Ms Pearce is receiving a scholarship through the Prevention Centre to undertake a PhD at the University of Sydney. Her research topic is ‘Systems change required to engage health services in chronic disease prevention’.
She also works part time in the Chronic Disease Management Unit at ACT Health as a senior project officer. Her role involves supporting clinical teams to evaluate and develop services related to chronic disease management. She has a particular interest in the use of the assistant workforce to deliver more efficient health services.
Ms Pearce has more than 20 years’ experience as an occupational therapist in a range of clinical settings in Australia and the UK. She has a Masters of Health Sciences from the University of London.
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.