The University of Newcastle, Australia

Bridging the gap in mental health research

The University of Newcastle's Professor Sally Chan believes the human mind is more important than the physical self.

It's an approach that has defined her career in mental health research, which has spanned more than two decades and seen the nurse educator receive international recognition. Having collaborated with nursing and health communities worldwide, Professor Chan's research has been influential in healthcare policy and service delivery in Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

Since joining the University of Newcastle in March 2014 as Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery in the Faculty of Health and Medicine, Professor Chan has forged ahead with her development of innovative, web-based applications. Her technological solutions are aimed at improving outcomes and accessibility of care for people with schizophrenia, women with post-natal depression and dementia sufferers and their families.

While still in its early stages, an app designed by Professor Chan to assist with in-home care of dementia patients has already been touted as a global game-changer.

"I consider myself a global citizen who is always seeking new challenges," Professor Chan said.

Mental health poses a huge economic and social cost to communities throughout the world, and I'm driven by the desire to help address this highly important issue.

Professor Chan approaches her mental health research a psychosocial view, which encompasses individuals, their carers and the community.  Her career influences the tripartite mission of research, education and practice, with a focus on translating evidence to improve practice outcomes, implementing teaching innovations and mentoring new generations of nurses to advance nursing.

"Research shouldn't be considered in isolation – it needs to be collaborative and able to influence government policy and practice at all levels," Professor Chan said.

The University of Newcastle's strong, nation-leading focus on Indigenous education served as a compelling drawcard in Professor Chan's decision to relocate to the Hunter.

Professor Chan's research has been supported by more than 65 funded studies, and has featured in more than 300 international publications. In 2013 the esteemed educator was awarded the 'International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame' by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society of Nursing, and Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Her extensive list of accolades also includes Chinese University of Hong Kong 'Teacher of the Year' awards in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and the 'Master Teacher' in 2007 by the institute's Faculty of Medicine.

Professor Chan appointed Singapore PVC

The University of Newcastle announced Professor Chan’s appointment to the position of Pro Vice-Chancellor for its Singapore presence on 25 February, 2019.

Professor Chan is a global healthcare educator and researcher with more than 25 years’ experience in the university sector. During this time, she has developed international partnerships and has been honoured for her significant contributions to healthcare.

In her role as Dean, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Professor Chan led significant achievements in the School over the past five years, including increasing the School’s international student numbers.

A key focus of Professor Chan’s new role will be to work with Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Global Engagement and Partnerships, Professor Kevin Hall, to develop a strategy for the University’s presence in Singapore as part of an enhanced global strategy.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Alex Zelinsky, AO congratulated Professor Chan on her appointment to the key international role.

“Sally brings with her an outstanding track record in building international partnerships that will help create new opportunities for our University in this important region,” Professor Zelinsky said.