Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Biography

Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza, PhD, is a scientist who facilitates healthy living and better public health services. Dr. Pinero de Plaza strengthens researchers, clinicians, industry, and consumers' abilities to design, measure, and accomplish different health and social impacts. Her experience in mixed-methods, experimental design, and evaluation helps her identify and demonstrate how interventions, healthcare services, and technology can provide better choice, inclusion, voice, justice, health, and wellbeing.

She is passionate about care and social networks, technology, and methods influencing behavioural change. Dr Pinero is an advocate for evidence-based research as a member of the JBI Evidence Implementation Network and a member of two JBI expert reference groups (Cardiovascular and Aged Care).

Dr Pinero de Plaza involves stakeholders as co-researchers, recognizing their essential role in creating and executing transdisciplinary, evidence-based solutions for complex and adaptive health and care research challenges, such as A, B, and C. This approach involves synthesizing insights from multiple disciplines and embracing the inherent complexity of these issues, leading to comprehensive transdisciplinary strategies. Her publication record across various fields underscores her commitment to this integrated methodology: 

Dr. Pinero de Plaza has been:

  • Attracting Resources: Her ability to attract research funding is notable, having secured over A$2,677,190.40 in resources. This includes outstanding grants such as:
    1. Role as AI and evaluator of AI tool for the NHMRC-funded project "Optimising Evidence Translation in Emergency Management for Suspected Cardiac Chest Pain (RAPIDx)," receiving A$ 1,230,191.40.
    2. Involvement as AI and evaluator of virtual care in the "Safe@Home: Telemonitoring and Virtual Care for Chronic Disease Management" project, securing A$ 1,096,999.00 from NHMRC and A$ 350,000.00 from NALHN.
    3. Role as AI and disseminator for the NHMRC-funded project "Cardiac Rehabilitation Especially for Women (CREW)," with funding of A$ 150,000 from The Hospital Research Foundation.
    4. Chief Investigator 'C' for the "Cardiac Rehabilitation for All (CR4ALL)" project, receiving A$24,990.30 from the Flinders Foundation.
    5. Senior Chief Investigator for evaluating rapid changes in allied health and nursing practice in response to COVID-19, receiving A$ 49,891 from the Flinders - CFI Grant.
    6. Recognition as a CI-A in the Frail, Homebound, and Bedridden People Project (#FHBP) under the Accelerator Scheme from the Caring Futures Institute, receiving $4000.

Her track record demonstrates her leadership, innovation, and commitment to advancing knowledge and improving healthcare outcomes.

  • Implementing Evidence-based Projects: As a member of the CI team for CR4ALL, she spearheaded the implementation of a novel care pathway within the iCCnet telehealth service. This initiative aimed to bolster attendance and completion rates of Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) among socioeconomically disadvantaged patients residing in regional, rural, and remote areas of Australia. Collaborating closely with professionals, the CR4ALL team pioneered a co-design approach to tailor CR4ALL to meet the unique needs of these communities while also actively contributing insights to inform CR telehealth initiatives in South Australia.

Furthermore, she played a pivotal role in a sub-project of CR4ALL, specifically targeting women, which was generously funded by the Hospital Research Foundation (CREW). Her involvement extended to membership in a literature review club dedicated to exploring technology integration into cardiac rehabilitation practices. The outcomes of their research were instrumental in guiding the implementation of critical initiatives, including:

    • CHAP - Country Heart Attack Prevention is a partnership supported by the NHMRC. @nhrmc partnership
    • CREW - Cardiac Rehab Especially for Women, backed by the Hospital Research Foundation. @hosp_research
    • CR4ALL - Cardiac Rehab 4 All, facilitated by the Flinders Foundation. @FlindersFound

Through her multifaceted contributions, she actively shaped the landscape of cardiac rehabilitation, ensuring equitable access and optimal outcomes for diverse patient populations. She strongly focuses on metrics around Fundamental Care delivery to track stakeholders' and consumers' experiences locally and internationally (e.g., A, B, C, and D).  


Her research themes comprise areas as:

Cardiac Rehabilitation and Cardiovascular Health; Health System and Policy; Technology and Health; Implementation Science and Research Methods; Public Health, Consumer Behaviour, and Obesity.

Some examples are:

Her expertise is rooted in consumer engagement processes in health research, demonstrated by her national contributions. She was crucial in co-creating the Consumer Engagement Framework and Consumer Register at SAHMRI, underscoring her commitment to inclusivity and collaboration in research endeavours. Additionally, her involvement in the Expert Reference Group of the NHMRC CRE APPRISE for three years has been instrumental in informing discussions on critical issues, such as the delineation between research and response to COVID-19. Her insights have facilitated the alignment of APPRISE priorities with other entities while also addressing challenges related to data sharing, multidisciplinary collaboration, and engagement across various sectors. Moreover, she has advocated for considering research outcomes beyond academic publication, highlighting the importance of broader societal impact and dissemination strategies.

Dr. Pinero de Plaza's conference presentations have been further recognized through publication as book chapters, with one presentation disseminated by the World Health Organization as part of the first literature published on the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020 -June 2023). Furthermore, her interdisciplinary work, blending socio-scientific inquiry with artistic expression, has garnered acknowledgment from The Australian Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of People with Disability (SUB.001.02754 & SUB.001.02754), underscoring the far-reaching impact of her research and advocacy efforts. 

The ENLIGHTEN online exhibition has more than 2872 views and downloads. In a similar field, she collaborates with Spanish and Colombian researchers on projects measuring fundamental care and creating predictive modelling to evaluate and deliver better healthcare services (e.g., by creating new approaches). She is an active member of the Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health, Patient Reported Measures work