Dr Milena Heinsch

Dr Milena Heinsch

Lecturer

School of Humanities and Social Science (Social Work)

Milena Heinsch is bringing together social work and gastroenterology

Social Work researcher Dr Milena Heinsch is working to improve the quality of life for children with functional gastrointestinal disorders through cross-disciplinary research with the John Hunter Children’s Hospital.

Milena’s research seeks to address the social and emotional consequences of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) for children and families. Milena explains that, while FGIDs are amongst the most frequently occurring pain syndromes in childhood, there remain significant barriers to the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, which can lead to long-term pain and psychological distress for children.

Milena’s latest research, conducted with Dr Scott Nightingale at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, sought to explore the knowledge, practice and attitudes of paediatricians to FGIDs in children.

“We surveyed paediatricians in Australia who commonly diagnose children with FGID to explore their understanding of these conditions and existing strategies for diagnosis and treatment,” Milena explained.

“Our preliminary investigations found that respondents often felt unsure how to diagnose and treat some FGIDs. Many were not familiar with the accepted diagnostic criteria for these conditions, and therefore conducted lengthy and sometimes unnecessary testing to exclude alternative causes”.

“Despite recognising a link between psychological factors and FGIDs, many respondents chose not to recommend psychological therapies to children. One possible reason is that few services offer these therapies, making it difficult for children to access them.”

Pointing to the longer-term emotional and physical consequences of a lack of treatment, Milena, together with Dr Nightingale, is now seeking to create and test an internet-based therapeutic intervention, which children with FGID and their families can use in their homes to complement and/or replace ongoing therapies.

This is the first Australian study to examine the impact of an internet-based therapeutic intervention on quality of life, pain and functional outcomes for young people with FGID.

Milena is eager to see this project come to fruition and has applied for further funding in 2016 from the Hunter Medical Research Institute, with outcomes to be released in early November.

During her PhD candidature, Milena was employed as the Paediatric Gastroenterology Social Worker at the JHCH. Guided by a passion for forging stronger links between research and practice, she undertook a PhD in 2010: A three-year study to explore researchers’ perceptions of moving research into practice.

“I wanted to know whether, and how, collaboration between researchers and practitioners facilitates the uptake of research in practice. Ultimately, I discovered that research use is a socially engaged and relational process, and identified four forms of collaboration which have the potential to enhance this process," Milena explained.

“For me, collaborating with practice is of key importance for the development of relevant, socially accountable research. The value of research lies in its potential to influence and inform practice and policy at every level.”

After receiving her doctorate in 2013, Milena sought to maintain her relationships with health and medical professionals, and is currently collaborating on a number of research projects with colleagues at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Westmead and the Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University.

“In my experience, exciting outcomes can be achieved when medical and social professionals take an integrated and collaborative approach to research and service provision for children and their families. I am excited by the possibilities of building strong research and practice connections between medicine and social work.”

Milena Heinsch

Milena Heinsch is bringing together social work and gastroenterology

Milena Heinsch is an early career researcher whose passion lies in exploring the connection between research and practice.

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Career Summary

Biography

I am a lecturer in Social Work in the School of Humanities and Social Science. I completed my PhD in knowledge utilisation at the University of Newcastle in 2013, while simultaneously employed as the Paediatric Gastroenterology Social Worker at the John Hunter Children's Hospital. I then held positions in research, teaching and practice, before joining the Social Work Teaching and Research team at Newcastle on a permanent basis in 2015.

The themes of my research include children's health and gastrointestinal disorders, research utilisation and evidence-based practice, and environmental social work. I have a passion for exploring and strengthening the links between research and practice, to ensure the societal benefits of research are realised through research impact.

I have a keen interest in traversing the boundaries of the social work discipline through collaborative cross-disciplinary research. I am currently conducting a joint research project with the John Hunter Children's Hospital, which aims to develop and evaluate whether a reproducible, internet-based therapeutic intervention, in combination with standard medical theory, improves quality of life, pain and functional outcomes for young people with functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs). This is the first Australia study to examine the impact of an internet-based intervention on quality of life of young people with FGID.

Research Expertise

I am a Social Work researcher whose main areas of interest include children's health and gastrointestinal disorders, research utilisation and evidence-based practice, and environmental social work. I welcome inquiries from postgraduate students seeking supervision on any of these topics.

