Shanthi started her career as a health and social researcher working for 20 years in the private, not-for-profit and academic sectors. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, a Master of Health Science and a PhD assessing the implementation of the NHMRC Guidelines for the treatment of low back pain. Shanthi began her career in 1991 as a researcher in health programs at the Asia-Pacific Office of Consumers’ International particularly in the areas of rational drug use, smoking and primary health care. She relocated to Australia in 1995 and commenced as the Executive Officer of the Australian Rural Health Research Institute where she was involved in implementing a range of public health intervention programs in rural and remote settings across Australia in the areas of mental health, youth suicide prevention, sexual health and palliative care.
Between 2005 and 2016, Shanthi was variously a Research Fellow, Director of Research and Head of Client Research at the Hunter Research Foundation with responsibility for a portfolio of mainly health and social research projects with a combined value of over 6 million. Between 1999 and 2005, she also performed short-term consultancy stints with both the Greater Murray and Hunter New England Area Health Services mainly in the area of continuing professional education of health service staff. Prior to joining the Hunter Medical Research Institute as a Post-Doctorate Fellow in Health Economics, Shanthi took on a position with the University of South Australia as Project Manager of CareTrack Kids, a study about the appropriateness of healthcare delivered to Australian children for 19 common paediatric conditions and the type and frequency of adverse events in children. She combines strong statistical and qualitative skills with vast experience with engaging end users of research including consumers, clinicians, policymakers, industry and the public.
Since 2016, she moved into the field of research impact assessment, a newly emerging field of research practice. Shanthi has been leading the implementation of the Framework to Assess the Impact of Translational health research (FAIT) in Australia. FAIT was developed by a group of health economists and researchers at HMRI and aims to not just measure and assess impact but is designed to encourage greater translation and planning to optimise impact. Beginning with two NHMRC Centres for Research Excellence (CRE), the application of FAIT has grown, and its application broadened beyond research projects and programs. Shanthi has been part of a team that has applied FAIT to health services, various funding schemes, research organisations, international projects and programs of work. She is also a Conjoint Fellow of the College of Health, Medicine and Wellbeing at the University of Newcastle.
Shanthi is making significant contributions to the interdisciplinary areas of Research Impact Assessment (RIA) and Research Translation (RT) – areas that feature strongly in many health and medical research grants such as the Medical Research Futures Fund. She has also contributed to scholarship in this field (14 conference presentations and 8 publications) and continuing professional development (over 25 workshops). She has become a specialist in RIA in Australia. Since 2017 she has built RIA and RT capacity amongst over 1,000 academics, policymakers and clinician researchers. This experience has given her exposure to the challenges of impact assessment and understanding the value of research investment.
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