Dr Julia Lappin steps into new role as Children and Adolescent Wellbeing sub-theme co-lead

Dr Julia Lappin has joined the UNSW Medicine Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction Theme and SPHERE Clinical Academic Group (CAG) as co-lead of the Children and Adolescent Wellbeing sub-theme. Dr Lappin is taking on the role while Associate Professor Nadine Kasparian is in the US on a 2018-19 Harkness Fellowship in Health Care Policy and Practice. 

Here, Dr Lappin shares some information about her work and new role in the Theme and CAG.

image - Dr Julia Lappin steps into new role as Children and Adolescent Wellbeing sub-theme co-lead

Name: Dr Julia Lappin

Position/s: Senior Lecturer, School of Psychiatry and National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney
Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Lead, Bondi Junction early Psychosis Program, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District

Theme and CAG position: Children and Adolescent Wellbeing sub-theme co-lead

Can you please share some information about your own work and how it fits within the Children and Adolescent Wellbeing sub-theme?

I am a Consultant Psychiatrist in South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD), working as Clinical Lead for the Bondi Junction Early Psychosis Program. There, I work as part of a multi-disciplinary team providing holistic care for youth who experience severe mental health issues. Key to my work is the clinical-academic interface: our clinical practice is informed by evidence-based research: early intervention, promotion of physical healthcare in recognition of the mortality gap faced by individuals with severe mental illness, and provision of pharmacological, psychological and vocational care to improve clinical and social outcomes. We collaborate closely with headspace (who provide holistic care to 12 to 25 year-olds with mild to moderate mental health issues) and with community sector youth organisations and youth mental health early intervention services nationally. 

My research focuses on improving outcomes in severe mental illness, particularly psychotic illnesses. Particular interests are improving physical health outcomes in individuals with mental illness, and I am part of the Keeping Body In Mind (KBIM) team which has rolled out physical healthcare initiatives across mental health services within SESLHD under the leadership of A/Prof Jackie Curtis (SESLHD & School of Psychiatry, UNSW). 

I collaborate with colleagues at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre on substance use and mental health comorbidity, including methamphetamine psychosis. I have a strong interest in knowledge translation and the embedding of research into routine clinical practice, and I am ideally placed to do so through my dual roles as a researcher and a clinician. I am actively involved in the SPHERE Knowledge Translation Strategy, directed by Professor Katherine Boydell. 

I am interested in supporting clinicians who wish to engage in research, particularly projects with a focus on improving clinical outcomes. I am involved in the supervision of clinicians completing higher degrees, as well as medical students, postgraduate students and others undertaking clinically-relevant research projects. 


The Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction Theme and CAG consists of four sub-themes and two priority areas:
•    Sub-theme: Healthy Ageing
•    Sub-theme: Children and Adolescent Wellbeing
•    Sub-theme: Complex and Difficult to Treat Diseases
•    Sub-theme: Brain Sciences and Translational Neuroscience
•    Priority area: Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing
•    Priority area: Innovations in Health Technology (Living Lab)

The key areas of focus for the Children and Adolescent Wellbeing sub-theme are:

•    Suicide prevention
•    Prevention, identification and treatment of depression and anxiety
•    Substance use and abuse
•    Psychobiological risk and resilience in response to early adversity
•    Mental health literacy in children and adolescents

image - Dr Julia Lappin steps into new role as Children and Adolescent Wellbeing sub-theme co-lead