Meet The Researcher

dr helen correia

Dr Helen Correia

Murdoch University, WA

Let's get started! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
I am an awe-chaser. Whether it’s sitting on the ice on a silent night in Antarctica listening to the sound of penguins, or peering into thousands of years of history on the edge of the Grand Canyon, or staring into reflections in raindrops in my own backyard, I both delight and find peace in moments of awe that give me perspective.
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
One of my collaborators invited me to be part of an MS research project and listening to people’s stories made me want to more deeply understand what we could do to improve the lives of people with MS and the lives of those close to them.
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
I am a clinical psychologist and I often have the opportunity to work with other health professionals and researchers as part of interdisciplinary research teams. There are many exciting developments in different areas, but I think the integration of knowledge from multiple perspectives is helping us to better understand the whole person and the whole experience of MS in ways that can create transformational advances in treatment and support.
Tell us about your current research project...
WeCare MS is about supporting Wellbeing in Carers and people with MS. Caregivers such as family and friends are often key in supporting the care needs of people living with MS, including support to engage in exercise and other health behaviours, yet there is little research. In this research project we are exploring the perspectives of people with MS, caregivers (family and loved ones), and health professionals to help better understand the caregiver experience and the caregiving relationship, and how these can be helpful in supporting health and wellbeing.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
Close relationships are so important in our lives, and what we hear from people with MS is that those relationships can make such a difference to their everyday functioning, and to their overall health and wellbeing. We are hoping that this study will help us to better support caregivers – in their own health and wellbeing, in supporting the health and wellbeing of people with MS, and in building strong and healthy relationships.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
Our research team often conducts research that involves talking with people and hearing their stories. I have such appreciation for people’s willingness to share, in the hope that we all might learn from their experiences. It can also be a challenge at times to know there is so much more we need to do, but I think I am heartened that so many people are working together to make a difference in the lives of people with MS and the lives of their loved ones.
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Helen Correia