Our team

 
 
 
Craig Veitch
Chief Investigator, Professor Craig Veitch was crucial in identifying the need for the project and developing research questions and methodologies in collaboration with senior managers and therapists from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing Disability and Home Care. His research interests include community-based care, rural workforce and services development, and services evaluation.
 
 
 
Chief Investigator, Professor Michelle Lincoln brings experience in understanding issues facing the therapy workforce. She is a speech pathologist whose research centres on allied health services, undergraduate training, stuttering and access to therapy. Michelle is committed to working towards equitable access to effective allied health services for people living in rural and remote Australia.
 
 
 
Chief Investigator, Professor Anita Bundy leads the evaluation of new therapy service model pilots in western NSW and runs professional development workshops in the area. She is also known internationally for her work in occupational therapy assessment and intervention, as well as for developing theory and research in play with children who have disabilities and in sensory integration.
 
 
 
Chief Investigator, Dr Gisselle Gallego, based at the Univeristy of Western Sydney provides the team with expertise in survey design and analysis. She is also exploring allied health professional job preferences and carers therapy preferences using discrete choice experiments (DCE).  She is a health services researcher with ample experience in mixed methods research. Gisselle’s research interests include disability and public health, policy, knowledge transfer and the use of qualitative methods in health economics and health services research.
 
 
 
Project Manager, Dr Angela Dew oversees the delivery of all project activities, manages project team members, and has developed strong relationships with key stakeholders in rural NSW. Angela is a sociologist with over 30 years experience working in the disability sector in government and non-government roles in direct service provision, management, teaching and research. Angela’s main research interests relate to the lived experiences of people with a disability and their family members.
 
 
 
Kim Bulkeley
Senior Project Officer, Ms Kim Bulkeleyis currently seconded from NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing Disability and Home Care. She has been responsible for building links with our rural research partners and provides valuable insights into the disability sector. She is an occupational therapist with over 25 years experience in community developmental disability in Australia and England. Kim is completing her PhD research on an OT intervention with young children with autism, using single subject methods as a means for including research in workplaces.
 
 
 
Jennie Brentnall
Senior Research Assistant, Ms Jennie Brentnall facilitated project conceptualisation with partners in western NSW and provides crucial advice and support to the team. She previously worked as an occupational therapist and rehabilitation coordinator in central western NSW. Her main research interests relate to clinical reasoning and outcome measurement for intervention planning and service evaluation.
 
 
 
Rebecca Chedid
Research Assistant & PhD candidate, Ms Rebecca Chedid performs survey construction, data collection and analysis and has had a lead role in recruitment of survey participants.In 2011 Rebecca was awarded occupational therapy (OT) First Class Honours for her research completed with the Wobbly Hub team on rural OTs use of Information and Communication Technology. Rebecca is currently pursuing doctoral studies in “occupational teletherapy” and is interested in the use of technology in delivering therapy services to people with a disability living in rural and remote areas as part of her work on the team.
 
 
 
Alexandra Iljadica
Research Assistant, Ms Alexandra Iljadica (MPH, BSc) supports the team across a range of research activities including recruitment, data management, data collection and literature searches. She assists with and coordinates the teams grant applications and oversees the team’s communication strategy including maintaining the website, media and the Wobbly Hub newsletter. Alexandra is interested in the translation and dissemination of research results to all audiences including the community.
 
 
 
Rachel Mayes
Senior Research Associate, Dr Rachel Mayes is working with the team on the evaluation of pilot projects in 2 locations in Western NSW. Within this, she manages stakeholder engagement and data collection and analysis. Rachel is an occupational therapist who has worked in disability research for 15 years. Her interests are in disability and its influence on families. Her most recent work focused on mothers who themselves have disabilities and mothers who have children with disabilities.
 
 
 
 
Senior Research Associate, Ms Rebecca Barton recently joined the team to work on developing a framework to support and enhance the practice of rural private allied health practitioners under DisabilityCare Australia. Rebecca’s primary research interests are disability and chronic illness, family, social and cultural context, meaning and identity. Rebecca recently completed her PhD titled Negotiating cultures: Chinese migrant families raising a child with a disability in Australia.
 
