September 30, 2020

Inspired Researcher: Dr Rebecca Jessup

As we prepare to kick off Research Week 2020 from 5 to 9 October on the theme ‘Inspired Researcher’, we profile today, Dr Rebecca Jessup, our Allied Health Research Lead.

Rebecca describes her role at Northern Health as, “building research capacity and capability within Allied Health, and to help embed a culture of innovation and evidence-based practice.”

To this end, Rebecca works with Professor Adam Semciw and Research Officer, Cassandra Bramston, to support Allied Health staff across every component of research. This includes providing guidance around how to write a research question or how to do a systematic review, through to what type of study design or methodology would best answer a question.

Her own research, focuses on health literacy and communication, and on alternative models of service delivery to improve health system sustainability.

Says Rebecca, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, our work has had a necessary focus on COVID-19 in our community. We have just completed a study on how high hospital resources users have accessed, interpreted and applied information during COVID-19 and how this has impacted on their health seeking behaviours.”

Rebecca has also worked on an evaluation of the COVID-19 Community Monitoring Program with the community services team.

“With a number of staff across the organisation, we are currently working on a project evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on hospital acquired complications, and, along with Dr Cilla Haywood, we are also leading a Melbourne-wide study evaluating the experience of hospital staff who provided an inreach response into Residential Aged Care Facilities during the pandemic,” says Rebecca.

She says what inspires her research is, “all the unanswered questions and the problems to be solved, and by the possibility that answering these, may change the way we provide care and lead to better outcomes for our northern community.”

The biggest challenge Rebecca faces is, “managing all the competing demands of the role. There is so much good work to do and I’m not very good at saying no!”

The rewards, “are always seeing how the research informs changes to our clinical practice or even changes to policy, that lead to better outcomes for patients.”

Rebecca says, “In terms of the actual research, COVID-19 is a disruptive event that has resulted in monumental changes in both the way we deliver care, and in the way our community engages with the health system.”

“While there needs to be some focus on the longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on individual health, there is also a need for longitudinal studies that measure how the changed funding models and models of care (e.g. Telehealth) impact on the health and health seeking behaviours of individuals, and on the financial sustainability of the health system,” she adds.

Hear Dr Jessup along with Professor Don Campbell speak on ‘Patient care in the community: COVID-19 & beyond’ at the Northern Health Foundation & NORTHLink Business Breakfast on Tuesday 6 October from 8 am – 9 am.

To register for this virtual breakfast, please click here.
Click here to download the session flyer