Senior Research Officer
PhD, MClinScOT, BScOT
Dr Sharmila Vaz has a BSc (Occupational Therapy), an MClinSc (Occupational Therapy Major) and a PhD (Occupational Therapy). She is a Senior Research Officer in the Health Promotion Education Research Team at Telethon Kids Institute and a Senior Research Fellow in the Falls Prevention team at Curtin University. Sharmila's research interests span the fields of child and family studies, mental health and wellbeing, healthy ageing, intervention design and program evaluation. Sharmila is particularly interested in understanding how individual differences and contextual factors relate to psychosocial, productivity, and participatory outcomes across the life span. She is currently involved in several projects, including the Bright Tomorrows parenting app, designing and evaluating social-emotional wellbeing interventions for children and caregivers, and designing and evaluating falls prevention interventions for older people in hospital settings. Sharmila has worked as a clinician in hospital, community, and school-based settings in India and Australia. She is experienced in conceptualizing and leading large-scale multi-disciplinary multi-sector translational research projects and has expertise in mixed-method research. Sharmila strives to use innovative research designs and analytical techniques to understand consumer-driven research questions – with the translation of research at the core of her work.
To date, Sharmila has received $1.5 million through competitive research funding; much of this from notable sources such as the Department of Social Services; Healthway, Western Australia; Disability Services Commission; The Autism Cooperative Research Centre; and Val Lishman Health Research Foundation Inc. Sharmila has supervised 18 graduate research assistants, 30 honours students and four PhD students to successful completion. Since her first publication in 2013, Sharmila has published 45 peer-reviewed journal articles. She has also published two book chapters in areas related to adolescent mental health and has written several reports funded by government officials. Over 85% of her publications are in SCImago Quartile1 Journals, demonstrating the quality of her research. Sharmila is the first author on ten and senior author on nine of these publications, demonstrating her intellectual leadership. Her work has been cited 1572 times, and she has an h-index of 21, demonstrating intellectual leadership relative to opportunity.
The nature of Sharmila's research necessitates grassroots engagement with communities so that the work has an impact, is multi-disciplinary, pragmatic, and applied. This is evidenced in several successful presentations to key stakeholders, community groups, and a media presence. She has jointly presented talks leading to 23 peer-reviewed conference proceedings to research personnel, school and mental health practitioners, parents, and health consumers. Her research has also surfaced in 14 media releases. Sharmila's research outputs reflect collaborative work with consumers, end-user industry partners, and health sciences, education, psychology, public health, biostatistics, medicine, nursing, and engineering.