Robin Hill Health | Deborah Turnbull
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Deborah Turnbull

Deborah Turnbull holds the Chair in Psychology at the University of Adelaide. She has been active in health and educational services research and consultancy since 1988. Her primary disciplinary background is in Public Health and Applied Psychology and she has published extensively in maternity care, breast and bowel cancer screening, primary care mental health and disease management. She has worked in a range of university and health services settings in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Deborah has national and international networks through key roles such as immediate past Chair of the Heads of Schools and Departments of Psychology Association and Associate Dean (International), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide.

Recent Achievements

As immediate past Head of School she was responsible for numerous developments, such as the consolidation of relationships with the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. During her term, the School introduced four new programs, including postgraduate programs in health psychology and occupational mental health, the later in partnership with the Department of Defence and the Centre for Military and Veteran’s Health, Adelaide node.

Other achievements include the extension of the School’s existing clinic and the introduction of two new clinics in collaboration with Families SA and the Department of Health and Ageing. She was also responsible for overseeing the successful re-accreditation of the School for a further 5- years as well as the introduction of a new curriculum in line with international standards.


BA (Hons), The University of Newcastle, NSW
Master of Psychology (Clinical), The University of Newcastle, NSW
PhD, The University of Sydney

Professional Organisations

Public Health Association of Australia Inc
Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand
Australian Psychological Society

Boards and Councils

Deborah has a range of experience. For example, between 2005 and 2008, she was a member of the Secondary Schools Assessment Board of South Australia. Between 2005 and 2009, she served as Associate Editor of the Australian Psychologist. She is currently a member of the Council of Kathleen Lumley College Incorporated and is a member of the Research Advisory Board, Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, The Australian National University.

Advisory and Research Committees

Deborah currently serves on the NSW Cancer Institute, Cancer Research Advisory Committee. Previous service has included that for the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the National Institute of Clinical Studies and state and federal departments of health, with this later work concentrating on bowel cancer screening implementation and evaluation.

Recent Committees and Governance Roles

Deborah has recently been appointed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President (Academic) to convene the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Committee. She serves as the representative of the Pro Vice Chancellor (International) on the Assessment Monitoring Committee and is also a member of the University’s Quality Enhancement Committee. She has served as the University representative on the Enterprising Bargaining Team and has been active in international development via the University of Adelaide Ngee Ann Singapore Campus Advisory Committee. She has made major contributions as the Co-convenor of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical School admissions process as well as convenor of the Special Considerations Committee for the Adelaide to Outback GP Training Scheme.


Deborah has produced reports for a broad range of government and industry sponsors. Key examples are as follows:

Clinical Research and Pharmacovigilance

Project: Disease Management for Hypertension
Sponsors: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Aventis Pharma, Bayer Australia Ltd, Pfizer Pty Ltd

Project: Asthma Integrated Care Program
Sponsors: Department Of Health and Ageing, The Pharmaceutical Alliance, Central Bayside Division of General Practice

Higher Education Services

Project: Evaluation of processes for recognition of overseas trained dentists
Sponsor: Australian Dental Council

Project: Evaluation of the RACGP Training Program. National Selection Process and Outcomes
Sponsor: The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners

Evaluation of Health Services

Project: Evaluation of the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care, Northern Wellbeing Project
Sponsors: Adelaide Northern Division of General Practice, Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing

Project: Evaluation of Midwifery Group Practice
Sponsor: Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide

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