Sarah WallaceDr Sarah Wallace is a speech pathologist at the UQ School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) who conducts research in the field of aphasia rehabilitation. She has 15 years of experience working as a clinician, public servant, and researcher in public health, federal government, and university sectors. Her research has an international focus and she is a founding member of Aphasia United, an international peak body for aphasia organisations.

Dr Wallace has expertise in consensus building techniques, stakeholder engagement and the application of the World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) to research. 

Current research

Up to 40 per cent of stroke survivors lose the ability to communicate effectively using language (speak, understand, read, write) — a devastating condition called aphasia. Dr Wallace's research primarily relates to post-stroke aphasia, in particular:

  1. Enabling meaningful change through an understanding of the patient perspective, and the development and evaluation of interventions which seek to produce meaningful outcomes for people living with aphasia; and
  2. Measuring meaningful outcomes and improving outcome measurement methods and practices in research and clinical settings.

Her research across the next five years will seek to enable the use of routine clinical data collection and outcome measurement in order to understand and drive quality improvement in aphasia services.

Career highlights

  • Awarded an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Investigator Grant in the inaugural 2019 funding round for the project 'Driving quality improvement through Meaningful Evaluation of Aphasia SeRvicES (MEASuRES)'. 
  • Member of the leadership committee developing the Queensland Aphasia Rehabilitation Centre (QARC).
  • Deputy Chair of the SHRS Communication Research and Engagement Theme (RET).
  • Portfolio Lead of the SHRS Research Incubator Program.
  • Future Leader in Stroke Rehabilitation and Brain Recovery, 2018: the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Stroke Rehabilitation and Brain Recovery selects future leaders in stroke rehabilitation and/or brain recovery research who are less than eight years post PhD. Successful applicants have access to CRE workshops and mentoring programs run by world-class researchers.
  • Dean’s Award for Outstanding Higher Degree by Research Theses, 2016: this award gives formal recognition to outstanding PhD and MPhil graduates. Examiners are given the opportunity to nominate a candidate for the Dean’s award if they feel the standard of the thesis is exceptional and makes an outstanding contribution to the field of research. Fewer than 10 per cent of PhD and MPhil graduates are recognised this way each year.