Dr Sarah Burkhart

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Dr Sarah Burkhart


Lecturer, Nutrition & Dietetics

MSc Massey, BSc Massey., PhD Sunshine Coast.

+61 7 5456 5046
+61 7 5459 4880
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Dr Sarah Burkhart


Dr Sarah Burkhart is a Lecturer in Nutrition in the School of Health and Sport Sciences. Sarah’s research focuses on the food system, food security and food choice in the Pacific Islands, as well as food provision and nutrition support for athletes.

Working with Pacific partners, academics and stakeholders, Sarah is interested in understanding the determinants of food choice, dietary diversity and food security across Pacific Island food systems, in particular access and availability, education, food literacy and the influence of culture. She currently has projects underway in Solomon Islands, Samoa and that span the Pacific region.

Sarah is also involved in research related to food provision and nutrition support at major international competition (further details can be found at Food provision and nutrition support at major athletic competition).

Sarah coordinates and teaches several courses across the Bachelor of Nutrition and the Bachelor of Dietetics, with a focus on improving the student experience and readiness for practice using blended learning and the flipped classroom approach, innovative technology and effective curriculum design. Sarah is also an advocate for involving students in overseas learning and research experiences and has travelled with, and supervised USC students undertaking projects in Samoa and the Solomon Islands. Sarah’s scholarship of learning and teaching interests include the integration of a food systems approach and sustainability within Nutrition and Dietetic curricula, the use of blended learning strategies and the flipped classroom approach.


  • Advance Teaching Award: ABLE Award for Advancing the Blended Learning Experience, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2016
  • Commendation for Excellence: Advancing Quality Teaching, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2016

Projects for Honours and HDR students

  • Food choice and food security in the Pacific region
  • Dietary diversity in the Pacific region
  • Nutrition education in developing countries
  • Nutrition transition
  • Sustainable food systems

Professional memberships

Sarah is a Registered Nutritionist with the Nutrition Society of Australia.


Project name Investigator(s) Funding body Year Focus
School Food Programmes in the Pacific Islands: Scoping Study and Capacity Needs Assessment Dr S Burkhart and Prof. S. J Underhill UN/FAO 2019 This project includes a scoping review and capacity needs assessment of school food programmes in 14 Pacific Island countries.
School Nutrition Education Programmes in the Pacific Islands: Scoping Study and Capacity Needs Assessment Dr S Burkhart UN/FAO 2018 This project includes a scoping review and capacity needs assessment and proposes school nutrition education programmes in 14 Pacific Island countries.
Fruit and vegetable accessibility and purchasing behaviours in Samoa and the Solomon Islands Dr S. Burkhart (used to provide funding for students to undertake project) New Colombo Plan A$33,000 2017/2018 This project aims to investigate availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in markets and retail outlets, origin of produce, vendor perspectives and fruit and vegetable purchasing behaviours of Samoans and Solomon Islanders. It also includes investigating individual dietary diversity in the Solomon Islands.
Designing a graduate eportfolio – the expectations of industry Dr A Hamilton (lead), T Downer, Dr B Flanagan, Dr S Burkhart, Dr A Villani, B Lucas, Dr A Henderson, Dr C Davis, M Small, and Dr J Taylor. USC Commissioned Grant A$15,000 2016/2017 The aim of this project is to discover what the Health and Social Care Industry wants graduates to demonstrate through a graduate ePortfolio and enhance graduate employability.
Learning, Teaching, Practice: A common understanding and integration of sustainability within Nutrition and Dietetics. Dr S. Burkhart (lead), Dr J. Maher, Dr M. Verdonck and T. Ashford. USC Exploratory Grant A$9996 2015 The aim of this project is twofold – 1) to conceptualise ‘sustainability’ in the context of nutrition and dietetics and 2) to produce resources that will support development of authentic teaching and learning activities relating to the graduate quality ‘sustainability focused’.
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