Dr Sarkies has moved to The University of Sydney from Macquarie University, where he was part of the team at the Australian Institute of Health Innovation.

He joins fellow leaders in implementation science at SHP, Dr Heather Shepherd from the University’s Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Associate Professor Leanne Hassett from the Sydney School of Health Sciences.

The three leaders will provide support to SHP’s Clinical Academic Groups and oversee the Research Translation Fellowship program, and lead the online implementation science Community of Practice, which has over 800 members from across Australia. They will also lead Sydney Health Partners’ annual implementation science conference, host regular masterclasses and workshops, and manage the annual SHP pilot grant scheme.

Dr Sarkies, who was a physiotherapist before embarking on a research career, believes Sydney Health Partners has a rare opportunity to impact the translation of research evidence into clinical practice.

“It seems like Sydney Health Partners is in this really nice position to help implement the research coming out of institutes and make them work in the health service and communicate the needs of the health services back to those research institutes,” he said. “That was quite a big motivator to be involved.”

“There are very few opportunities in academia and clinical care where you have that really strong connection between the two. I don’t think there’s very many places in Sydney, NSW or even Australia that have that kind of footprint.”

As independent researchers, the three leaders will also focus on developing the discipline of implementation science.

Dr Heather Shepherd combines 20 years’ experience as an intensive care nurse with academic research in implementation science.

“Nurses are often the lynchpin and coordinator of many aspects of a patient’s care,” she said.

“They really understand how a health system works and how all the multidisciplinary teams come together, and that kind of understanding is a massive bonus when you’re trying to implement change at a health service level. I really see the value of having nurses as leaders in this space.”

Associate Professor Leanne Hassett is a fulltime academic and former physiotherapist who spent 15 years working in brain injury rehabilitation.

“Even though it’s been ten years since I was officially a clinician, I still feel like a clinician at heart, so I am really passionate about evidence-based practice and being able to deliver the best care to patients,” she said.

“I’m interested in continuing to develop the methodology of implementation science and working with the wonderful brains trust Sydney Health Partners has put together. Implementation science still seems like a new thing to a lot of people, and I think there’s a lot of room to build capacity in the discipline.”