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RPA Nutrition and Dietetics leader wins NSW Health Excellence in Allied Health Award

Clinical Associate Professor Sharon Carey named 2024 NSW Allied Health Researcher of the Year

Woman and man standing on stage; woman receiving award from
SydneyConnect image: Clinical Associate Professor Sharon Carey accepting her award.

Clinical Associate Professor Sharon Carey has been named Allied Health Researcher of the Year at the NSW Allied Health Awards.

"I love being able to do clinical research, improve outcomes for our patients and also support others to do research. To be recognised with this award is such a privilege,” she said.

A senior dietitian in Sydney Local Health District, A/Professor Carey is RPA’s Nutrition and Dietetics Manager and Director of Allied Health Research and Education at the RPA Institute of Academic Surgery and Co-Director of the RPA Surgical Outcomes Research Centre (SOuRCe).

Her exemplary contribution to research in the field of Nutrition and Dietetics has seen more than 70 peer-reviewed research publications and guest speaking invitations at national and international conferences, such as the European Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Congress and the Asia-Pacific Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition Conference.

Sharon’s research has significantly improved clinical practice for the nutrition and dietetics profession, supporting dietitians to work to their best ability in their area of expertise not only in the District, but across Australia and internationally.

At RPA, Sharon has developed a program for all Allied Health clinicians, providing education on basic research skills and mentorship for those wishing to undertake a research project.

Sarah Whitney, the District’s Director Allied Health, nominated Sharon and is proud of the contribution she makes as a mentor.

“Sharon’s impact as an allied health researcher goes beyond her own immediate research,” Sarah said. 

“She has made significant contributions to research capacity building in allied health, nursing and medicine, through the programs she has developed, and models the potential for research to be undertaken as part of everyday clinical practice.”

Sharon’s ongoing research is focused on providing practical solutions for intractable clinical challenges that have real impact on patient outcomes and quality of life, and she actively seeks opportunities to co-design research with patients and consumers.

She maintains a clinical role as an Intestinal Failure Specialist Dietitian and was recently appointed as Service Lead in a pilot project to optimise Intestinal Failure Services at RPA.

Sharon completed her PhD in 2013 investigating the long-term nutritional management following major upper gastrointestinal surgery. She continues to be an active researcher, specialising in intestinal failure and parenteral nutrition, demonstrating the potential for allied health specialists to have positive impacts on practice.

The NSW Allied Health Researcher of the Year is awarded for exemplary contributions to research to enhance Allied Health practice and services.

At the award event, NSW Health Chief Allied Health Officer, Andrew Davison, said it was fantastic to see the level of professionalism, clinical excellence, and compassion on display.

“These Awards are a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the expertise of allied health professionals and reflect on the impact they make to improve patient experience and outcomes,” he said.