HDR Scholarship - A smartphone based approach for improving self-management of heart disease; is this an effective approach

Applications now open

There are two PhD scholarships available in Deakin's Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Faculty of Health. The PhD students will initiate and conduct research on the topic 'A smartphone based approach for improving self-management of heart disease; is this an effective approach' led by Prof Ralph Maddison. The successful applicant will be based at the Melbourne Burwood Campus.

Research topic

Research Project One: Secondary prevention is the term used to describe the targeted treatment of many non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Exercise is the cornerstone of contemporary management for people who have had a cardiac event (e.g., heart attack). The traditional model of centre-based exercise-based rehabilitation is associated with poor attendance and compliance to exercise prescription and behaviour. Innovative, cost effective and practical solutions are needed to address this gap. Given the challenges of engaging people face-to-face, digital interventions, in particular mobile health, offer promise for improving cardiovascular risk-factors.  We propose the use of a conversational interface or ‘Chat Bot’ to help guide and support people with heart disease to initiate and maintain exercise and physical activity. Delivered via mobile phone, the proposed chat bot would provide evidence- and theory-based behavioural support to exercise and be active.

Research Project Two: Secondary prevention is the term used to describe the targeted treatment of many non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease. There is clear and definitive evidence and clinical guidelines that document the treatments patients should receive after a heart attack; however 33% of people a year after their heart attack are not taking evidence-based medications or participating in centre-based cardiac rehabilitation. Innovative, cost effective and practical solutions are needed to address this gap. Given the challenges of engaging people face-to-face, digital interventions, in particular mobile health, offer promise for improving cardiovascular risk-factors.  We have developed a sophisticated digital solution (SCRAM) that allows people to access real-time support from accredited exercise coaches while exercising in their home, local or other preferred environment, and receive evidence- and theory-based behavioural support to make healthy lifestyle choices – SCARM puts a personal coach in every individuals’ pocket. The intervention targets, diet and alcohol consumption, exercise, and medication adherence. The proposed PhD is part of a large funded trial to determine the effectiveness of SCRAM and will examine the potential scalability and translation of the SCRAM intervention.

Project aim

Research Project One:  This project aims to develop a new technological solution to help people with heart disease exercise on a regular basis. The PhD research will involve a literature review on the topic, development of content for the chat bot, and pretest the intervention in potential end users.

Research Project Two: This project will use new technologies for improving access and delivery of self-management behaviours in people with heart disease. The PhD research will focus on understanding the potential for implementation and scalability of a technology based intervention with the healthcare system

Value and duration

Value

  • A stipend of $27,082 per annum tax exempt (2018 rate)
  • A relocation allowance from $500 to $1,500 (2017) awarded to students who are moving from interstate or overseas in order to study at Deakin

Duration

  • 3 Years

Important dates

Opening date

14/12/2017

Closing date

31/10/2018

Eligibility criteria

This scholarship is only open to domestic candidates (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Resident, New Zealand Citizenship).

Applicants must meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements, be enrolling full time and hold an Honours degree (First Class) or an equivalent standard Master's degree with a substantial research component. Please refer to the entry pathways to higher degrees by research for further information.

Additional eligibility criteria:

  • A Bachelor’s degree with Honours or a Master’s degree with a substantial research component, or equivalent, in exercise science, health sciences, public health or epidemiology
  • Fluency in English (evidence of English proficiency is required), highly motivated, and able to work in a multidisciplinary team
  • Previous research experience in physical activity and/or dietary behaviour is desirable but not essential
  • Previous research experience working in clinical settings is desirable but not essential

How to apply

Refer to our How to apply webpage. In section 2 of the application form please select this scholarship from the list.

Further information

If you wish to discuss your research interests and project proposal before applying, please contact Prof Ralph Maddison email or phone +6139244 6218 or +61420232459, or Dr Jonathan Rawstorn via email.