UoN Early Career Research Network

In 2015, I initiated an Early Career Researcher Network at the University of Newcastle. This Network aims to foster peer mentoring and interdisciplinary collaboration amongst Early Career Researchers at Newcastle in an informal and supporting environment. Face-to-face meetings of the Network are held once per month at Mamaduke's Cafe. The Network also has a closed Facebook group for connecting and sharing information. If you would like to be added to the mailing list please email me at: Milena.Heinsch@newcastle.edu.au





Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Social Work, University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Childhood Functional Abdominal Pain
  • Children and families
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Gastroenterology
  • Health social work
  • Paediatric chronic illness
  • Research translation
  • Research use

Languages

  • English (Mother)
  • German (Fluent)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified 100

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Humanities and Social Science
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/07/2010 - 26/01/2015 Paediatric Gastroenterology Social Worker The John Hunter Children's Hospital
Paediatric Social Work
Australia
1/01/2010 - 19/12/2014 Research Associate (Part-time) The University of Newcastle, Australia
Social Work
Australia
1/01/2009 - 24/12/2010 Social Worker The Maitland Hospital
Medical Assessment Unit
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (8 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2017 Heinsch LM, Nightingale S, 'Functional gastrointestinal disorders in children and adolescents: Knowledge, practice and attitudes of physicians', Medical Journal of Australia, (2017)
2017 Heinsch LM, 'Approaches to addressing the health and social care needs of children with Functional Abdominal Pain: The social work role', Australian Social Work, (2017)
2017 Heinsch LM, 'Exploring the potential of interaction models of research use for social work', The British Journal of Social Work, (2017)
2016 Heinsch M, Gray M, 'Making Research Count: What Australian Social Work Researchers Think', AUSTRALIAN SOCIAL WORK, 69 428-442 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/0312407X.2016.1143518
Co-authors Mel Gray
2016 Heinsch M, Gray M, Sharland E, 'Re-conceptualising the link between research and practice in social work: A literature review on knowledge utilisation', INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WELFARE, 25 98-104 (2016) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/ijsw.12164
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 6
Co-authors Mel Gray
2015 Gray M, Sharland E, Heinsch M, Schubert L, 'Connecting Research to Action: Perspectives on Research Utilisation', British Journal of Social Work, 45 1952-1967 (2015) [C1]

© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved. In contemporary knowledge societies, scientif... [more]

© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved. In contemporary knowledge societies, scientific research has been emphasised as a key component of effective and accountable service provision. This paper examines commonalities and distinctions between two discourses of research utilisation: 'evidence-based practice' (EBP) and 'knowledge production/utilisation' (KPU) - the former more prominent in informing the social work canon, the latter with some potential to do so. Specifically, it considers how and where these discourses are now coming together, through a focus on 'knowledge mobilisation', 'implementation' and 'innovation', and a shared emphasis on the role of organisations in bridging the gap between research and action. It hopes to contribute to the movement towards greater research use in social work and enhance understanding of the mechanisms by which research is connected to action.

DOI 10.1093/bjsw/bcu089
Citations Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Mel Gray, Leanne Schubert
2012 Heinsch LM, 'Getting down to earth: Finding a place for nature in social work practice', International Journal of Social Welfare, 21 309-318 (2012) [C1]
Citations Scopus - 5Web of Science - 4
2009 Gray MM, Heinsch LM, 'Ageing in Australia and the increased need for care', Ageing International, 34 102-118 (2009) [C1]
DOI 10.1007/s12126-009-9046-3
Citations Scopus - 8
Co-authors Mel Gray
Show 5 more journal articles

Conference (5 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2016 Heinsch LM, Burgess D, Nightingale S, Notaras E, Whitten K, Lemberg D, et al., 'Exclusive Enteral Nutrition for paediatric Crohn disease: The patient and caregiver experience', Adelaide, SA (2016)
2016 Burgess D, Heinsch M, Notaras E, Whitten K, Dehlsen K, Lemberg D, et al., 'Exclusive enteral nutrition for paediatric Crohn disease: the patient and caregiver experience', JOURNAL OF GASTROENTEROLOGY AND HEPATOLOGY (2016)
2014 Heinsch LM, Sharland E, Gray M, Schubert L, 'Moving research into practice: Two perspectives on research utilisation', Bolzano, Italy (2014)
Co-authors Mel Gray, Leanne Schubert
2014 Heinsch LM, 'Making social work research count: Researchers' perceptions of engaging with practitioners to facilitate research use', New York City (2014)
2009 Heinsch LM, 'Welfare and professional identity in Australian social work', TiSSA 2009: Abstracts, Vilnius, Lithuania (2009) [E3]
Show 2 more conferences
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 9
Total funding $299,000

