Meet the Researchers
"Hi, I'm Dr Siobhan...
I am currently undertaking this research as part of my PhD at Flinders University. I am a plastic surgery doctor who is passionate about women's health and want to help solve the problem of rectus diastasis in women after pregnancy. With the guidance of my excellent supervisors, I hope to raise awareness and contribute to the knowledge around rectus diastasis and the benefits of abdominoplasty using evidence-based research from high quality studies.
I founded AbdomiCARE.org to innovate the research experience from the participant's perspective. Using technology, I believe research can be transparent, ethical, and participant-friendly.
I hope your involvement in this research is enjoyable and inspiring. I really do believe that by working together, we can #repairthegap"
This research collective is formed by Flinders University staff and students. Dr Siobhan Fitzpatrick is undertaking this research as part of her PhD under the expert supervision of Associate Professor Nicola Dean, Professor David Watson, Associate Professor Rosalie Grivell, and Dr Tamara Crittenden.
Read their research bio's below:
Dr Siobhan Fitzpatrick is a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery SET registrar. She has performed abdominoplasty with muscle repair on women with rectus diastasis under supervision as part of her work and has assisted hundreds of body contouring procedures. She has a Master of Surgery in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and sound research experience with multiple first-author publications. She has been awarded a Flinders University Research Scholarship to support her through her full-time PhD studies due to her demonstrable research experience.
Professor David Watson has extensive research and supervising experience. In 2015 he was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (FAHMS) and appointed a Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor at Flinders University. He has over 400 refereed research papers and book chapters and since 1997, has received 17 major research grants from NHMRC, MRFF and NIH, as well as major grant support from other funding bodies. He is also a consultant general surgeon who has relevant experience operating on ventral wall hernias and rectus diastasis.
Dr Tamara is an experienced research assistant in the Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery in Flinders Medical Centre. She has a PhD in patient reported outcomes research on the health benefits of breast reduction surgery and manages all research activities being conducted within the department. She has over 20 publications and was the winner of the Flinders University 2020 HDR Student Research Impact Prize.
Associate Professor Nicola Dean has extensive expertise in this research area and is Dr Fitzpatrick's principal supervisor. As a consultant Plastic & Reconstructive surgeon, A/Prof Dean regularly operates on women with rectus diastasis by performing abdominoplasties with musclerepair. She has been involved in research activities and advocacy in this area from her role as Vice President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. She is also an established researcher and supervisor, having successfully supervised multiple PhD students in Patient Reported Outcomes Research. A/Prof Dean also has relevant experience and publications in qualitative research. She is the Principal Coordinating Investigator of the AbdomiCARE projects.
Associate Professor Rosalie Grivell is a consultant Obstetrician and Maternal Fetal Medicine subspecialist at Flinders Medical Centre and Matthew Flinders Fellow in Maternal Fetal Medicine at Flinders University. She has authored multiple publications, successfully supervised PhD students, and presented both nationally and internationally on women's health research. She was also awarded a RANZCOG Research Foundation scholarship and NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (Australian Clinical Research Fellowship). As rectus diastasis is a condition that often occurs in women after pregnancy, A/Prof Grivell's experience in treating female obstetric patients is highly relevant to this project.