Alumni

Alumni in profile

Image of Dr Kate Stewart

Dr Katherine Stewart
Doctor of Health Science 2010 and Staff member 2011

I am currently…
Living in New York and working on a research project for the Division of Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.

The qualitative research involves locating and interviewing consumers and clinicians regarding their experiences of the mental health care treatment system. The research is most concerned with consumers who are suffering from a serious mental illness and lost to care. The results will add to the formation of protocols and procedures for engaging and retaining high-needs consumers in mental health treatment.

I chose to study at Deakin because…
At the time I was working as a Clinical Psychologist with an early psychosis treatment service and had a strong interest in the process of consumer engagement with mental health treatment.  Deakin University’s distance education was a perfect match for my need to continue working as well as utilize my experiences as a clinician while completing the degree. 

Reflecting on my tertiary education experience…
It had been over 10 years between completing my Master of Science degree and commencing the Doctor of Health Science degree. Fortunately, during that time technology had advanced to such an extent that I no longer needed to search for literature manually and typewriters and white-out had been replaced by computers. Even to this day I marvel at the technological experience of distance education that allowed me to sit in my front room, looking at the garden, while searching for some obscure article on the Deakin Library search site.

I also reflect on the inspiring conversations I experienced with my supervisor and the incredible support from his staff. I know now there is some truth to the saying that ‘it is not the destination but the journey that is important’ because through the process of obtaining my degree, I became a better social researcher and a more confident, tolerant and empathic person.

Today I am motivated by…
A desire to improve the treatment conditions for young people who need care for a serious mental illness. Even today it is clear that young people suffering from mental illness are confronted with health care environments that can be unsupportive, confusing and at times traumatic.

In my profession it is important to …
Have the courage to acknowledge when you don’t know something and know that asking for help is not a weakness. Don’t be afraid to value human frailties as well as strengths, and take the time to imagine and wisely balance emotions with practical thinking.

The single-most important issue in the world…
Developing a universal understanding that humans are the custodians of the natural world.

The best thing I would recommend about Deakin is…
That it gives you the opportunity to study at home, while being surrounded by talented and supportive people who are genuinely interested in your progress and well-being.

My course helped my career…
Because I have been able to apply what I learned directly to my clinical work and the research has allowed to me travel overseas and present at conferences and join the research team at Columbia University.

In the future…
I would like to continue making life better for young people suffering from mental illness and have time to pursue my interest in writing. I have a ‘bucket list’ of community projects that will take me to my 120th birthday to achieve!


Back to Alumni in profile

Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

29th August 2011