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Research Team - Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Queensland Health

Research Team


Professor Liz Ward B.Sp.Thy(Hons) Grad Cert Ed, PhD.
Partner: The University of Queensland
Contact: (07) 3406 2265 or
Professor Liz Ward

Liz is a speech pathologist with over 20 years research experience. Her areas of personal research interest include speech and swallowing disorders in a range of clinical populations including head and neck cancer, critical care populations (including tracheostomy management) and degenerative disorders. She is also keenly interested in telehealth services and tele service delivery as well as research into models of student and professional training (such as simulation training) and optimising professional skill development. Liz currently assists a number of teams with a wide range of multidisciplinary projects related to service enhancement, changes to models of care and evaluating new advanced and extended scope roles.

Liz has published extensively and currently has over 160 peer reviewed publications, 39 book chapters as well as 2 academic text books. She has presented multiple invited speaker presentations and workshops across Australia, as well as internationally in New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, England, USA, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Liz currently supervises a large (>10) group of research higher degree students and continues to lecture the Dysphagia course within the Division of Speech Pathology at The University of Queensland. She is committed to high quality teaching and learning and has received numerous teaching awards.

Dr Pim Kuipers BA(Hons), MA, Grad Dip Rehab, PhD
Principal Research Fellow and Associate Professor
Partner: Griffith University
Contact: (07) 3406 2264 or
Associate Professor Pim Kuipers Pim is Principal Research Fellow (and Associate Professor, appointed through Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University).  He was previously Senior Research Fellow and Head of Research at the Centre for Remote Health in Alice Springs (Flinders University), where he was awarded a PHCRED mid-career fellowship. He is a psychologist and completed his doctoral research in community based rehabilitation (CBR). He has conducted and led research in areas of health service delivery, rural and remote primary health care, Indigenous health, community based rehabilitation, and disability services, specifically for people with brain injuries and people with spinal cord injuries. His research in the area of CBR has led to a position as project advisor in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, a 4-month Erasmus Mundus (European Commission) Fellowship to University College, London, as well as commissioned research with the World Health Organisation, Geneva. Pim is involved in research on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), community integration after injury, family and patient engagement in health care, allied health practice, and primary health care.  He focuses on qualitative and mixed methods research.  He maintains an active research interest in community rehabilitation (in Australia as well as in developing countries) and is engaged in a number of international research collaborations on this topic.
Dr Steven McPhail BPhty, PhD
Senior Research Fellow
Partner: Queensland University of Technology
Steven McPhail Steven McPhail is senior research fellow for the Centre for Functioning and Health Research (CFAHR), Queensland Health and the School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology. He has experience in clinical (Physiotherapy), organisation development and health research roles. He is a health outcomes researcher with a special interest in the use of patient reported outcomes and improving longitudinal and clinical trial research methodologies, including economic evaluation. The diverse range of clinical fields in which he undertakes research all involve the translation and evaluation of novel interventions or treatment models in contemporary healthcare environments.
Dr Bena Cartmill BSpPath (Hons), PhD
Speech Pathology
Contact: (07) 3176 7425 or
Bena Cartmill Bena Cartmill received her PhD from the University of Queensland in the field of Speech Pathology in 2012. Her previous research involved examining the functional outcomes of head and neck cancer patients following radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments. She continues to work clinically in this area and conduct ongoing research in the head and neck cancer field through an Office of Medical and Health Research Fellowship.


Conjoint Research Fellows

Associate Professor Jenny Fleming BOccThy, PhD
Occupational Therapy
Contact:  |
Associate Professor Jenny Fleming Associate Professor Jennifer Fleming is an occupational therapist with more than 20 years research experience in the field of brain injury rehabilitation. She gained her PhD from the University of Queensland in 1996 with the support of Menzies Research Scholarship in Allied Health Sciences. She has held the conjoint research position in Occupational Therapy with the Princess Alexandra Hospital and the University of Queensland since 2000. In this role she works closely with health practitioners and multidisciplinary teams at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and with postgraduate and honours students on a range of clinical research projects. Specific research interests include cognitive and psychosocial outcomes following brain injury including prospective memory and self-awareness rehabilitation, psychosocial integration and transition to the community, and lifetime care for young people with high care needs. Her work has been funded by the NHMRC and Australian Research Council, and published in over 150 journals articles and book chapters. In addition, Jennifer co-authored a book in 2008 on Health Care Practice in Australia, and is Associate Editor of the journal Brain Impairment.
Dr Emma Finch BSpPath (Hons), PhD
Speech Pathology
Contact: 3176 6598 or
Dr Emma Finch

Emma Finch (nee Whiting) graduated with a Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Hons Class I) from the University of Queensland in 2003 and was also awarded a University Medal at this time. Emma subsequently completed a PhD at the University of Queensland in 2008 and was awarded a Dean’s commendation for her doctoral thesis. Following the completion of her PhD, Emma entered fulltime clinical work as a speech pathologist, with a focus on neurosciences and rehabilitation. Since August 2010, Emma has been employed as a conjoint research fellow between the University of Queensland and the Princess Alexandra Hospital Speech Pathology Department.

Emma’s research themes have a strong clinical basis and are focused on the assessment and rehabilitation of communication disorders associated with acquired neurological conditions, such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and brain tumours. Emma is also interested in approaches to enhance the participation of individuals with acquired communication difficulties, such as communication partner training.

Emmah Doig PhD, BOccThy (Hons)
Occupational Therapy, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: The University of Queensland, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Contact: 3896 3081 or

Emmah Doig

Emmah is an occupational therapist with 15 years of experience in brain injury rehabilitation. Emmah completed her PhD in 2010 and is currently a post-doctoral research fellow funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council as part of the Moving Ahead Centre of Research Excellence in traumatic brain injury recovery. Emmah’s research to date has focussed on brain injury rehabilitation and has investigated occupation-based rehabilitation, the influence of rehabilitation context on outcomes, client-centred goal planning, community-based rehabilitation, and the assessment of post-traumatic amnesia and disorders of consciousness.

Current research projects involve the use of qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore goal planning practice in community-based rehabilitation contexts, family engagement in brain injury rehabilitation, development of self-awareness in people with brain injury over-time, group rehabilitation processes in inpatient brain injury rehabilitation, and evaluation of metacognitive rehabilitation approaches incorporating verbal and video feedback to improve performance in meaningful occupations.

Physiotherapy Research Fellow - Position under recruitment


A/Research Workforce Development Officer

Rachel Elphinston BSc (Hons), PhD
Rachel is a Clinical Psychologist currently working as a Research Workforce Development Officer, which focuses on research capacity building for more than 1000 allied health professionals in Metro South Health. She shares this research support role with the CFAHR team, providing skills training, monitoring and reporting of research outcomes, mentoring novice researchers and coordinating research. Rachel also works as a member of the Workforce Development team in Metro South Health and is involved in projects related to workforce development and capabilities and Team Management Systems. Rachel has a range of research interests including mental health, research capacity building, clinical education and training, and organisational psychology.

Postgraduate Students

CFaHR supports a number of undergraduate and postgraduate students in a range of research areas. Currently, CFAHR researchers supervise more than 30 research higher degree students. Please contact us for more information or to get in touch with a research student


CFAHR collaborates with many allied health, medical, and nursing professionals nationally and internationally. Allied health, medical, and nursing professionals with a range of research interests and expertise are invited to join the CFAHR community. CFAHR affiliates support and promote allied health research and evidence-based practice, and may offer research mentoring and support to allied health professionals across Metro South Health. Please contact us for more information:

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Last updated: 15 July 2014