Karen Willis is a health sociologist and qualitative research methodologist. Since commencing at La Trobe and Melbourne Health in August 2017, she has developed the Strategic Plan for Allied Health Research (2018-2022), a key component of which is to better link clinicians with academic researchers across health and other disciplines. In her current role, she works with clinicians seeking funding for research; provides professional development sessions on the research process; and assists clinicians with research design, data analysis and writing up research. She participates in research and policy on Melbourne Health initiatives, including the government funded Family Violence strategy, and the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme at Melbourne Health. Along with A/Professor Tony McGillion, organises the La Trobe University sponsored ‘Big Ideas’ session as part of Melbourne Health Research Week.
Professor Willis’ research interests focus on health choices and health behaviour. She has undertaken research on how people navigate healthcare, why they choose to take out private health insurance, and what people do to stay healthy. Her current ARC funded research examines interactions between health professionals and people with chronic health conditions. She is a CI on an NHMRC funded RCT examining falls prevention in primary care. She is also editor of Health Sociology Review – a journal focused on dissemination of high quality research investigating the social dimensions of health behaviours, health care and health care systems.
Professor Willis is primary supervisor (with Dr Marlena Klaic and Dr Tamara Tse) of a Master’s student examining clinicians’ use of evidence for animal assisted therapies; and she is co-supervising a University of Melbourne Master’s student who is analysing data from the Family Violence research conducted at Melbourne Health. Other current PhD supervisions include falls prevention programs and gender (University of Sydney); consumer participation in mental health education for occupational therapists (University of Sydney) and goal setting for individuals with chronic conditions (La Trobe University).
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