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Sarah Donovan, Department of Public Health

Sarah_Donovan_profilePhD, BMid

Research Fellow/Professional Practice Fellow

Teaches PUBH744 Healthy Public Policy

Contact details 

Tel +64 4 385 5541 (ext 4638)
Fax +64 4 389 5319
Email sarah.donovan@otago.ac.nz

Research interests and activities

Sarah is a Sociologist with a focus on the social determinants of health, and has also worked as a midwife. Her doctoral research (2010) focused on prenatal screening for Down Syndrome in New Zealand, and investigated women's experience of prenatal screening decisions, and the relationship of this experience to cultural norms of ‘health’, and to principles of individual choice and informed consent.

Sarah is part of team funded in 2018-2019 by Lotteries Health to undertake mixed methods research to investigate the reasons why New Zealand’s breastfeeding rates are poor and declining, particularly for Māori, and to work with stakeholders across multiple sectors to identify solutions. The project includes interviews with new mothers and health sector stakeholders to identify structural (rather than educational) barriers to successful breastfeeding, and will also stock take all currently available quantitative data on breastfeeding in NZ in order to identify data gaps. This work will feed into the Ministry of Health refresh of the National Breastfeeding Strategy.

In 2017 Sarah undertook a qualitative study on the personal and professional impact of life disrupting menstrual pain on New Zealand/Aotearoa women aged 18+. Other recent research includes analysing data on age of first menstruation in New Zealand and media advocacy work on the issue of period poverty (particularly among school aged girls - see media coverage) . She has presented at the first ever national hui on period poverty in November 2019, and at a parliamentary forum announcing government action on this issue.

In the department of Primary Care and General Practice she is a member of Wellington Interprofessional Teaching Initiative (WITI) (Louise Beckingsale, Karen Colman, Ben Darlow, Sarah Donovan, Ben Gray, Eileen McKinlay, Hazel Neser, Meredith Perry, Sue Pullon, Christine Wilson) and involved in research on the social organisation of clinical work with the use of the Communities of Clinical Practice tool.

Other professional interests include:

  • Breastfeeding as a public health good
  • Prevalence and morbidity of menstrual pain in New Zealand
  • Period poverty (addressing barriers to access to menstrual management products)
  • Inter Professional Education (IPE) for trainee health professionals
  • Barriers to the uptake of social security entitlements (i.e. state benefits) in NZ by vulnerable and low-income citizens
  • The public health role of midwives
  • Public health and economic benefits of promoting low-intervention, low-cost approaches to birth (including stand-alone birthing centres, and homebirth)

Sarah teaches PUBH744 Healthy Public Policy in the Diploma of Public Health.

Sarah is a member of the Electronic data for Mental health research (EleMent) group: Te Raraunga Hinengaro. EleMent are a multidisciplinary research group bringing together expertise in epidemiology, public health and data science with clinical and lived experience of mental distress. The group use routinely collected electronic data from health and other sources to understand the distribution and determinants of mental health and mental distress, with a focus is on making the best use of available information to improve the mental health of New Zealanders.

Media Stories

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Publications

McKinlay, E., Brown, M., Beckingsale, L., Burrow, M., Coleman, K., Darlow, B., Donovan, S., … Hilder, J., Neser, H., Perry, M., … Pullon, S. (2020). Forming inter-institutional partnerships to offer pre-registration IPE: A focus group study. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 34(3), 380-387. doi: 10.1080/13561820.2019.1685476

Donovan, S., & Telfar-Barnard, L. (2019). Age of first menstruation in New Zealand: Findings from first ever national-level data and implications for age-appropriate education and support. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1500), 100-102. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

McKinlay, E., Brown, M., Beckingsale, L., Burrow, M., Coleman, K., Darlow, B., Donovan, S., … Gray, B., Hilder, J., Neser, H., Perry, M., … Wilson, C., … Pullon, S. (2019). Improbable ideas that actually work: Forming inter-institutional partnerships to offer pre-registration health sciences interprofessional education. Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE) Conference. (pp. 120-121). Renmark, Australia: ANZAHPE. [Abstract]

Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Darlow, B., Beckingsale, L., Gallagher, P., Donovan, S., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2019, March). Better partnerships: Interprofessional education possibilities. Verbal presentation at the 22nd Asia-Australasia Conference of Radiological Technologists (AACRT) in conjunction with the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy’s 14th National Conference (ASMIRT), Adelaide, Australia.

