USC experts available to comment on COVID-19 and related topics | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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USC experts available to comment on COVID-19 and related topics

USC has a number of experts available to speak on COVID-19 and related topics. At this stage we are encouraging media interviews to be conducted via phone, video conferencing or email.

Dr Silvia Tavares

Urban Design and Town Planning

07 5456 5884 or

Topics: What could urban life look like post-COVID? How might the pandemic shape the way we design our public spaces in the future?

Dr Karen Sutherland

Public Relations or 07 5456 5277. Bio here.

Topics: Social media for business and non-profit organisations, work integrated learning, strategic communication, social media and employability, social media education, blended learning. Link to Dr Sutherland’s article 3 Ways Businesses Can Respond to COVID-19

Tania Wiesmayr-Freeman

Nutrition and Dietetics

0407 975 821 or Bio here.

Topics: Good nutrition during home isolation. Tips and tricks to staying healthy while working from home. Healthy snacking for kids. Affordability of healthy food. How to boost immunity. And are some takeaway/deliveries better than others?

Dr Ali Black


07 5456 5156 or Bio here.

Topics: The importance of care and compassion during times of great stress. Communicating with children and young people and empowering them to feel safe. Experiences that support connectedness, community, wellbeing and meaning-making.

Associate Professor Helen Stallman

Clinical Psychology

07 5456 5742, Bio here.

Topics: Tips to cope with stress and uncertainty during the pandemic. Helen is a specialist in the development and evaluation of interventions aimed to optimise health and wellbeing. She can also speak about the free telehealth program called Coping Kids, which can help parents support their children to cope using healthy strategies.


Dr Larisa McLoughlin

Youth mental health

Contact: 07 5456 3887, Bio here.

Topics: Importance of social connectedness, particularly in relation to technology.

Dr Alison Willis


Contact: 07 5456 5530 or Bio here.

Topics: How teachers respond to student stress, practical strategies for online learning, and practical tips for lessons at home. Dr Willis has conducted research over the past 10 years into how teachers respond to student stress, including teachers working in conflict-affected contexts, and more recently investigating how Australian teachers manage student stress and academic progress.

Open-access lecture: How teachers respond to student stress


Dr Katryna Starks

Games and other interactive experiences and mobile by request. Bio here.

Topics: Gaming and mental health. Positive recommendations for games to play during self-isolation including exercise games, multi-player online games and narrative games.

Matt Mason


07 5456 5191 or Bio here.

Topics: Infection prevention, infectious diseases, emergency management and clinical governance. Mr Mason is with Collaborative for the Advancement of Infection Prevention and Control and currently consults to the World Health Organisation via Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network program.

He can also comment on the focus on slowing the spread, rather than containment, to allow medical services the space to cope. The Conversation article: ‘The doctor will Skype you now’: telehealth may limit coronavirus spread, but there’s more we can do to protect workers.

Associate Professor Joanne Macdonald

Molecular Engineering. or phone by request. Bio here.

Topics: With a background in virology, Dr Macdonald is applying her biosensor technology for the diagnosis of deadly viruses. Molecular engineering, diagnostic technology, virology and epidemiology, biochemistry and drug development. The Conversation article: How do we detect if coronavirus is spreading in the community?


Dr Shahab Pourfakhimi

Tourism, Leisure and Events Management.

07 5456 5690, Bio here.

Topics: The impacts of COVID-19 on the economic impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism, hospitality, leisure and events industries. Including the lessons learned from previous crisis and what could be done to stimulate post-crisis recovery.

Shahab’s research interests generally involve studying consumer behaviour in tourism, hospitality and events, particularly the socio-psychological dimensions of tourists’ perceptions, choices and experiences.


Dr Aaron Tham

Tourism, Leisure and Event Management. or Skype on request. Bio here.

Topics: Impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism/leisure/event landscape.


Dr Rachael Sharman


Mobile or Zoom by request. Bio here.

Topics: Psychology and social implications related to isolation, hoarding behaviours, fear, panic, following government directives, etc.


Dr Kelly Choong

Marketing, communication and advertising.

07 5456 5157, mobile on request, Bio here.

Topics: How businesses will need to evolve to stay afloat, either through change or innovation. Pre-empting changing consumer behaviours.


Dr Erica Mealy

Computer science., mobile on request Skype on request. Bio here.

Topics: Working online, challenges of concentrating in a digital world, tools for online working, network challenges, lessons from computer viruses for the biological. How working from home will increase demand on the national broadband network.

Media contact: Janelle Kirkland 07 5456 4553,

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