Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza, PhD


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Personal profile

Research Biography

Dr. Pinero de Plaza is a scientist facilitating healthy living and better public health services through knowledge translation and health research. She strengthens researchers, clinicians, industry, and consumers' abilities to design, measure, and accomplish different health and social impacts. Her experience in qualitative mix-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. Her Research Fellow role involves health consumers and other stakeholders as co-researchers in developing and implementing evidence-based methods and solutions addressing complex problems on continuity & integration of care.

In 2020-22, Dr Pinero de Plaza's investigations were accepted/published in these Q1 journals:

  • The International Journal of Qualitative Methods
  • Health Promotion International
  • Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services
  • The Journal of Clinical Nursing
  • BMJ Open
  • Nursing Philosophy
  • Telemedicine and e-Health

For two consecutive years (2021 and 2022), Dr. Pinero de Plaza won the Vice-President & Executive Dean's Awards "for a FEARLESS embodiment of the University values in Research"; and the 2021 Consumer Health Forum video competition: 'Big Ideas' to improve the Australian health care system. She has secured prestigious awards, attracting more than $1,246,851 worth of grant funding as Associate Investigator (AI) and Chief Investigator (CI):

  • NHMRC Partnership Grant (AI),
  • Caring Futures Institute COVID-19 grant (CI),
  • Caring Futures Institute, Two Accelerator Schemes (CI and AI),
  • The Hospital Research Foundation (AI),
  • Flinders Foundation Health Seed Grant (CI)

Dr Pinero de Plaza brings a multidisciplinary background in health promotion, behaviour, and health. Her PhD investigated mapping healthy and unhealthy dietary patterns for global but targeted health interventions. She has also studied computerised methods of evaluating consumer behaviours and memory accuracy concerning brand recognition and product design in marketing science.

Currently, she is contributing to the end user's engagements and KT aspects of RAPIDX AI. As a Chief Investigator, she has been awarded 2 Grants: 1. Concerning the marginalisation of Frail, Homebound and Bedridden people in Australia; 2. About COVID-19 and using Digital Technologies within inpatient settings to improve the patient-clinician relationship. Recently, she has been co-creating a new Arts in Health certification and an Alliance across Colleges.


Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Adelaide/ Flinders University (2019-2021); NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence.

Doctor of Philosophy, Field of Research 111712 –Health Promotion; SEO: 920401- Behaviour and Health. Funded: Australian Postgraduate Award. Deakin University (2013-2017).

Master of Marketing Science, upgraded to PhD, Funded: Australian Postgraduate Award. University of South Australia (2010-2013).

Postgraduate training: Social Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Religion and Ecology. Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC). Advanced Studies Centre (2004-2006).

Licentiate, a degree equivalent to a master's in Mass Communication (Social Communication, Journalism, Public Relations & Advertising) Andrés Bello Catholic University (1993-1998).

Honours, awards, and grants:

Other responsibilities

Dr Pinero has been exploring and impacting the consumer engagement processes with health research. E.g. nationally, co-creating the Consumer Engagement Framework and Consumer Register of SAHMRI, and being part of the Expert Reference Group of the NHMRC CRE APPRISE and others. She has reviewed MRFF Rapid Grants 2019, PLOS ONE, and the Journal of Public Health. She is:

Education/Academic qualification

Graduate Certificate, 200h Master Yoga Teaching Certification - Peak Physique / Yoga Alliance


Award Date: 6 May 2019

PhD, Deakin University

Award Date: 14 Feb 2017

Master, UniSA upgraded to PhD at Deakin University, Funded: Australian Postgraduate Award.


Award Date: 11 Feb 2013

Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC). Advanced Studies Centre (CEA).


Award Date: 30 Dec 2006

Master, Andrés Bello Catholic University


Award Date: 11 Dec 1998

External positions

JBI Cardiovascular Expert Reference Group, JBI Global

5 Apr 2022 → …

Member as Early Career Researcher, Australian Association of Gerontology


JBI Adjunct Staff, Centre for Remote Health. Global reach - collaborator | Joanna Briggs Institute

2021 → …

Knowledge Translation and Research Advisor to the Board, ME Group Australia


Member, Patient Reported Measures Research Collaborative - The Commission on Excellence and Innovation in Health (CEIH) and Health Translation SA (HTSA)


Member of The Health Consumer Advocacy Network of South Australia , Health CAN SA - the Network

2019 → …

Research Fellow , National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence: Frailty and Healthy Ageing

2019 → …

Community & Consumer Engagement Advisor -Community & Consumer Engagement Committee, Adelaide BioMed City Partner

2018 → …

Community & Consumer Engagement Advisor -Expert Reference Group, NHMRC CRE APPRISE

2018 → …


  • RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
  • Health Promotion
  • Digital Health
  • Habitual behaviour
  • Conditioning
  • knowledge translation
  • Fundamentals of care
  • Cardiac Health
  • ageing
  • Frailty
  • First Nation People
  • HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
  • Behaviour
  • Equity
  • Inclusion
  • Marginalisation
  • knowledge translation
  • implementation science
  • Evaluation
  • ageing
  • Digital Health
  • First Nation People
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • knowledge translation
  • implementation science
  • Evaluation
  • First Nation People
  • Digital Health
  • Fundamentals of care


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