Measuring and Building Research Capacity and Culture – NALHN

George S1,2, Parr S1, Nimmo L1, Hammond L1

1Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, Caring Futures Institute Flinders University2

Background:  Benefits of Allied Health Professionals (AHP) engaging in research include improved efficiencies in service delivery and patient outcomes, as well as skill development and career advancement. Building AHP capacity to undertake research is of international priority. Evidence informed approaches to build research capacity in AH practice are required.

Objectives: To explore the research capacity and culture of allied health in the acute division, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network.

Methods: A mixed methods approach included: qualitative semi-structured interviews (n = 17) and focus groups (n = 2); and a research capacity and culture survey (RCCT) (n = 109) to measure research capacity at individual, team and organisational levels.

Results: Key themes identified included (1) a developing research culture; (2) research valued for service/staff development; (3) research needs to be rebranded; and (4) recommendations for future change. Organisational level strategies to increase research capacity and culture include dissemination of research findings, access to research software and consumer involvement.

Conclusions: Findings illustrate a research culture that is developing within AHP at NALHN. Despite a sense of ‘not knowing where to begin’, participants reported valuing research and shared recommendations for improving culture and capacity. These findings will inform a future intervention to build research capacity within the NALHN Allied Health division.


Stacey George

Professor George has over 30 years of clinical experience as an occupational therapist working in acute, inpatient and community rehabilitation for people with neurological conditions and older people in Australia, the United Kingdom and Brunei. She is an experienced occupational therapy and allied health researcher, completing her PhD in 2008, in the evaluation of interventions to improve participation in the real world setting. She has coordinated randomised controlled trials evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation targeting vision, driving and community participation, involving government and non government sectors. She has an interest in the development, implementation and evaluation of allied health models of care. Stacey is the Allied Health Research Chair in the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network.

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