Dr Kate Gunn is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Rural Health at the University of South Australia. She carries out both qualitative and quantitative behavioral science-focused research on psycho-oncology, suicide prevention, rural health and rural mental health-related issues.
Dr Gunn brings to this role experience from working as a Clinical Psychologist, as well as from growing up on a farm in an isolated rural community near Streaky Bay, South Australia. Her main research interests include understanding and addressing the psychosocial needs of rural people affected by cancer, rural help-seeking behaviour and the development, delivery and evaluation of web and telephone-based cancer support interventions. She also conducts research on farmers' health and mental health, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), the application of behaviour change theory and the use of participatory action research methods.
Dr Gunn enjoys the process of combining what research shows is likely to help people to change their behavior and improve their wellbeing, with rural people’s beliefs and preferences, so that new strategies are likely to work, be meaningful and be adopted in the real world. \\Her research has resulted in improved scientific understanding of the health and mental health needs of rural communities, and in the delivery of previously unavailable, consumer-driven support services. For example, her PhD research led to the development of a supportive care for rural South Australians.
More recently, Dr Gunn led the development of a new YouTube channel – Rural Cancer Stories –that features the stories of country cancer patients, survivors and their carers. It is designed to provide online peer support and evidence-based advice to rural Australians who can’t access a face-to-face cancer support group, and/or who feel generic supportive care materials don’t fully recognize the unique challenges rural people face.
The impact of Dr Gunn’s work has been recognized through the receipt of various awards in addition to her Churchill Fellowship, for example the Premier's/Channel 9 Young Achiever of the Year Award (2013), a SA Tall Poppy Science Excellence Award (2017), the Rural, Regional and Remote Winnovation Award (2017), and via a commendation in the national Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher of the Year Awards (2018). She is currently completing the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Program.
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