Personal profile

Research Biography

Joined Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit in 2004, as lead writer of the Self-Management brief for the Australian National Chronic Disease Strategy. This submission placed self-management firmly within policy and practice nationally. Its recommendations contributed to the development of the Australian Better Health Initiative. It was also seminal in establishing FHBHRU as the national leader in chronic disease research. Sharon was Director for FHBHRU 2015-2019, and continues as a part-time role with Behavioural Health; taking up a position as Lead Mental Health Commissioner for South Australia in 2020. Sharon is highly active in mental health movement in Australia and brings multi-disciplinary skills and experience from being a health clinician for more than 23 years. Her research uses a broad range of qualitative and mixed methods, and focuses on examining the culture of service provision, systems of care, implementation, and service users' experiences of care.

In 2011, Sharon gave the Annual Memorial Bruce Woodcock Lecture at the Arts Centre in Melbourne, for MI Fellowship, in recognition of her leadership in the area of physical health and mental health research.

Research Interests

  • Chronic Condition Management and Self-Management
  • Consumer and Carer Perspectives
  • Interprofessional Learning and Practice
  • Mental Health Systems and Care
  • Smoking
  • Resilience
  • Veterans and Emergency Services First Responders
  • Systems change
  • Tobacco Control

Research Expertise

Mental Health

Smoking Cessation

Behaviour Change

Qualitative Research

Supervised Students Successes

  • Jun 2019 Pauline Klein - Suicide Prevention Australia Scholarship
  • Mar 2019 Eleanor Watson - Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship
  • Dec 2017 Sara Zabeen - Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship
  • Aug 2015 Simone Orlowski - RHD Student Publication Award
  • Dec 2014 Dini Setyowati - Directorate General of Resources for Science, Technology and Higher Education (DG-RSTHE) of the Republic of Indonesia Scholarship
  • Teresa Kelly - Heart Foundation Scholarship 2014
  • Nicole Micallef - Nursing and Allied Health Scholarship and Support Scheme: NAHSSS Scholarship 2014
  • Suzanne Dawson - Australian Federation of University Women SA Inc Trust Fund

Completed Supervisions

Principal Supervisions:
  • Chronic Conditions in Children and Youth (1)
  • Dental Care in Children in Indonesia (1)
  • Mental Health Carers (1)
  • Paramedicine (1)
  • Youth, Mental Health, Technology (1)
Associate Supervisions:
  • Smoking and Mental Health (2)
  • Acquired Brain Injury - family carers (1)
  • Gambling (1)
  • Interprofessional Practice (1)
  • Mental Health and Coercion in Care (CTOs) (1)
  • Mental Health and Physical Health (1)

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Flinders University

Award Date: 15 Apr 2002

External positions

SA Mental Health Commissioner

8 Jan 202010 Jan 2023


  • Registered

Research Areas

  • Public health

Supervisory Interests

  • Chronic condition self-managment support
  • Tobacco control
  • Consumer and carer perspectives
  • Mental health


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