 
 
Jo Ragen
Senior Research Associate, Ms Jo Ragen was involved in developing the rural private allied health practitioners framework for use under DisabilityCare Australia. She has since furthered this work to look at technological solutions to the workforce issues identified by the framework. Jo's interests include strategic management, innovation and education, participation in everyday life - childhood and disability, perceptions of risk and risk management. Jo is currently completing her PhD titled The Risk of Good Intentions: Navigating outcomes for people with disability.
 
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr Monique Hines, is conducting research about access to allied health services, including speech pathology and communication services, for people living in rural and remote areas. Monique is a speech pathologist with experience in lifelong disability research, including qualitative methods, within university and non-government settings. Monique is committed to research that supports the health and wellbeing of people with lifelong disability and their families, and knowledge translation for disability service organisations.

 
Gabrielle Hindmarsh
Research Associate, Ms Gabrielle Hindmarsh is involved in the evaluation of the pilot projects in western NSW. Gabrielle is a psychologist and has worked with various multi disciplinary teams which have developed a support needs classification, explored how people with impairments transition to adulthood and built capacity among professionals working with families headed by parents with learning difficulties. As part of her doctoral studies, Gabrielle is exploring the health and well being of children with mothers with learning difficulties.
   
Sheila Keane
Research Associate, Dr Sheila Keane is a Senior Lecturer in Allied Health at the University Centre for Rural Health - North Coast and supports a range of Wobbly Hub research projects relating to rural allied health workforce recruitment and retention. Sheila is a board member of Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) and sits on the North Coast Medicare Local board and is keen to promote health services innovation such as the use of allied health assistants and student clinics to extend access to allied health services. Sheila is a certified neurologic specialist physiotherapist with over 30 years experience as a clinician and clinical educator and has recently completed a PhD in factors affecting recruitment and retention of allied health professionals in rural NSW.
 

 

John Gilroy
Research Associate, John Gilroy oversees the planning and implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander projects under the Wobbly Hub strategic plan. John is a Koori from the Yuin Nation and is a sociologist of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, specialising in disability, ageing and community care. John is working with remote Aboriginal communities in Central Australia on research relating to the Australian Government reforms to disability and ageing. John is also the founding chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Disability Research Network and former Vice Chair of the NSW Aboriginal Community Care Gathering Committee.

   

Collaborators

Students

 Lyrin
Lyrin Brooks
(Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy), Honours 2014)

“You know what? You’re not Superwoman” – Experiences of older rural carers of adult children with disability

Significant barriers and challenges impact on older rural carers as they age in their caring role. This study aims to explore the lived experiences of older rural carers. Individual semi structured interviews were conducted with 10 older carers with an adult son or daughter with a disability living in rural New South Wales, Australia to explore their caregiving experiences. Data were analysed using a modified grounded theory approach involving constant comparison and thematic analysis. Fears for the future, extensive travel commitments, reduced access to services, and decreased support networks pose significant challenges for older carers living rurally. Living rurally exacerbates the implications of the carer’s ageing process on their ability to continue caring. To improve the lives of older rural carers there are a number of practical measures that can be utilised. These include raising awareness of the availability of existing service options including transport, and providing flexible respite and web- based systems to link rural carers.

 Bathurst Rebecca
Rebecca Chedid

(Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy), Honours 2012)

Barriers to the use of Information and Communication Technology by occupational therapists working in a rural area of New South Wales, Australia

This qualitative study formed part of a large scale, multi-phase study into the delivery of therapy services to people with a disability living in one rural area of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The study’s purpose was to identify the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the workforce practices of occupational therapists working in a rural area of NSW. Individual semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 13 occupational therapists working in disability, health, and private practice in a rural area of NSW. Participants were asked about access to skills and limitations of using ICT. A modified grounded theory approach, based on thematic analysis and constant comparison, was used to analyse the interview transcripts. This study found widespread use of technology by rurally-based occupational therapists working in the disability sector in NSW. However, ICT was primarily used for client contact, professional development and professional networking rather than therapy provision. The study identified individual, workplace and community barriers to greater uptake of ICT by this group. The individual barriers included: age cohort, knowledge, and personal preferences. The workplace barriers included: support and training and availability of resources. The community barriers included: infrastructure and perceptions of clients’ acceptance. The potential exists for ICT to supplement face-to-face therapy provision, enhance access to professional development, and reduce professional isolation thereby addressing the rural challenges of large distances, travel times, and geographic isolation. In order to overcome these challenges, individual, workplace, and community ICT barriers should be addressed concurrently.

