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Allied Health Research Team

Allied Health Research logo

Our Allied Health Research Team provide tailored research support and mentorship to Allied Health Professionals across the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service including Audiologists, Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, Pharmacists, Physiotherapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Speech Pathologists, amongst others.  Each of these professions are undertaking innovative research with most having their own research groups or committees.

The Allied Health Research team aims to help build the research culture and capacity of these allied health professions and their collaboratives to ultimately improve health care services and outcomes. The team leads the development and implementation of the Allied Health Research Plan, as well as research which formally evaluates innovative research capacity building initiatives.

Vision for Allied Health Research

Embedding an inspiring research culture to transform and improve healthcare for our community.

Our Mission Statement

We will nurture an inclusive research culture across Gold Coast Health Allied Health through collaboration and innovation, to lead and implement outstanding consumer-focused research which improves healthcare.

Allied Health Research Plan 2024-2026

An overview of Allied Health Research’s Plan for 2024 to 2026 provides the Allied Health Research vision, mission and key objectives, which align with the strategic pillars of the Gold Coast Health Allied Health Strategic Plan 2024-2026. In consultation with key stakeholders, the Allied Health Research team has developed activities, measures and timeframes to fulfil these key objectives.

Summary of Research Activity

The Allied Health Research Activity report 2021-2023 showcases the diversity of innovative research activity undertaken by Gold Coast Health allied health professionals. This includes 146 ethically approved research projects, 140 journal publications, $2.79 million in grant funding awarded and 122 conference presentations across multiple service areas. Some emerging themes and areas of strength within Allied Health research include:

  • Innovative models of care evaluation including primary contact Allied Health clinics and multidisciplinary clinics, particularly in outpatient and community settings.
  • Rehabilitation in the areas of stroke, traumatic brain injury and other chronic conditions.
  • Digital Solutions including the exploration of artificial intelligence and other digital platforms to support clinical care and create efficiencies.

Several research projects are also being undertaken in the areas of critical care (i.e., paediatric feeding and physiotherapy management), research capacity building, pain management and medication management.

Allied Health Research Newsletter

Read the latest research news, opportunities and achievements from our Gold Coast allied health workforce in the April newsletter at Allied Health Research Newsletter April 2024

Allied Health Networking Event

Join us on Wednesday, the 24th of July, 4pm to 6pm at PED Building, Gold Coast University Hospital for an evening of networking and discovery at the Gold Coast Allied Health Research Networking Event. Explore collaborations, hear from industry leaders and connect with Allied Health leaders from Gold Coast Health, Griffith University, Bond University, and Southern Cross University. Food and drinks will be provided! Do not miss the opportunity to expand your professional network and stay informed about the latest developments in Allied Health Research. Register Here. Use this link for details about the Networking Event: Allied Health Networking Event


Our Allied Health Research Team

The Allied Health Research Team includes temporary and permanent positions that are either solely funded through GCH or jointly funded with a University.
If you are interested in a potential collaboration or to discuss a jointly funded position with your institution, please contact us at 

Acting Director of Allied Health Research - Dr Laetitia Hattingh

Dr Laetitia Hattingh

Dr Laetitia Hattingh is Acting Director of Allied Health Research. She has expertise in research methodology and the clinical and social aspects related to health care delivery. Laetitia is a pharmacist with specific research interests in medication management and safety in hospital and primary care, mental health and substance misuse, evaluation of new models of care and ethics/law. Read more:

Conjoint Allied Health Senior Research Fellow Griffith University - Dr Shelley Roberts

Dr Shelley Roberts

Dr Shelley Roberts is a conjoint Allied Health Research Fellow with GCH and Griffith University. Her background is in nutrition and dietetics, and she is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian. Dr Roberts' research focuses on improving nutrition among hospitalised patients, with particular interests in patient participation in care and patient centred care; healthcare technologies; pressure injury prevention; and integrated knowledge translation. Read more:

Conjoint Principal Research Fellow (Allied Health) Bond University - Dr Caitlin Brandenburg

Dr Caitlin Brandenburg is the conjoint Principal Research Fellow Allied Health with GCH and Bond University. She has experience in a range of research designs, but specialises in qualitative and knowledge translation methodology. Caitlin has a background in Speech Pathology, but has mentored clinicians in diverse fields to achieve success in research. Her own research interests are in health services research and clinician research capacity building. Read more:

Administrative Support Officer - Ms Lenore Smith

Ms Lenore Smith is a valued member of the Allied Health Research team, providing administrative support across operational activities to the team. 

Service Improvement and Research Officer roles

We have various temporarily funded Service Improvement and Research Officer roles that are attached to specific research projects. These projects may be internally funded through Allied Health Research or via externally obtained grant funding and provide a means for clinicians to further develop research skills. Roles are allocated with regard to identified Allied Health Research priority areas and are advertised by internal EOI. 

Allied Health Research and Innovation Leadership Committee

The core function of the GCHHS Allied Health Research and Innovation Leadership Committee (AHRILC) is to provide strategic advice and recommendations regarding research culture and practice, funding opportunities and allocations, research capacity building, research priorities, knowledge translation evidence-based practice, and innovations that may lead to research opportunities. A secondary function of the AHRILC is to foster communication across AH research groups/committees internally and externally.

