Director of Allied Health Research to Lead Improvements in Infant, Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

A new joint role has been announced by the Melbourne School of Health Sciences (MSHS) at the University of Melbourne and The Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) to improve the health and wellbeing of children and adolescents.

Pictured: Dr Kelly Weir

Dr Kelly Weir will commence in the new role of Director of Allied Health Research in February 2023. Dr Weir is a certified practicing speech pathologist with 30 years of clinical, research and academic expertise, and extensive clinical experience in tertiary hospital settings across neonatal, paediatric and adult acute and critical care. Dr Weir is currently at Gold Coast University Hospital where she holds the position of Allied Health Research Team Leader, and Principal Allied Health Research Fellow at Gold Coast Health and Griffith University. She is looking forward to working closely with the RCH and MSHS’ broad networks of allied health researchers and clinicians to deliver health improvements for infants, children and adolescents.

"I am honoured and excited to be appointed as the inaugural Joint Director of Allied Health Research and Associate Professor at the RCH and MSHS,” says Dr Weir.  

“This role will focus on developing research capacity in allied health professionals (AHPs) at the RCH, and research partnerships with the University of Melbourne, MCRI, and academic and industry stakeholders.”  

“My initial priorities will be to understand current allied health research capacity and activities at the RCH, and to develop a program of research and education for allied health in collaboration with staff, children and families, and stakeholders."

Dr Weir will provide leadership to support high-quality clinical research with the aim of identifying effective, evidence-led Allied Health interventions for children and adolescents that operate at the Melbourne Children's Campus.

"Appointing Dr Weir will provide leadership to support high-quality clinical research with the aim of identifying effective, evidence-led allied health interventions at the Melbourne Children’s Campus.  It will allow us to develop research-supported interventions that improve outcomes for infants, children and adolescents.” says Head of MSHS Professor Bruce Thompson.

“AHPs sit alongside medical staff and nurses as an integrated multidisciplinary team in clinical settings. They work closely with patients and families by actively promoting their engagement during recovery and rehabilitation, often acting as the link between hospital-based care and community-based care.” 

“AHPs are integral to best practice services, clinical outcomes, quality of life and participation for children and families. Developing research capacity supports AHPs to understand and apply current evidence and undertake research relevant to practice in order to provide world class healthcare for children and families.”

Four out of five of the departments at MSHS are allied health disciplines; Audiology & Speech Pathology, Physiotherapy, Social Work and Optometry & Vision Sciences, which operate alongside the Department of Nursing. 

The RCH is at the forefront of breakthroughs in child and adolescent health. Director of Allied Health Bernadette O’Connor sees this appointment as crucial for the expansion of important allied health research. 

“I am thrilled that we have Dr Weir commencing at the RCH and look forward to her contribution to the research output on our campus,” says O’Connor.  

“This role will support and encourage excellence in allied health research, research translation and clinically based research at this world leading hospital and university.” 

“The RCH Foundation is generously supporting this ground breaking new role. Our partnership with the University of Melbourne and MSHS is an exciting opportunity to embed and develop evidence-based practice and world class research in allied health.”  

Dr Weir will be based at the RCH and provide input to MSHS through an innovative collaboration and partnership that will strengthen the evidence base of allied health care provision to facilitate better health outcomes for the future.