 Kate
Kate Gardner
(Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy), Honours 2013)

The perspectives of rural carers on receiving occupational therapy via Information and Communication Technologies

People with a disability living in rural areas experience difficulty in accessing therapy services. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) may have the potential to provide occupational therapy services remotely through two-way visual interactions. The aim of this qualitative study was to understand the perspectives of carers of a person with a disability living in rural New South Wales (NSW) on the use of ICT for occupational therapy service delivery. Individual semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with 11 carers of a person with a disability living in rural NSW. Participants were asked about their use of technology, therapy experiences and their attitudes towards using ICT to receive occupational therapy for their son/daughter. A modified grounded theory approach was used to analyse data via constant comparison and thematic analysis. This study found that participants were willing to use ICT to enhance their current access to therapy based on their in-depth knowledge of their son or daughter and their prior experiences with therapy and technology. For ICT to work for occupational therapy, participants identified the need for support and access prior to, during and between ICT sessions. From the carers’ perspective, ICT has the potential to increase access to occupational therapy services for people with a disability who live in rural NSW. Occupational therapists could utilise the experience, knowledge and willingness of rural carers to deliver therapy via ICT thereby supplementing and enhancing in-person service delivery.

 
Akshay Rai
(Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy), Honours 2014)

The use of research evidence by policy-makers in the disability sector: a qualitative study

Academic research has significant potential to positively influence the health and disability sectors by helping to inform, shape, evaluate, and create relevant policy. This qualitative study aimed to explore the insights, opinions, and experiences of currently employed policy-makers in the disability sectors of government and non-government organisations. A multi-method approach was used which included forums, questionnaires, and an interview. Purposive sampling was used when selecting potential participants. Two forums were held with policy makers: the first with government employees, and the second with non-government employees. Questionnaires were used to inform forum discussion and to receive feedback. A semi-structured interview was conducted for a participant who was unable to attend the forums, but still wished to participate. Modified grounded theory was used to approach the study. Forum notes, forum transcripts, questionnaires, and the interview transcript were analysed using thematic analysis and constant comparison. Four themes emerged from an analysis of the data. 1) Time was a barrier when using evidence in research, either through the timeliness of research, or through a lack of time 2) Being unable to easily access research and finding high-quality graded research was cited as another barrier 3) The participants’ perceived relationship between researcher and policymakers, where policy-makers would be preferred to be more involved with researchers 4) Alternate methods of disseminating information in a way outside of traditional journal articles, so that key messages are readily apparent for intended audiences. The results contribute to understanding what encourages and dissuades policy-makers from using evidence. Policy-makers appreciate research in a timely fashion with key findings being synthesised and readily apparent. Accessing high quality evidence is a struggle for participants. Disseminating information through traditional journal articles is falling out of favour for audiences outside academia. Policy-makers would prefer being involved with researchers from the beginning of the research process.

 Emma Coyne

Emma Coyne

(Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy), Honours 2014-2015)

Access to equipment for people with disability in rural NSW

Access to equipment for people with disabilities and their families can be important to allow them to participate in community life and activities of daily living. In rural areas of NSW, large geographical area, low population density and dispersed services mean access to equipment and the professionals who prescribe equipment is challenging. Little is known about the perspectives and perceptions of rural people with disabilities, their carers and service providers about access to equipment.  Knowledge and insight into their experiences and perspectives can help to shape policy to make equipment provision more equitable for rural people with disabilities, carers and service providers. What do rural NSW service providers see as the challenges when providing equipment to people with disabilities? What positive experiences have rural NSW people with disability and carers had when accessing equipment? What do rural NSW people with disability and carers see as the challenges to accessing equipment? What can be done to make access to equipment more equitable for people with disabilities and their carers in rural NSW?