1. First, list your current professional title. Second, describe your background, experience, and research as it relates to Quality-of-life studies. Feel free to describe this in detail.
I am currently Associate Professor at the Cairnmillar Institute in Melbourne Australia. I was trained as a psychologist however, my research background is very interdisciplinary, and I have had great joy in collaborating with researchers from health economics, sociology, medicine, public health, cultural studies and anthropology. I previously worked at the Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, collaborating with a team of researchers to develop one of the first vision-related utility measures (VisQoL). I also worked for the Key Centre for Women’s Health (University of Melbourne) and Behavioural Studies, School of Political and Social Inquiry, at Monash University. In regard to quality-of-life studies, my research area has been in health-related quality of life (psychometrics and scale development, chronic illness and disability), as well as subjective wellbeing in diverse populations, particularly minority groups and marginalised populations. More recently, I have been interested in looking at migrant and refugee populations, experiences of discrimination, including racial and cultural microaggressions, and the impact on wellbeing, psychological distress and identity.
2. What initially attracted you to the field of quality-of-life studies?
I was introduced to the field of quality-of-life studies by my amazing supervisor, Professor Robert (Bob) Cummins, who not only inspired me as a researcher, but has been a supportive mentor over many years. I had the honour and luck of working with him on the early stages of the validation of the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI), and it has been wonderful to observe the impact it has had on the field, the translation of the instrument into many languages and widespread use globally. I have been particularly interested in our various conceptualisations of what we mean by ‘quality of life’ and the different approaches to operationalising this concept across and within disciplines, as well as across cultures.
3. What are some areas of quality-of-life studies you feel are lacking attention? Any advice for future QoL researchers?
I am very passionate about exploring quality of life among those who, for various reasons, may have had less of a voice in terms of driving research priorities and policy agendas. I would like to see more research in regards to intercultural relationships, conflict, racism and discrimination and how these experiences impact life quality and individual subjective wellbeing.
4. How long have you been a member of ISQOLS? Why did you choose to be a member of ISQOLS? How has your involvement in ISQOLS impacted your career/research/advancement in your knowledge of QoL studies?
My first ever ISQOLS conference was as a young PhD student in Girona in 2000, which was also my very first international conference. I remember being asked last minute by my supervisor to Chair a session on his behalf that he was initially scheduled to chair, and how daunting that was initially. I found myself, a young PhD student at my first international conference, chairing a session with researchers who had already made such valuable contributions to the field, and who were, until then, just familiar names I was regularly citing in my work. But it was a great experience. People at the conference were warm and supportive, really encouraging of junior academics, and I have made lifelong connections from that conference. Over the next two decades, I attended several ISQOLS conferences intermittently whenever I had funding to do so and loved being reunited with familiar friendly faces each time. And so, even though I have attended other conferences within my discipline, I found myself always returning to ISQOLS. It sets a different standard in terms of genuine interdisciplinary openness and collegiality, and proactively engaging with researchers from all around the globe. I have found the ISQOLs conferences invaluable in terms of being able to learn and be inspired by work from outside my own discipline and region.
5. Feel free to include any other important comments or things you'd like to share with the ISQOLS community.
Thanks to the organising committee for their commitment to facilitating the interdisciplinary and international collegiality, even during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. And also for choosing a wonderful variety of exciting destinations for ISQOLS conferences – I would be lying if I said it wasn’t one of the drawcards for attendance. Perhaps another conference in the Southern hemisphere sometime soon (Australia? South America?). Either way, looking forward to being able to attend an in-person conference post-pandemic.
RoseAnne can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS)