Dr Elizabeth Fradgley

Dr Elizabeth Fradgley

What are your research interests?

Unmet emotional and practical needs of cancer patients: This work includes supporting busy health services to incorporate evidence-based distress screening and management practices into everyday practice. 

Capacity building in health services: This work includes developing and tailoring care models, such as referral pathways and multidisciplinary teams, so that health professionals and patients can work together to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time for them.  

The experiences of cancer patients’ loved ones: This work includes understanding family and friends’ experiences with supporting their loved ones throughout the cancer journey. 

Why did you get into research?

I have always been passionate about learning and love new experiences. The best thing about research is that you can learn something new every day and often data generates more questions than it answers! My first research internship focused on how children with English as a Second language received fewer health services. My second research internship focused on improving malaria diagnosis and treatment for a nomadic tribe in Tanzania. I now work with health services to implement psychosocial assessment pathways. It is hard to predict where research might take you, and there is no limit to what you can learn. 

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

The ultimate goal of my research is to work closely with health services so that they can quickly incorporate and tailor evidence-based practices to their unique setting. I am also very fortunate to work with charitable foundations. With generous philanthropic investments, I am driven to ensure the research provides patient-centered and high-quality clinical tools. I am thrilled to be working with Cancer Councils to design new ways of helping distressed cancer patients and their loved ones, and with the Mark Hughes Foundation to assess and respond to cognitive decline in brain cancer patients. 


Dr Fradgley is interested in understanding and promoting the delivery of patient-centred care. Her recent publications exploring how patients can be involved in evaluating and redesigning health services. This includes developing a web-based survey tool that empowers individuals with cancer to systematically evaluate their experiences of care and generate comprehensive and personalised summaries of their priorities and preferences for quality improvement.

More recently, Dr Fradgley has started work with the Cancer Council New South Wales and Victoria to implement screening and referral protocols for distressed cancer patients and their significant others. This project aims to increase callers' use of supportive care services and lower their distress levels. This work aligns closely with an interest in patient-centred care by helping cancer patients to engage with the services throughout the emotionally difficult cancer journey.

In 2019, Dr Fradgley began work on several studies including: implementation of cognitive assessment processes in brain cancer clinics (funded by the Mark Hughes Foundation); use of medicinal cannabis by cancer patients (funded by HCRA); and evaluation of outreach visits to improve distress screening processes in Australian cancer services (funded by Cancer Institute NSW). 

Future Focus

To empower health services to implement evidence-based assessment tools so that each patient can receive the care they need. 

Specialised/Technical Skills 

  • Implementation science 
  • Psycho-oncology trials 
  • Research impact assessment 



ABC Newcastle interview with Kia Handley - 15 October 2019