The committee is chaired by the Director of Allied Health Research Members include research leaders from each of the Allied Health Professions’ own research collaboratives including Audiology, Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Psychology, Speech Pathology, and Social Work as well as external partners. 

Proposed Reporting Line

Current Research Projects within Allied Health Research Collaborative

Key projects led by the Allied Health Research Team
  • Exploring allied health professionals’ attitudes and perceptions towards artificial intelligence in the clinical setting: a mixed-methods study
  • Co designing a consumer engagement in research framework for Gold Coast Health
  • Assessment of Discipline Research Officer Intervention in Allied Health (ADROIT): A realist evaluation
  • Spread of structured journal clubs into clinical services using WE-TREAT: A knowledge translation approach   
  • Implementing Good Clinical Practice Standards within Allied Health Research: A mixed-methods exploratory study 
  • Evaluation of the Allied Health Demand and Capacity Tool

Initiatives within Allied Health Research

The following initiatives are currently in place to support allied health professionals to become more active research users, participants, and leaders.

Funding to support Clinical Backfill to Conduct Research

Giving clinicians the time to participate in research.

Allied Health Research Forums
  • These monthly lunchtime forums (mostly held on the 3rd Tuesday of each month 12-1pm) showcase clinically meaningful research projects being undertaken by Allied Health Professionals. 
  • All HHS staff are invited to attend the forums in person over a catered lunch or online and participate in stimulating discussion following the research presentations.
  • For more details email
TREAT journal clubs

The “TREAT” journal club format stands for “Tailoring Research Evidence And Theory” – and was developed by GCH allied health professionals and researchers in 2015. Further information and resources about implementing a TREAT journal club can be found at Some unique features of TREAT journal clubs compared to standard journal clubs include:

  • Journal club topics chosen as a group
  • Article is appraised as a group during the session as opposed to only an individual presenting
  • Defined roles which rotate between members.
  • Each component of the format is based on research evidence

The TREAT journal club format has been investigated in a randomised controlled trial with 125 health professionals and an implementation study with 134 health professionals. We have also learnt key information about what helps sustain TREAT journal clubs, as detailed in Factors that influence the sustainability of structured allied health journal clubs: a qualitative study (

Allied Health Research Capacity Building Toolkit

This toolkit consolidates evidence-informed strategies to support research capacity building in allied health. It has been developed as part of the PRO-Allied Health project and is based on the results of a systematic review of existing frameworks for research capacity building.

Research capacity building publications by Allied Health Research team

Wenke R, Stehlik P, Gerrard J, Mickan S, Henry D. Using a journal club to navigate a maze of COVID-19 papers in a front-line hospital service. BMJ Evid Based Med. 2023 Jun;28(3):210-211. doi: 10.1136/bmjebm-2022-112130.

Wenke R, Roberts S, Angus R, Owusu MA, Weir K.(2023) How do I keep this live in my mind?” Allied Health Professionals’ perspectives of barriers and enablers to implementing Good Clinical Practice in research: A qualitative exploration guided by behaviour change theory. BMC Health Services Researc.

Angus, R.L., Hattingh, H.L. & Weir, K.A. (2022) Experiences of hospital allied health professionals in collaborative student research projects: a qualitative study. BMC Health Serv Res 22, 729

Wenke, R., Wiseman, J., Brandenburg, C, Stehlik, P, Hughes, I., Richards, K., Mickan, S (2022) Long term tailored implementation of structured "TREAT" journal clubs in allied health: a hybrid effectiveness-implementation study. BMC Medical Education, 2022. April 22(1): p. 307.

Mickan, S., Wenke, R., Weir, K., Bialocerkowski, A., Noble, C. (2022) Using knowledge brokering activities to promote allied health clinicians’ engagement in research: a qualitative exploration, BMJ Open, 12 (4) e058453
Hilder, J., Mickan, S., Noble, C., Weir, K. & Wenke, R. (2020). Outcomes of a funding initiative to promote allied health research activity: A qualitative realist. Health Research Policy and Systems. Health Research Policy and Systems 18(1)

Wenke, R., Noble, C., Weir, K., Mickan, S. (2020). What influences allied health clinician participation in research in the public hospital setting: A qualitative theory-informed approach. BMJ Open. 10:e036183. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-036183  
Matus J, Wenke R, Hughes I, Mickan S, (2019) Evaluation of the research capacity and culture of allied health professionals in a large regional public health service. J Multidiscip Healthcare 14;12:83-96.

Matus, J., Wenke., R., Mickan, S (2019). A practical toolkit of strategies for building research capacity in allied health. Asia Pacific Journal of Health Management 14 (2), 5

Mickan, S., Hilder, J., Wenke, R., & Thomas, R. (2019). The impact of a small-group educational intervention for allied health professionals to enhance evidence-based practice: mixed methods evaluation. 19(1), 131. doi:10.1186/s12909-019-1567-1

Wenke, R., O’Shea, K., Hilder, J.,  Thomas, R., Mickan, S (2019) Factors that influence the sustainability of structured allied health journal clubs: A qualitative study. BMC Medical Education, Jan 3;19(1):6.

Last updated 14 Jun 2024