Fellowships & Scholarships

The aim of the Western Alliance Associate Research Fellowship & Scholarship program is to support development of collaborative, applied and translational research that will improve health outcomes for people and communities in the western region of Victoria.


Cara Hill– Higher Degree By Research Scholar 2023

Cara will be completing her PhD with Deakin University to implement best-practice meal-related dysphagia interventions to improve mealtime-related quality of life for people living with dysphagia in rural and regional aged care facilities in western Victoria. Cara works clinically as a Speech Pathologist and also as a research assistant. This PhD program will be based at Grampians Health and will complement the work she will be leading as part of her Western Alliance Rapid Applied Research Translation Grant.


Michael Pang – Higher Degree By Research Scholar 2023

Michael, a senior clinician Physiotherapist from Grampians Health, will be completing his PhD with Federation University to investigate whether continuing professional development positively influences allied health workforce retention in regional and rural Victoria. 




Dr Laura Alston – Associate Research Fellow 2019

Preventing chronic diseases in rural populations for future generations: The role of rural health services in guiding community efforts to improve the food environment

Laura is a clinical dietitian and qualified diabetes educator who is passionate about preventing and treating chronic diseases through better nutrition. She submitted her PhD in November this year, the focus of which has been on the preventable inequalities in heart disease experienced by rural Australians. Laura recently received a Graduate Women’s Victoria award for her PhD progress in 2018.

Her fellowship project will involve investigating the role of rural health services in assisting their community to improve the local food environment and will include the development of evidence-based guidelines for rural health services in Western Victoria and more broadly across the state of Victoria. Laura’s Fellowship represents a collaboration between Colac Area Health, The Global Obesity Centre, Deakin Rural Health and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Jessica Jebramek – Associate Research Fellow 2018

Subtle cognitive indicators in the prediction of post-operative delirium: The role of the digital Clock Drawing Test

Jessica completed her undergraduate studies (BPsychSc and BA Psych(Hons)) at Federation University and, during that time, gained experience in the youth sector, working mainly in the youth justice and youth homelessness areas. In 2016 she began working as a research assistant for Deakin University, in the national roll-out of the Dementia Care in Hospitals Program (DCHP), based at Ballarat Health Services.

As part of her associate research fellowship, Jessica will be undertaking the Master of Applied Science by research, through Deakin University. Her research study will involve a digital version of the digital Clock Drawing Test (dCDT), its potential for early detection of subtle cognitive impairments and its role in the prevention of post-surgical delirium.

Jessica’s research interests are in the neurocognitive domain, including cognitive impairment (delirium and dementia), and neurocognitive manifestations of acquired brain injury, including stroke. Jessica is also interested in perinatal mental health and the effects of physiological changes in new parents on perinatal mental health and cognition.