Ombler, J., & Donovan, S. (2018). Rejuvenating radical potential through transdisciplinarity: Art and public health. Counterfutures, (5), 165-192.

Other Research Output

Ombler, J. & Donovan, S. (2017, April). What does art have to do with public health, and how can they work together? Public Health Expert blog. Retrieved from https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2017/04/10/what-does-art-have-to-do-with-public-health-and-how-can-they-work-together/

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Journal - Research Article

McKinlay, E., Brown, M., Beckingsale, L., Burrow, M., Coleman, K., Darlow, B., Donovan, S., … Hilder, J., Neser, H., Perry, M., … Pullon, S. (2020). Forming inter-institutional partnerships to offer pre-registration IPE: A focus group study. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 34(3), 380-387. doi: 10.1080/13561820.2019.1685476

Ombler, J., & Donovan, S. (2018). Rejuvenating radical potential through transdisciplinarity: Art and public health. Counterfutures, (5), 165-192.

Darlow, B., Donovan, S., Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2016). What makes an interprofessional education programme meaningful to students? Findings from focus group interviews with students based in New Zealand. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 30(3), 355-361. doi: 10.3109/13561820.2016.1141189

Darlow, B., Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Donovan, S., Beckingsale, L., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., Stanley, J., & Pullon, S. (2015). The positive impact of interprofessional education: A controlled trial to evaluate a programme for health professional students. BMC Medical Education, 15, 98. doi: 10.1186/s12909-015-0385-3

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Journal - Research Other

Donovan, S., & Telfar-Barnard, L. (2019). Age of first menstruation in New Zealand: Findings from first ever national-level data and implications for age-appropriate education and support. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1500), 100-102. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Coleman, K., Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Stanley, J., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2014). Does interprofessional education make a difference to students' attitudes to practice? [Brief communication]. Journal of Medical Imaging & Radiation Sciences, 45(4), 344-345. doi: 10.1016/j.jmir.2014.10.004

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

McKinlay, E., Brown, M., Beckingsale, L., Burrow, M., Coleman, K., Darlow, B., Donovan, S., … Gray, B., Hilder, J., Neser, H., Perry, M., … Wilson, C., … Pullon, S. (2019). Improbable ideas that actually work: Forming inter-institutional partnerships to offer pre-registration health sciences interprofessional education. Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE) Conference. (pp. 120-121). Renmark, Australia: ANZAHPE. [Abstract]

Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Darlow, B., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2018). Learning with, from and about each other: Developing interprofessional education programmes. Journal of Medical Imaging & Radiation Sciences, 49(Suppl. 1), (pp. S12). doi: 10.1016/j.jmir.2018.02.035

Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Darlow, B., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2017). Guidelines for educators in establishing and sustaining dynamic IPE programmes. Proceedings of the Interprofessional Education Showcase: Incorporating Interprofessional and Collaborative Practice into the Curriculum. Retrieved from https://www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/en/faculty/about/news-and-events/events/2017/nov0/21/interprofessional-education-showcase---cmhse.html

Coleman, K., Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2017). Facilitating interprofessional education. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences, 64(Suppl. 1), (pp. 39). [Abstract]

Coleman, K., Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2017). Learn with, from and about each other: Developing an interprofessional programme. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences, 64(Suppl. 1), (pp. 81). [Abstract]

Wellington Interprofessional Teaching Initiative (WITI), including Beckingsale, L., Coleman, K., Davidson, R., Darlow, B., Donovan, S., Garnett, A., … Gray, B., McKinlay, E., Neser, H., Perry, M., Pullon, S., … Wilson, C., & Brown, M. (2017). Building organisational partnerships to form IPE programmes. Proceedings of the Interprofessional Education Showcase: Incorporating Interprofessional and Collaborative Practice into the Curriculum. Retrieved from https://www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/en/faculty/about/news-and-events/events/2017/nov0/21/interprofessional-education-showcase---cmhse.html

Coleman, K., Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Gallagher, P., Perry, M., Beckingsale, L., Gray, B., Neser, H., Donovan, S., Stanley, J., & Pullon, S. (2016). Changes in student attitudes following a pre-registration interprofessional learning experience. Radiotherapy & Oncology, 119(Suppl. 1), (pp. S173-S174). doi: 10.1016/S0167-8140(16)31621-8

