Sharon completed her PhD whilst she was employed as a full-time mental health practitioner and conducted her research into smoking as a cultural behaviour in inpatient and associated institutionalised mental health settings. This has led to multiple publications, book chapters and invitations to be part of international efforts to create smoke free environments for patients and staff in mental health units throughout Australia, NZ and the UK. Prior to academia, Sharon had been a clinician for 23years, 10 of those years in Aged Care and 13 years in mental health services.
Sharon commenced employment with Flinders University, her first role being lead writer of the self-management brief for the National Chronic Disease Strategy. Since then she has been heavily involved in leading multiple research project in the field of CCSM, written many publications and contributed to many national guidelines and initiatives by others in this field. She has successfully led major national research projects in the field since that time.
Across all of her endeavours, Sharon has embedded health consumer perspectives, advocating strongly for addressing this balance at local, state and national levels across multiple community initiatives and committees in which she is involved. She has pioneered important innovations using peer support. Her associated area of expertise is the role of carers of people with chronic conditions. In 2007, she won the Australasian award for exceptional contribution by an individual to mental health across Australia and New Zealand, for her service development work with consumers and carers in mental health services and her research on smoking and mental illness. Her nomination for this award came from service consumers, a significant achievement given the many issues for consumers of these services.