It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences website for Research.
I am proud of our Faculty’s internationally renowned breadth and depth of health and medical research. We have a diverse range of researchers who work together across the research pipeline, from discovery to implementation science, to improve health and well-being outcomes for society. I have been fortunate to see the growth in research over the past 20 years here within the Faculty, from when I first started postgraduate study at the University, to my current role as interim Associate Dean (Research).
I was initially drawn to a career in health growing up with a brother who has autism and is non-verbal. Early on in my career as a physiotherapist, I realised there was a great deal we didn’t know about supporting individuals and their families with disabilities to optimise health outcomes. To improve outcomes, we need health and medical research to identify the diverse range of factors that contribute to health and wellbeing, along with testing interventions to enhance outcomes. This is not just an issue in the field of disability but in many areas of research. Encouraging team-based approaches to solving complex problems is a key component of our Faculty's research strategy, and we are fortunate to be located at the heart of a thriving biomedical precinct with partners and Faculty researchers working in Parkville, across Melbourne and Victoria.
My specific research has focused on very early diagnosis of neurodevelopmental impairments in children born preterm, particularly cerebral palsy. Working with multidisciplinary teams, I have advanced the field of early detection of cerebral palsy by studying the development of early movement and improved access to early detection through the development of a smart-phone app. This work has major influence beyond my field, as it enables access to earlier detection of CP at a low cost, meaning that intervention trials can be trialled earlier in development on large scale with outcomes reported at earlier ages.
I feel fortunate that I am able to continue my research, whilst supporting the careers of our health and medical researchers within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. I am strong believer in diversity in research to ensure we create the greatest impact on health.
I hope this website gives some insight and connections to the vast range of research activity and research support happening across the Faculty, with our partners and across the University.
Professor Alicia Spittle
Associate Dean (Research) | Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
Professor | Department of Physiotherapy