Perry, M., Darlow, B., Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., Neser, H., & Pullon, S. (2016). Development of an interprofessional education teaching team. Proceedings of the Physiotherapy New Zealand Conference. (pp. 96). Retrieved from https://pnz.org.nz/conference

Coleman, K., Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2016). “We’re all here for the patient”: Exploring the process of interprofessional learning. Radiotherapy & Oncology, 119(Suppl. 1), (pp. S989). doi: 10.1016/S0167-8140(16)33353-9

Perry, M., Darlow, B., Donovan, S., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Gray, B., Pullon, S., Gallagher, P., Neser, H., & Coleman, K. (2015). “We’re here for the patient at the end of the day”: Perceptions of an IPE programme in long-term conditions management. Physiotherapy, 101(Suppl. 1), (pp. e1195-e1196). doi: 10.1016/j.physio.2015.03.2121

Darlow, B., Perry, M., Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Donovan, S., Beckingsale, L., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Stanley, J., & Pullon, S. (2015). The positive impact of interprofessional education: A controlled trial to evaluate a programme for health professional students. Physiotherapy, 101(Suppl. 1), (pp. e294-e295). doi: 10.1016/j.physio.2015.03.488

Coleman, K., Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Stanley, J., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Pullon, S., & Perry, M. (2015). Changes in student attitudes following a pre-registration interprofessional learning experience. Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE) and the Asian Medical Education Association (AMEA) Joint Conference. Adelaide, Australia: ANZAHPE. [Abstract]

Coleman, K., Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Donovan, S., Beckingsale, L., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., Stanley, J., & Pullon, S. (2015). Exploring students' views about interprofessional learning and what makes it meaningful. Journal of Medical Radiation Sciences, 62(Suppl. 1), (pp. 42). doi: 10.1002/jmrs.1_112

Coleman, K., Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Donovan, S., Stanley, J., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Pullon, S., & Perry, M. (2015). "We're all here for the patient at the end of the day": Exploring the process of interprofessional learning. Proceedings of the Australian & New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE) and the Asian Medical Education Association (AMEA) Joint Conference. Adelaide, Australia: ANZAHPE. [Abstract]

McKinlay, E., Beckingsale, L., Coleman, K., Darlow, B., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2014). Connecting the silos: Developing interprofessional teaching teams and resources to educate undergraduates for long-term conditions management. Proceedings of the Australasian Long-term Conditions Conference. Retrieved from http://www.healthnavigator.org.nz/conference/programme/

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Conference Contribution - Poster Presentation (not in published proceedings)

Neser, H., Darlow, B., McKinlay, E., Coleman, K., Stanley, J., Beckingsale, L., Gray, B., Perry, M., Donovan, S., Gallagher, P., & Pullon, S. (2015, November). Beyond collaboration: Exploring what makes student interprofessional learning meaningful. Poster session presented at the Psychosocial Oncology New Zealand (PONZ) National Conference, Invercargill, New Zealand.

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Coleman, K., McKinlay, E., Darlow, B., Beckingsale, L., Gallagher, P., Donovan, S., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., & Pullon, S. (2019, March). Better partnerships: Interprofessional education possibilities. Verbal presentation at the 22nd Asia-Australasia Conference of Radiological Technologists (AACRT) in conjunction with the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy’s 14th National Conference (ASMIRT), Adelaide, Australia.

Beckingsale, L., McKinlay, E., Coleman, K., Darlow, B., Donovan, S., Gray, B., Neser, H., Perry, M., Pullon, S., & Wilson, C. (2015, November). From acorns to oaks: Key elements needed to grow an interprofessional education programme: Wellington Interprofessional Teaching Initiative. Verbal presentation at the Interprofessional Showcase: Evidence and Application, Auckland, New Zealand.

McKinlay, E., Coleman, K., Beckingsale, L., Darlow, B., Gray, B., Neser, H., Stanley, J., Pullon, S., Gallagher, P., Perry, M., & Donovan, S. (2014, September). Does interprofessional education make a difference to students’ attitudes? Verbal presentation at the New Zealand Interprofessional Health Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

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