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20181 grants / $9,000

2018 International Visitor from University of Sussex, UK$9,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle

Funding body University of Newcastle
Project Team Doctor Milena Heinsch, Dr Elaine Sharland
Scheme International Research Visiting Fellowship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1700950
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20173 grants / $140,000

Defence Industry Higher Degree Research Scholarship$100,000

Funding body: Research Advantage UON

Funding body Research Advantage UON
Project Team

N/A

Scheme HDR Scholarship
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding International - Competitive
Category 3IFA
UON N

Development and pilot study of an evidence-based internet intervention to improve symptoms, functioning and health-related quality of life in children with functional abdominal pain$25,000

Funding body: Hunter Children's Research Foundation

Funding body Hunter Children's Research Foundation
Project Team

Scott Nightingale (CI1), Milena Heinsch (CI2), Maria Kangas (AI), Mike Jones (AI)

Scheme Project Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding External
Category EXTE
UON N

Society, Health and Disability Research Group: New Horizons$15,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Scheme FEDUA Strategic Networks and Pilot Projects (SNaPP)
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20163 grants / $50,000

Post Disaster Research and Innovation Project$35,000

Funding body: NSW State Emergency Services (SES)

Funding body NSW State Emergency Services (SES)
Project Team Doctor Amanda Howard, Doctor Jason Von Meding, Doctor Milena Heinsch, Doctor Tamara Blakemore
Scheme Post Disaster Research and Innovation Project
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1600505
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - State
Category 2OPS
UON Y

Priority Research Centre GrowUpWell Seed Funding$10,000

Funding body: PRC GrowUpWell

Funding body PRC GrowUpWell
Project Team

Dr Aniruddh Deshpande Dr Scott Nightingale Dr Jane Rich Dr Elizabeth Kapreotes Dr Tracy Dudding

Scheme Seed Funding
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON N

New Staff Grant$5,000

Funding body: The University of Newcastle

Funding body The University of Newcastle
Scheme New Staff Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON N

20141 grants / $90,000

Social Work$90,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project Team Professor Mel Gray, Doctor Kylie Agllias, Doctor Amanda Howard, Doctor Tamara Blakemore, Doctor Leanne Schubert, Doctor Milena Heinsch, Doctor Kate Davies, Ms Tiani Hetherington
Scheme Research Programme 2014
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2014
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1400923
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON Y

20131 grants / $10,000

University of Newcastle School of Humanities and Social Science International Collaboration Grant$10,000

Funding body: The University of Newcastle

Funding body The University of Newcastle
Project Team

Prof Mel Gray Prof Elaine Sharland

Scheme International Collaboration Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2013
Funding Finish 2013
GNo
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - Commonwealth
Category 2OPC
UON N
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current3

Total current UON EFTSL

PhD0.7

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2017 PhD Coming Full Circle: Mapping the Move from Institutional Care to Community Living for People with a Profound Intellectual Disability, Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme PhD (Social Work), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2016 PhD Armed Services Deployment and the Impact and Implications for Families PhD (Social Work), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2015 PhD Optimising Care for Adolescents and Young Adults (AYAs) Living with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) in Australia. PhD (Social Work), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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News

PHD Scholarship: Exploring the Experiences of the Children of Australian Veterans

September 25, 2017

A PhD Scholarship opportunity is available within the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle for a student to study the experiences of the children of Australian veterans under the supervision of Dr Milena Heinsch

Research Directions 2016

July 7, 2016

Read the latest research highlights from the Faculty.

Dr Milena Heinsch

Position

Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Science
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

Social Work

Contact Details

Email milena.heinsch@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4921 7035
Fax (02) 4921 7818
Links Research Networks
Twitter

Office

Room W227
Building Behavioural Sciences
Location Callaghan
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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