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Professor Sally Chan

Professor Sally Chan - Mental Health Researcher
Research Program:
Research Topics:
Project Grant
2016 Project Grant

What are you research interests?

  • Mental health and psychosocial interventions: This work involves patients and family caregivers focusing on their quality of life, symptom management, care burden and coping. Together with my team, we developed psychosocial interventions for people with mental illness and other chronic conditions and their families, and programs to promote mental health. 
  • Perinatal mental health: This covers antenatal psychoeducation, social support, interpersonal psychotherapy and learned resourcefulness.
  • Old-age mental health: Involves quality of life, depression, coping and resilience and mobile application to support caregivers of people living with dementia.
  • Health professional education: This work covers issues related to teaching and learning, including the use of technology.

Why did you get into research?

I believe the human mind is more important than the physical self. It's an approach that has defined my career in mental health research, spanning more than 20 years. Mental health poses a huge economic and social cost to communities throughout the world and I'm driven by the desire to help address this highly important issue. 

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

Research shouldn't be considered in isolation – it needs to be collaborative and able to influence government policy and practice at all levels. 


Having collaborated with nursing and health communities worldwide, Professor Chan's research has been influential in healthcare policy and service delivery in Hong Kong, Singapore and China. Since joining the University of Newcastle in March 2014 as Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery in the Faculty of Health and Medicine, she has forged ahead with her development of innovative, web-based applications.

Considering herself "a global citizen who is always seeking new challenges", Professor Chan approaches her mental health research with a psychosocial view, which encompasses individuals, their carers and the community. Her focus is on translating evidence to improve practice outcomes, implementing teaching innovations and mentoring new generations of nurses to advance nursing.

The UON's focus on Indigenous education served as a compelling drawcard in Professor Chan's decision to relocate to the Hunter. She aims to help Indigenous students achieve better outcomes, particularly with Honours and Research Higher Degrees.

Professor Chan's research has been supported by more than 80 funded studies, and has featured in more than 300 international publications. In 2013 the esteemed educator was awarded the 'International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame' by the Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society of Nursing, and Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Her extensive list of accolades also includes Chinese University of Hong Kong 'Teacher of the Year' awards in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, and the 'Master Teacher' in 2007 by the institute's Faculty of Medicine. 

Specialised/Technical Skills 

  • Mental health
  • Translational research
  • Mixed method study


  • PRC Brain and Mental Health Research
  • PRC Health Behaviour
  • HMRI Brain and Mental Health Research
  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
  • Fellow, Hong Kong Academy of Nursing
  • Member, Council of Deans of Nursing & Midwifery, Australia & New Zealand


Supporting postnatal first-time mothers – An RCT of a new mobile application
Project Grant

Professor Sally Chan, Dr Lyn Ebert, Donovan Jones, Eileen Dowse, Shanna Fealy


Transition to motherhood is a major development in a woman’s life which is marked by dramatic changes in identity, roles and relationships. Although many mothers are able to meet the challenges of parenting, others, especially first time mothers, feel overburdened and some become depressed.