Meet the Team
HELFIMED was born out of a partnership between the Trevor Parry Centre (TPC), Mental Health Directorate, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network; and the University of South Australia, blending together the UniSA team’s research focus on nutrition and diet for physical and mental health along with collaborators from Deakin and La Trobe Universities, and the Southern Mental Health team’s commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of their consumers. We have extended the HELFIMED protocol to people with depression living in the community.
Dr Natalie Parletta (formerly Natalie Sinn) is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of South Australia with a degree in Psychology (Hons), a Master of Dietetics and a PhD. Her PhD investigated benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients for learning and behaviour of children with ADHD and she continued this work with children who have learning difficulties, school children living with disadvantage, and elderly people with mild cognitive impairment. Founding member of Helfimed, she has extended her research to investigating the impact of whole diets on mental and physical health and working with parents to help children get a healthy start.
John Strachan is the Outer South Sector Manager, Mental Health Directorate, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network and plays a lead role in the CRC management group. John has worked for 14 years in the mental health system as a social worker and senior manager. He is a qualified chef and has experience teaching marginalised people how to cook and shop effectively.
Professor Procter is the inaugural Chair: Mental Health Nursing and convener of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Research Group within UniSA’s Sansom Institute for Health Research. Working collaboratively with mental health consumers, clinicians and sector managers, Professor Procter advances research, knowledge transfer and community engagement in mental health. His networks and collaboration with government and non-government organisations have delivered outcomes in local and national mental health policy reform, service delivery reform and re-design of clinical pathways.
Matt Ballestrin has a Degree of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy). He is the acting manager of the Trevor Parry Centre, Southern Mental Health, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network.
Dorota Zarnowiecki has a Health Sciences degree majoring in Nutrition and recently completed her PhD investigating socioeconomic gradients in children’s diets. She is working as a project officer for HELFIMED, working onsite to coordinate data collection and analysis, cooking workshops and physical activity implementation and evaluation as an extension of the project.
Dr Bogomolova is a Qualified Practitioner in Marketing Research and Senior Researcher at the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science (UniSA), specialising in Social and Health Marketing. She has 15 years experience conducting consumer surveys using both quantitative and qualitative research methods and has worked on a number of projects in health, for example using program satisfaction, attitude, goals and expectations measures which have been important moderators of participants’ success in a program.
Since qualifying as a psychiatrist in 1996, Dr Champion has worked across inpatient and community settings, in Adelaide and the UK. He was involved in establishing the innovative Youthlink community mental health team for adolescents. More recently, he has worked with the Shared Learning in Clinical Practice initiative on risk assessment and management and suicide prevention. He has been employed part-time as Clinical Director of Mental Health Services at Noarlunga Health Service since 2006, and has a part-time Private Practice in General Adult Psychiatry.
Dr Gordon is a Research Fellow in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at UniSA. She is a pharmacologist who specialises in the area of substance use, mental health and pregnancy and she was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to continue this work. She was previously employed by Drug and Alcohol Services SA and participated in 1) the rewriting of “Comorbidity of mental disorders and substance use: A brief guide for the primary care clinician” and 2) the Designer Drug Early Warning System project.
Janine is a Registered Nurse working in Community Rehabilitation Care with qualifications and expertise in Psychiatric Nursing. As Rehabilitation Coordinator at the TPC, she managed the clinical and practical activities of shifts, supported the implementation of all residents’ rehabilitation plans, and coordinated the non-clinical staff. She coordinated the introduction of biomedical measurements for all the TPC residents and is experienced in utilizing recovery based principles in mental health rehabilitation.
Catherine Itsiopoulos is the Head of Department and Associate Professor in Dietetics and Human Nutrition at LaTrobe University, with more than 25 years of clinical, academic and project management experience. Catherine has extensive experience and a strong research interest in dietetic training, dietetic competency evaluation and implementation, and international benchmarking of dietetic examination systems. Her major research interests include randomised controlled clinical intervention studies in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and the metabolic syndrome utilizing the Mediterranean diet as a model of intervention.
Associate Professor Felice Jacka is a Principal Research Fellow at Deakin University. Her ongoing program of research focuses on lifestyle as a risk factor for the common mental disorders, depression and anxiety. It comprises a broad range of observational studies, as well as the development and evaluation of community-based and clinical interventions. Her goals are to develop effective, best-practice strategies for the universal primary prevention of the common mental disorders, as well effective secondary prevention and treatment strategies for those affected.
Kerin O’Dea is Professor: Nutrition and Public Health in the School of Population Health, Health Sciences Division of the University of South Australia. Professor O’Dea is currently engaged in research on an NHMRC Program Grant titled ‘Improving Chronic Disease outcomes for Indigenous Australians: Causes, Interventions, System Change.’ Professor O’Dea is interested in the therapeutic potential of traditional diets and lifestyles of numerous populations, including Indigenous Australians.
Professor Segal is the Foundation Chair in Health Economics, Health Economics & Social Policy Group, at the UniSA. Her research interests are broadly concerned with allocative efficiency, firstly how to determine the optimal mix of health services and secondly analysis of the drivers or incentives that can facilitate evidenced-based resource shifts. The former research interest has resulted in a large research program to develop and apply a population-based approach to priority setting, together with large scale cost-effectiveness analysis. The latter involves an on-going research program into health system issues and health reform.
A snapshot of some of the many staff at the TPC, from right to left: Janine, Eliza, Vicky, John, Matt, Lydia, Kath (in front). The TPC is a 24/7 active service that provides a mix of staffing including clinical, non-clinical and consumers. A multifaceted approach to rehabilitation is required to effectively address resident needs. Clinical rehabilitation is provided by staff trained in nursing, social work, psychology and occupational therapy, supported by all staff including non-clinical community workers.