In 2023 the Sydney Health Partners Implementation Science Academy awarded Fellowships to 17 researchers and clinician-researchers, including five who received funded Research Translation Fellowships from Sydney Health Partners in 2021.

The honorary titles have been conferred as recognition of their knowledge, skills, and success in translating and implementing research evidence into health practice and policy.

The SHP Implementation Science Academy provides a platform for their achievements and opportunities to collaborate with other implementation researchers and clinicians.

Each fellow has been invited to join the Advisory Group for one of the Academy’s three initiatives:

  • Capacity and Capability
  • Collaboration and Partnerships
  • Innovation and Methods in Implementation Science
Group shot of the Fellows of the Implementation Science Academy

Fellows – Capacity and Capability

Sydney Health Partners Research Translation Fellow 2021-2023

Executive Research Lead – Cancer Nutrition, Sydney Local Health District, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse

Clinical Associate Professor Merran Findlay has more than 23 years’ experience in nutrition support and care of people with cancer.

As Executive Research Lead – Cancer Nutrition in Sydney Local Health District and Sydney Health Partners Research Translation Fellow, she leads a program of work supporting translation of cancer nutrition and supportive care evidence into practice.

A recognised leader in her field, Merran has led the development, dissemination and implementation of evidence-based cancer nutrition guidelines.

Her research has focused on the impact of cancer-related malnutrition and sarcopenia on clinical, cost and patient-centred outcomes, innovative models of care and implementation science to support research translation for which she has achieved several national awards.

Merran’s project ‘Leading Better valuE SupporTive CARE for patients with head and neck cancer (BEST CARE)’ aims to explore potential models of delivering evidence-based nutrition supportive care for patients with head and neck cancer from an economic perspective to identify feasible, better-value models in terms of: i) effectiveness and efficiency; ii) consumer and clinician experience perspectives; and iii) where opportunities for investment to implement and scale up or disinvestment might lie.

Sydney Health Partners Research Translation Fellow 2021-2023

Senior Occupational Therapist, Sydney Local Health District

Robyn is a clinician at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney Local Health District, and an expert in the treatment and management of lymphoedema.
A passionate advocate for improved services and support for those with lymphedema, Robyn undertook research training from 2009 to realise her aspirations of being a clinician-researcher.

Her PhD studies enabled her to explore digital health and the potential for digital supports to provide efficiencies within the clinic, promote patient engagement, and reduce clinical variation.

Robyn’s goal is to see a learning health system where data collected at the point of care can be used to inform precision care for this prevalent but long neglected condition of lymphedema.

Robyn’s project, ‘Implementation of a Clinical Decision Support System to Operationalise Lymphoedema Assessment Data’, aims to evaluate the implementation of a CDSS for clinicians treating lymphoedema and to determine how the subsequent changes in assessment processes and communication impacts patient care.

Lecturer and Research Fellow, The University of Sydney

Dr Sarah Kourouche is an early career researcher and registered nurse.

Sarah’s main areas of interest lie in the implementation and outcomes of interventions for emergency and acute care. She completed her PhD at the University of Sydney investigating the implementation of a care bundle for patients with blunt chest injury in emergency departments.

Sarah leads research to support the translation of evidence-based care in emergency departments.

Sarah’s project ‘Chest Injury Protocol (ChIP)’ aims to mitigate pneumonia and mortality risks linked to rib fractures. Through systematic implementation science and behaviour change methods, ChIP was successfully introduced into hospital policy and practice at various NSW emergency departments.

Professor of Clinical Translation in Allied Health, The University of Sydney, John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research

Professor Trudy Rebbeck is a Professor of Clinical Translation in Allied Health at the University of Sydney and also works as a clinical specialist in musculoskeletal physiotherapy in primary care, specialising in assessment and management of complex musculoskeletal conditions.

Tudy leads two national programmes of research; ‘Implementation of clinical pathways and models of care for whiplash and musculoskeletal (MSK) pain conditions more broadly’, and ‘Discovery of new mechanism underpinning headache and MSK pain conditions’.

Her 5-year programme of research has attracted >$15m in competitive research funding including a recent Centre of Research Excellence (Better Health Outcomes for Compensable Injury; $2.5m 2022-2026). She has 80+ publications and >2800 citations. Trudy has supervised 16 HDR students, mentored over 50 clinical specialists in physiotherapy to obtain Fellowship, and regularly delivers international workshops on clinical translation.

Trudy’s project “Effective management of people with traumatic neck pain/ whiplash”  led to the implementation of a guideline based Clinical PAthway of CarE  for people with whiplash (PACE-Whiplash). PACE-Whiplash’s  interactive education is now embedded within undergraduate curricula in 6 Universities, and professional educational courses for the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Over 5000 clinicians are using the program’s website to assist management of 21000+ people with whiplash nationally. PACE-Whiplash is integrated into policy in four government regulator schemes and led to the scaled PACE-MSK project.

Implementation Fellow, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute

Dr Sarah Reedman is a physiotherapist and clinician-researcher at Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Institute, The University of Sydney Children Hospital Westmead Clinical School.

