University of New South Wales – School of Public Health & Community Medicine - GP Synergy

University of New South Wales – School of Public Health & Community Medicine

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UNSW offers a variety of research opportunities for GP registrars to complete an Academic Extended Skills Post and has supported many academic registrars complete these posts. Academic registrars can be located either at the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity or School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) both located at the Kensington Campus or at the General Practice Unit, Fairfield Hospital in South West Sydney.

Registrars are supported by senior academic staff to carry out their own research project: from formulating a research question, designing a study, through to analysis and publication. Alternatively, registrars may become involved in existing research projects.

AddressSamuels Avenue, Kensington, NSW 2052
Phone02 9385 8384
Head of DepartmentProfessor Mark Harris
Contact person for academic mattersCentre for Primary Health Care and Equity
Prof Mark Harris

School of Public Health & Community Medicine, Kensington Campus
Prof John Hall

General Practice Unit, Fairfield Hospital
Prof Siaw-Teng Liaw
Dr Andrew Knight
Contact person for administrative mattersCentre for Primary Health Care and Equity
Sarah Ford
T: +61 2 9385 1547

School of Public Health & Community Medicine, Kensington Campus
Sarah Jacob
T: +61 2 9385 2520

General Practice Unit, Fairfield Hospital
Charmain Rodericks
T +61 2 87389343

Areas of research interest/activity/expertise

Primary health care research at UNSW has a strong research focus on the prevention and management of chronic disease, health informatics, integrated care and primary health care policy as it affects mainstream and disadvantaged populations such as refugee and Aboriginal Australians. This includes areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular risk assessment, cancer, preventive care including on smoking, nutrition, overweight and obesity and physical activity, smoking cessation; the physical health of patients with mental illness and advanced care planning.

The GP Unit is in the Fairfield local government area and services a culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community, with many people originating from south-east Asia, the Middle East, South America and eastern Europe. This provides opportunities for registrars interested in researching topics relevant to CALD communities.

Research methods used include systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials in general practice, analysis of cohort and linked data, qualitative and mixed methods.

Current research projects in which there is potential for academic registrar involvement

  • OPTIMISE: Improving primary health care access for refugees
  • IMPACT: Access to self management for patients with type 2 diabetes in general practice
  • HeLP-GP: Preventive care for overweight and obese patients with low health literacy in general practice
  • e-PBRN: General practice research network linked to hospitals services – diabetes,
  • Central and Eastern Sydney Cohort: Substudy of the 45 and up cohort linked to hospital and general practice data.
  • Cancer shared care:  Using a e-care plan to link cancer services and GPs.


Teaching opportunities for registrars

Registrars at both locations (Randwick and Fairfield) have the opportunity to contribute to teaching in the UNSW undergraduate medical course.

Previous registrar research

  • Use of activity trackers in obesity management in general practice. This led to a successful RACGP research grant for a larger trial currently being conducted.
  • As part of a trial of the role of general practice nurses providing smoking cessation advice the registrar examined the interaction of depressive illness with quitting smoking in participants in this project.


Academic supervisors

Professor Mark Harris

Mark Harris is Scientia Professor of General Practice, and Executive Director of the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity and Deputy Director of the Translational Cancer Research Network at UNSW. His main research area is on chronic illness prevention and management in primary health care, shared care for patients with cancer, primary care for refugees and health literacy for preventive care in general practice.

Professor Siaw-Teng Liaw

Teng Liaw is director of the General Practice Unit at Fairfield Hospital. His current research on clinical decision support, consumer health informatics and optimising the quality, analytics and use of routinely collected electronic health information has and continues to contribute to new knowledge, practice and policy in general practice and integrated care informatics with a focus on cross-cultural health and disadvantaged populations.

Professor John Hall

John Hall is professor of General Practice in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine.  He leads the undergraduate medical program.  His  research interests are in the health workforce and Global Health policy and how health systems in research-poor settings develop and implement health policy with limited resources.

Dr Michael Tam

Michael Tam joined the General Practice Unit at Fairfield Hospital as a Staff Specialist, and conjoint senior lecturer at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW in March 2014. He is an experienced medical educator, having previously worked for GP Synergy, and UNSW as a lecturer in the Medicine program. His academic interests is in the beliefs and attitudes surrounding alcohol discussions between patient and doctor in general practice, as well as the application of evidence-based medicine to pragmatic general practice, and the use of technology to enhance medical education.

Dr Kylie Vuong

Kylie Vuong because a Senior Lecturer in Primary Care in  the School of Public Health and Community Medicine in 2017, having previously worked part time in the School. Her research interests include cancer prevention.  Her research focuses on integrating the latest evidence surrounding melanoma risk factors into useable tools to assist clinicians identify patients at high risk of primary melanoma.

Dr Andrew Knight

Dr Andrew Knight works as a staff specialist in general practice at the GP Unit at Fairfield Hospital and is a lecturer in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW. His research interests include integrated care for cancer patients and quality improvement in general practice.


Dr Tejas Kanhere (2016 Registrar)

During my academic registrar post at the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity I had an opportunity to conduct a feasibility study on the role of accelerometers (fitness trackers) in weight management in general practice. This involved 5 general practices. I collected data from an online survey and qualitative interviews with GPs and patients.  I learnt how to conduct a systematic review of the literature, apply for ethics committee approval, collect and analyse both quantitative and qualitative data.  This led to a successful RACGP research grant which I am currently leading as a part time academic.  During the post, I met weekly with supervisors, presented to the Centre and at meetings, and attended training. I have presented the work at meetings and we are currently preparing a paper for publication.  I also had the opportunity to participate in some teaching in the UG medical program.

Dr Nicole Clancy (2011 Registrar)

My Academic Term at UNSW was a great experience. There was a good balance of research and teaching opportunities. The work place was friendly and in particular my supervisor was very supportive and helpful with the research process. My research was a qualitative study of depression and smoking cessation and the findings have been published and presented at a conference. I have also been able to maintain some teaching connection with occasional casual teaching and assignment marking since finishing the term. I would definitely recommend an academic term to other registrars. It has helped me broaden my perspective of primary care medicine and also gain skills in teaching.

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