Graduate research in the Department of Community and Clinical Health

Our graduate researchers are working to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities

Sila Uzuner

Sila Uzuner (pictured above) is undertaking a Master of Applied Science research degree in Social Work and Social Policy.

“After completing my Bachelor of Psychological Sciences at La Trobe, I changed my career direction and found a deep passion for advocating on behalf of vulnerable individuals and communities,” says Uzuner.

Uzuner chose to undertake a Master’s degree by research, reflecting her commitment to implementing best practice in her work with vulnerable people.

“My research is focused on the association between young people who leave state care and the level of disadvantage they experience as a result,” Uzuner explains. “I have examined planning practices and the benefits of extending the care age to 21."

Uzuner says that she has felt supported during her research journey at La Trobe. “My supervisors carry a lot of wisdom and have become my mentors,” she adds.

Upon completion, Uzuner hopes to commence a PhD and eventually work in social policy. “I would love to influence change at a macro level. I believe research is a powerful advocacy tool that can drive social change. I hope my research will highlight areas for development in state care policy and practice.”

Jasvinder Kaur Sekhon

PhD candidate, Jasvinder Kaur Sekhon, is investigating how speech-language pathologists can best support people living with post-stroke aphasia.

“Aphasia is a communication disability that affects reading, writing, talking and understanding, but not intelligence,” she says. “It has a big impact on relationships, autonomy, personal achievement, and self-identity, which can lead to depression and anxiety.”

Jas Sekhon became passionate about improving the lives of people affected by stroke during her 30 years as a speech-language pathologist, and commenced her PhD at La Trobe’s Centre for Research Excellence in Aphasia Rehabilitation and Recovery in 2015.

Her research focuses on improving the capability of speech-language pathologists so that they can provide psychosocial support to people living with aphasia.

“Speech-language pathologists play a key role in a stroke team, and I want to know how they can help to optimise the wellbeing of people living with aphasia,” says Jas Sekhon.

“I enjoy working with highly respected staff and world leaders in their fields. I have a world-class education experience.”

Sam Harvey

Sam Harvey, a PhD student in the Centre of Research Excellence in Aphasia Recovery and Rehabilitation, studies the effectiveness of aphasia treatment.  

“Aphasia is a communication disability caused by damage to the brain,” says Harvey. “It affects a person’s ability to speak, understand, read and write.”  

“Personalised treatment is needed,” explains Harvey. “Specifically, we need to know how much treatment a person needs to get best recovery.”  

Harvey’s research examines how receiving different amounts of a common aphasia treatment affects recovery.  

“Aphasia can rob people of their identity, voice and their place in society,” Harvey adds. “I’m optimistic that my research will help to inform rehabilitation practices and to reduce the burden of aphasia on people’s lives.”

Find out more about the Department of Community and Clinical Health on the website and LinkedIn.