As Implementation Fellow, Sarah leads an innovative health research capacity development program called the Staff Research Participation Model. This program aims to accelerate research translation through embedding of clinical research into practice, and creates routine opportunities for non-academic clinicians to be involved in research.

Sarah also has extensive experience in leading randomised controlled trials of rehabilitation interventions for children and young people with cerebral palsy, focusing on physical activity behaviour change, intensive goal-directed training, and adapted exercise. She is passionate about involving people with lived experience in setting research priorities and driving innovation in clinical service delivery.

Sarah’s project “Barriers/facilitators to implementation of BWSTT at Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA)” aims to improve the reach and uptake of Bodyweight Supported Treadmill Training (BWSTT) for people with cerebral palsy.

Fellows – Collaboration and Partnerships

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Sydney

Dr Karen Birkenhead is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Implementation Science at The University of Sydney.

Karen’s PhD investigated the relationships between lifetime physical activity and diet with biological ageing. As an academic Karen taught undergraduate courses in nutrition and dietetics, and exercise at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Karen also worked as a Registered Dietitian in Canada for 14 years in public health, telehealth, and chronic disease management. Karen’s goal is to increase awareness and understanding of Implementation Science to help ensure research findings translate into tangible improvements in healthcare.

Karen’s current research project aims to implement a primary-tertiary shared care model for familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH).

Research Fellow, Implementation Science, John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research

Dr Johnny Bourke is a Research Fellow at the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research at The University of Sydney. He has a PhD from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, a Masters of Health Science (rehab) from the University of Otago in New Zealand and a BA (psych) from Massey University in New Zealand.

In 2022 Johnny was awarded the Canterbury Medical Research Fund Emerging Researcher Fellowship examining positive relationships between disabled people and support workers. Johnny is passionate about codesign, including people with lived experience in the implementation process, and using realist approaches to evaluate implementation strategies.

His project “Spinal Cord Injury Health Maintenance Tool (SCI-HMT) aims to use a co-design mixed methods process to support individuals with SCI and their primary health care providers to promote better community self-management.

Senior Research Fellow and NHMRC Early Career Fellow, The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health

Dr Marina Pinheiro is an NHMRC Early Career Fellow at the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, a partnership between the University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health District, and part of the University’s Sydney Musculoskeletal Health Flagship Centre.

Marina’s research is focused on enhancing translation of physical activity research findings into practice. She has a special interest on evaluating the cost-effectiveness of physical activity programs.

Marina is a chief investigator on three MRFF grants and one NHMRC Partnership grant all supporting implementation trials evaluating the implementation of physical activity interventions for older people and adults living with disability. She leads the cost-effectiveness evaluation of these trials.

Marina’s project “Transition exercise program to assist hospital patients to take up ongoing local community-based exercise opportunities” aims to offer a feasible solution to overcome the challenge many patients experience when trying to sustain exercise participation after discharge.

Research Associate, The University of Sydney

David is a Research Associate with the University of Sydney completing a PhD and managing a trial about Aboriginal pulmonary rehabilitation services funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

David’s project “Breathe Easy, Walk Easy, Lungs for Life (BE WELL)” aims to improve knowledge about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and support cultural adaptation of COPD resources in Aboriginal communities in Australia by utilising a co-desiged online education program, incorporating an Aboriginal pedagogy framework.

NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow and Senior Research Fellow, Engagement and Co-design Research hub, The University of Sydney

Anna is an early career researcher with expertise in chronic disease rehabilitation, consumer co-design, digital health, psychology (MSc Experimental Psych, BSc Hons 1 psych) and clinical trials.

Anna is passionate about co-designing and implementing low-cost, and accessible health support strategies with and for cancer survivors.

One of Anna’s co-designed initiatives, a health and wellness text message program called EMPOWER-SMS, has been deemed useful and motivating for health management by over 600 breast cancer survivors across Australia and will be evaluated for implementation into primary care in a national clinical trial.

In recognition of her work, Anna was awarded the 2022 Sydney Health Partners Award for Significant Research Contribution to Women’s Health, the 2022 Telstra Health Top 25 Brilliant Women in Digital Health Award, and the 2023 NSW Premier’s Outstanding Early Career Researcher Award.

Sydney Health Partners Research Translation Fellow 2021-2023

Neonatal Staff Specialist, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

Dr Nicholas Williams is a Neonatologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney Local Health District. Nick led a 3-year research implementation project in Vancouver, Canada, which redeveloped the provincial (state) guidelines pertaining to the perinatal management of an anticipated extremely preterm birth.

He is using the Sydney Health Partners Research Translation Fellowship to support the implementation of best practice recommendations regarding extremely preterm birth across NSW, including the development and evaluation of parent and carer resources.

Fellows – Innovation and Methods in Implementation Science

Sydney Health Partners Research Translation Fellow 2021-2023

Research Fellow, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Kolling Institute, University of Sydney


Dr Jillian Eyles is a physiotherapist at the Northern Sydney Local Health District and early career researcher at the Kolling Institute and Sydney Musculoskeletal Health, University of Sydney.

