide-related SM users.  Attributable TA elicited and proposed include: narration, connection, information-seeking, collaboration, and introspection.  SM and their TA are effective in reducing SI experiences among their users.  Adverse findings involved research broadly defining suicide-related internet use


Significance of the findings to allied health:

Developing an evidence-base SM prescription to empower and enable consumers to reduce, manage, and/or control their SI, has utility for consumers, allied health, nursing, and medical practitioners alike.

Outcomes for high intensity functional exercise for hospitalised older adults

Ms Melissa Raymond1, Dr Kim Jeffs3, Ms Adele Winter1, Professor Anne Holland2,4

1Caulfield Hospital, Alfred Health, Caulfield, Australia, 2La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia, 3Northern Health, Melbourne, Australia, 4Alfred Health, Melbourne, Australia

Aim: To investigate a high intensity functional exercise group in hospitalized older adults.

Method: An assessor-blinded, randomized controlled trial in sub-acute wards at a metropolitan rehabilitation hospital was undertaken in adults ≥65 years (n=468) able to stand with minimum assistance or less from a chair and follow instructions. Intervention (‘group’) participants were offered a standing high intensity functional exercise group three times a week and individual physiotherapy sessions twice a week. Control participants were offered daily individual physiotherapy sessions.

Results: Participants’ mean age was 84.3 (7.1) years and 61% were female. There was no difference between groups for the improvement in Elderly Mobility Scale from admission to discharge (effect size -0.07, 95% Confidence Interval (-0.26 to 0.11), p=0.446) and no difference in discharge destination, p = 0.904. Therapists saved 31 -205 minutes per week treating group participants compared with control participants.

Significance of the findings to allied health: The results suggest that a high intensity functional exercise group program combined with individual physiotherapy may improve mobility to a similar extent to individual physiotherapy alone in hospitalised older adults. Providing physiotherapy in a group setting resulted in increased therapist efficiency. A high intensity exercise group with individual physiotherapy may be an effective and efficient method to provide care to older inpatients.

Achieving effective clinical allied health supervision

Ms Priya Martin1, Dr Saravana Kumar1, Dr Lucylynn Lizarondo2

1University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, 2University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia



Clinical supervision (CS) is an ongoing professional support process between a supervisor and supervisee undertaken to also promote healthcare safety and quality. CS has a wide-ranging impact including benefits to practitioners, patients and organisations. There is a lack of research on factors that lead to effective and high quality CS in allied health, especially in non-metropolitan areas. This study will address this gap.


Using a mixed methods sequential explanatory design, a quantitative method (administration of the Manchester Clinical Supervision Scale) was first applied followed by a qualitative method (individual interviews). Both primary and secondary research (systematic review) were undertaken to answer the research questions.


The study conducted with 207 occupational therapists in Queensland indicated that frequency of supervision, choice of supervisor and type of supervision had a positive influence on the quality of CS. Age, length of supervision and area of practice were found to have a negative influence on the quality of CS. This has provided the impetus for expanding the research to other allied health professions. The systematic review has highlighted eight factors relevant to supervisee characteristics, supervision characteristics and technological considerations that promote effective CS.

Significance of findings to AH

This is the first study that brings together primary and secondary research evidence on factors that lead to effective and high quality CS in allied health. Knowledge about factors that improve the quality of CS is expected to enhance the quality of supervision undertaken by allied health professionals, thereby enhancing healthcare safety and quality.

Cost effectiveness of gym and home-based exercise programs adults with chronic conditions

PhD candidate  Paul Jansons1,2, Dr Lisa  O’Brien2,3, PhD candidate  Lauren  Robins1,2, Prof Terry Haines1,2

1Monash Health, Allied Health Research Unit, Cheltenham, Australia, 2Monash University, Physiotherapy Department, Frankston, Australia, 3Monash University, Occupational Therapy Department, Frankston, Australia



To investigate the comparative cost effectiveness of gym versus home-based exercise programs with telephone-follow up for adults with chronic health conditions who had completed a short term, supervised exercise program


A two-group 12 month intervention, randomised controlled trial. One group received a gym based exercise program, the other a home-based exercise program with telephone follow up. The economic evaluation took the form of a trial-based, comparative, incremental cost-utility analysis undertaken from the societal perspective with a 12 month time horizon. Health care costs were collected from government databases and participant self-report, productivity costs from self-report, and health utility was measured using the EQ-5D-3L


100 participants included in the dataset. The gym-based follow-up approach would cost an additional $491,572 AUD from the societal perspective to gain one quality adjusted life year compared to the telephone-based approach. There was considerable uncertainty in this finding in that there was a 37% probability that the telephone-based approach was both less costly and more effective than they gym-based approach. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to vary the perspective of the evaluation to both the patient and health service perspectives separately.

Significance of the findings to allied health

The gym-based approach was more costly to implement. These additional costs are unlikely to be justified by differences in health outcomes attained. Further research conducted across multiple socioeconomic groups and with an additional no-intervention comparison group is warranted to further inform clinical decision-making in this area