Professor Amanda Wheeler wins the 2017 HSRAANZ Distinguished Investigator – Mid-Career Award

The Distinguished Investigator Awards recognize researchers who have made a significant contribution to the field of health services and health policy research in Australia and New Zealand through scholarship and teaching, advancement of science and methods, and leadership (relative to level of award). Nominations were invited from the HSRAANZ membership and colleagues. The winner of the mid-career award, Professor Amanda Wheeler - Professor of Mental Health, Griffith University, University of Auckland (Clinical A/Professor) was announced at the HSRAANZ Conference yesterday.

Prof Amanda Wheeler accepting her award from the HSRAANZ President

Professor Amanda Wheeler - Professor of Mental Health, Griffith University, University of Auckland (Clinical A/Professor)


Professor Wheeler has worked as a health practitioner, educator and researcher in mental health and pharmacy practice for almost 20 years. After establishing a highly successful research centre in a public health service in NZ that she directed for over 10 years, Amanda was awarded her PhD in 2009. Despite a late start to a publishing
career, Amanda has made a significant contribution to health services & health policy research, with a key focus on reducing the burden of disease and treatment burden for people experiencing mental illness, and the delivery of person-centred care in the community pharmacy setting. She is nationally and internationally recognised for her expertise in these areas.

Since 2004, Amanda has obtained four competitive national research grants totalling almost $4.5 million, published over 115 peer-reviewed papers (31 as first author, 5 solo-authored), 30 published abstracts/letters and delivered oral presentations at more than 35 conferences and meetings. Thirty-three publications to date have emanated from two Federal Department of Health grants, of which she was lead investigator. Amanda’s publications are well cited (900 citations) with an h-index of 20. Significant outcomes from her research work leading to practice changes include: development and validation of a consumer outcome tool that has been incorporated by the NZ Ministry of Health as part of the national suite of outcome measures in mental health services; development and implementation of best-practice guidelines for the use of the antipsychotic clozapine which were recommended by NZ Coronial Services in 2010 to be made available nationally; developed and implemented an audit and feedback cycle for antipsychotic use in schizophrenia that led to sustained, evidence-based changes in prescribing practice; developed and evaluated an on-line mental health continuing education programme for more than 600 Australian community pharmacy staff. In 2013 she was awarded a Griffith Health Excellence Award for outstanding research success
and work in the area of mental health and addictions.

Amanda provides a significant amount of time and effort to mentor students through the research journey. She has supervised 2 PhD and 2 MPhil graduates and is currently the convenor of the Higher Degree Research Program at the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University. Amanda’s leadership skills have been recognised by fellowships with the UK College of Mental Health Pharmacy and the European Society for Person Centred Healthcare, appointments to the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling for the Australian TGA, as Chair of the Clinical Pharmacy Group of the European Society for Person Centred Healthcare, and journal Editorial Board membership (The Patient and Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice). Her dedication to all facets of health services research makes Amanda a worthy recipient of such a prestigious award.