Dietitian, Metro South Health and The Hopkins Centre
Amy has worked as a clinical Dietitian at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for over seven years and has been the spinal injuries unit Dietitian for the same amount of time. Throughout this period, she also gained experience across a wide range of other clinical specialties including trauma, neurosurgery, orthopaedics and outpatient food allergy and gastroenterology clinics, but have always enjoyed working in spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation the most. She quickly noticed that there was limited evidence to inform nutrition care following SCI but could see the potential benefit of nutrition in so many aspects of SCI rehabilitation – including weight management, wound healing and bowel management. With the support of the Nutrition and Dietetics Department and team in the spinal injuries unit, Amy started to undertake research examining energy requirements and how best to measure these in clinical practice from 2013. From here, her research has continued to evolve and progress. Amy is still working as the Dietitian in the Spinal Injuries Unit and is now completing her PhD part-time through the University of Queensland, continuing on her quest to contribute to and strengthen the evidence base for nutrition care following SCI.
She considers herself a novice when it comes to research and acknowledges she still has much to learn! Most of Amy’s research to date has focused on observational and/or longitudinal studies as these are the best suited to answer the types of research questions she has. Amy is hoping to gain experience in qualitative methodology in the near future and aims to one day lead an interventional study in the form of a large (multicentre is the dream) randomised controlled trial.
Amy's research interests are:
- Energy requirements following SCI; use of indirect calorimetry to measure energy needs as part of routine clinical care
- Factors influencing energy requirements following SCI including the role of spasticity, pressure injuries and body composition
- Nutritional priorities for people with SCI and working with consumers to assist the design of effective and appropriate Dietetic services and nutrition resources
- Nutritional interventions to optimise bowel function following SCI including fibre, pre- and probiotics.