Jillian’s research program is focused on the development and evaluation of strategies designed to support the implementation and adoption of best-evidence osteoarthritis care. Her work also extends to designing strategies to support the de-implementation of low-value osteoarthritis management options that should no longer be used.

Jillian collaborates closely with health professionals, consumers and policy partners in her projects which have attracted >$5.7 million in competitive funding.

Research Fellow, The University of Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District

Dr Sviatlana Kamarova is an Organisational and Health Psychologist and research fellow at the University of Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.

Sviatlana worked on development of a conceptual framework integrating organisational change and behavioural change evidence to produce effective and sustainable change management.
Her current work concerns implementation of practice change in NBMLHD health services where she incorporates organisational and behaviour change approaches with robust evaluation techniques.

During her Sydney Health Partners Implementation Academy Research Fellowship, she works on evaluation and implementation of tele-prehabilitation program, implementation of shared decision-making model of care in the mental health treatment and designing prevention strategies for financial abuse of older people.

Her research interests are in behaviour change, organisational change, implementation science, motivation, health economics, mental health, musculoskeletal and cancer research.

Sviatlana’s project “Review of the Cancer Council Western Australia (CCWA) Life Now Physical Activity program” aims to improve the reach of the community health program and increase adherence and participation of people affected by cancer and their primary carers. The Life Now Program offers introductory Exercise, Meditation, Mindfulness, Mindful Art, Tai Chi and Yoga courses at locations across Western Australia and online.


Research Fellow Implementation and Scale up, The University of Sydney

Karen is a Research Fellow at the Prevention Research Collaboration based at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre. Her research interests are in the area of implementation, scale up and evaluation of chronic disease prevention, obesity prevention and physical activity programs. She is particularly interested in examining how scaling up decisions and processes can be improved to achieve population health benefits.

As part of her PhD research, Karen developed a range of practical tools and resources to assist policymakers and practitioners make informed decisions about the potential scalability of their interventions. To date, these tools have been well received and are being used nationally and internationally.

Karen has worked extensively across both public and private sectors in the area of program and policy evaluation and health service redesign. She completed her doctorate at the University of Sydney and is passionate about advancing the field of implementation and scale up.

Karen’s “Falls Project” aims to assess the potential scalability of a multi-component integrated falls prevention service, which has been successfully implemented in the area of southwest Ireland.

Sydney Health Partners Research Translation Fellow 2021-2023

Staff Specialist in Clinical Genetics, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network at Westmead

Alan Ma is a clinical geneticist and clinician-researcher at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network – Westmead.

As an academic with the Specialty of Genomic Medicine at the University of Sydney, Alan helps to run a Masters program in genomics and precision medicine.

During his Sydney Health Partners Research Translation Fellowship, Alan is studying the translation of genomics and precision medicine into healthcare.

Alan’s project ‘Value, Effectiveness and Scalability of the Genomic MDT (Multidisciplinary Team) Mode’ aims to evaluate the optimal implementation for a genomics MDT, in order to provide a value-based, effective, and scalable model for genetic medicine.

Clinician-Researcher, Western Sydney Local Health District
Cunningham Orthopaedic Research Fellow, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney

Dr Marie March is a clinician-researcher in Western Sydney Local Health District, and the Cunningham Orthopaedic Research Fellow at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney.

Marie has over 15 years clinical experience as a physiotherapist in orthopaedics across inpatient, outpatient and emergency department contexts.

Marie’s research is informed by her clinical practice, looking to improve orthopaedic and musculoskeletal health service delivery to achieve equitable outcomes for people at risk of worse outcomes. This research has used both quantitative and qualitative approaches with patients, carers and staff, systematic reviews and implementation science approaches.

Marie’s project “A modified approach to exercise after hip fractures” aims to explore a feasible approach and scalability for effective interventions enabling physiotherapists to implement high frequency care to improve patient function and reduce hospital length of stay after hip fractures.

Senior Lecturer and Head of Discipline of Behavioural and Social Sciences in Health, The University of Sydney

Dr Rachel Thompson is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Discipline of Behavioural and Social Sciences in Health in the Sydney School of Health Sciences.

Rachel has a PhD in health psychology and has received over $14M in funding to accelerate and study the implementation of evidence-based innovations in practice. Her research has a particular focus on implementation of patient-reported measurement, patient decision aids, and shared decision-making in reproductive health care. Rachel also teaches an undergraduate unit on evidence-based health care at the University of Sydney.

Rachel’s project “CollaboRATE” aims to address the problem of poor implementation of shared decision-making (SDM), perpetuated by the absence of a tool suitable for measuring SDM and providing individualised feedback in routine clinical practice. CollaboRATE tool is a scalable, setting-agnostic 3-item patient-reported measure of SDM, which has been endorsed as a national performance measure by the US National Quality Forum, promoted by the Scottish and South Australian Governments, and adopted in quality assurance practice. CollaboRATE has been translated into 13 languages and used in >100 studies in 15 countries.