Researcher profile: Dr Anne Smith
Dr Anne Smith has worked for 20 years as a clinical physiotherapist, and has a Masters of Biostatistics and a 12 year track record as a postdoctoral researcher. Her research has focused on spinal pain, peripheral musculoskeletal conditions, orthopaedic surgery and physical activity/sedentary behaviour. Recent funding success will enable Dr Smith to do some critical work in the area of osteoarthritis and total joint replacement.
Provide an overview of your research career including your current research interests.
I have a 12 year track record as a postdoctoral researcher which followed 20 years of clinical experience as a physiotherapist, and I also qualified as a Biostatistician in 2012 with a Masters of Biostatistics. This unique package of statistical, research and clinical expertise has enabled me to inform and facilitate research across multiple domains, working in interdisciplinary teams. In addition to my focused areas of spinal pain, peripheral musculoskeletal conditions, orthopaedic surgery and physical activity/sedentary behaviour, I also have publications in pain science, bone health, information technology use and health, psychology, genetics, work productivity, stress response biology and adiposity.
What drew you to research as a career?
I was drawn to research both because of my personal characteristics, such as love of learning and intellectual curiosity, and a recognition of the need for evidence-based interventions after practicing as a physiotherapist.
What makes a good researcher?
Many things, but I think two really important characteristics are the ability to keep an open mind but still think critically, and the ability to work well in a team environment.
What project/s are you currently working on?
We have a number of projects evaluating how best to help people who have psychological, movement and lifestyle factors that are major contributors to their musculoskeletal pain-related disability. I am involved in many aspects of the Raine Study, a WA population cohort study that has enabled us to look at musculoskeletal health across the lifespan. I am also part of a team evaluating the utility of wearable motion sensors for research and clinical practice in the field of musculoskeletal health.
What challenges have you faced in your research, and how have you overcome them?
There are so many challenges, but the biggest for me has been balancing my career with my carer responsibilities, whilst maintaining a lifestyle that keeps me well both mentally and physically. As a result I have developed great self-discipline, time-management and coping skills.
What has been your biggest research success to date?
Recent funding success which will enable us to build some really important national and international collaborations, and provide the opportunity to do some critical work in the area of osteoarthritis and total joint replacement, which is the area in which I started my research career doing my PhD.