Meet Dr Claire Pearce



TYPE Profiles

Prevention Centre PhD student

Please describe your role: I am one of the Prevention Centre PhD scholarship holders. I plan to investigate systems change required to engage health services in chronic disease prevention. I also work part time in the Chronic Disease Management Unit at ACT Health.

The best part of my role is … being supported to learn new skills and (hopefully) getting to play a small part in improving the health system.

The most challenging part is … juggling study, work and three noisy boys.

I’m interested in the work of the Prevention Centre because … I strongly believe in universal health care but worry that it is not a sustainable model if we don’t get better at preventing chronic conditions. Working with the Prevention Centre means I get to be part of the solution rather than just griping about the problem.

At work I am always learning that … not everyone in the health system loves change as much as me.

Before my current position, my most memorable role was … being a cook on an overland truck doing trips through east Africa. I married the driver after he nursed me through malaria.

Most people don’t know that I … would prefer to be an award-winning novelist. My first book will be called Short Listed for the Booker Prize, just to help sales along.

I would tell my 16-year-old self … to take a gap year and do some growing up before university, because being an occupational therapist is a grown-up job for a country girl from an all-girls Catholic school.

The talent I would most like to have is … to be proficient in speaking other languages. I don’t mean just being able to say “hello”, “thank you” and “two beers please”, as is the current limit of my ability.

My motto is … life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.

I try to stay healthy by … setting myself big physical goals. Last year I rode my mountain bike from Canberra to the coast (150km). This year I’m aiming to run a marathon, my first one since having kids.