Our Team

Professor Ritin Fernandez – Director RN; PhD 
Doctor Ritin Fernandez is the Professor of Nursing at the School of Nursing, University of Wollongong and St George Hospital and the Director of the Centre for Evidence based Initiatives in Health Care - a collaborating Centre of the Joanna Briggs Institute. Her teaching and research interests have focused on evidence based practice, randomised controlled trials, patient safety, chronic disease management, cardiovascular disease and health in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Ritin has extensive experience in systematic reviews and meta-analysis having published numerous reviews in the Cochrane Library and the Joanna Briggs database. Since 2000 Ritin has obtained over $1,000,000 in grants including NHMRC Project grants. Ritin has published over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and is currently co-supervising eight Research Higher Degree students.

Heidi Lord RN, BN, MPH
Heidi Lord is a Clinical Nurse Consultant at the Centre for Research in Nursing and Health. Heidi was awarded a Master of Public Health (with distinction) in 2009 from the University of Wollongong. Heidi has extensive nursing experience and since 2011 she has been employed in research roles, including hepatology research nurse, HIV and hepatology clinical trials and research and policy officer for the Federal Government. Her research interests focus on public health, health inequalities, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, minority populations groups, social determinants of health and communicable diseases. She has produced six peer-reviewed journal articles and presented her work at both national and international conferences. She has been a peer reviewer for many Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) conferences and has peer reviewed journal articles. Heidi is an active member of the PHAA and a PhD candidate at University of Wollongong.

Laura Ellwood RN, BN, GradCert ClinNurs, MPH.
After gaining broad nursing experience working in the medical, surgical and emergency clinical settings, Laura found her passion for preventative health and health promotion. Since the completion of a Master in Public Health, Laura has been working as a Registered Nurse at the Centre for Research in Nursing and Health. Laura has publications in a wide range of topics including, fruit flavonoids and hypertension, radiation protection during cardiac catheterisation, pharmacological obesity management and postoperative pain measurement. Her current research is now focusing on public health related issues including looking at various interventions to improve antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial stewardship and vaccine hesitancy. Other areas of research of particular interest to Laura include gastrointestinal health and the gut-brain axis, and communicable diseases. 

Stami Trakis BAppSc (MRS), MPhil (Research)
Stami is a Senior Radiation Therapist working at the St George Hospital - Cancer Care Centre. Stami has over 20 years’ experience in all aspects of Radiotherapy and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Radiation Therapy (MRS). The diversity of this profession and Stami’s passion of various research work involving record keeping, statistical analysis, interpreting of data has resulted in her completion of a Masters of Philosophy. Whilst undertaking her Masters of Philosophy she completed and published a journal on Emotional Intelligence among Radiation Therapist. Currently Stami is working clinically as a Radiation Therapist as well as undertaking various research work contributing to the improvement of patient outcomes. 

Sofia Russo
Sofia Russo gained extensive administrative support experience following several years working for the NHS in London, including Risk Management, Health and Safety, Clinical Governance, Corporate and Legal Affairs and Research and Development. Since returning from England, she has continued her interest in the acute care setting providing assistance to the Nursing Research team and enjoys collaborating with researchers with their projects including creating Survey Monkey surveys and data extraction.