[Sheree Bekker] In the lead up to the 13th Australasian Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Conference, I invited keynote speaker Dr Ioni Lewis to answer a few questions for our blog.
Dr Ioni Lewis has 15 years’ experience in road safety and traffic psychology research. She is based at the Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) where she is currently a Senior Research Fellow. Ioni’s expertise is in the development and evaluation of road safety advertising messages, drawing upon social psychological perspectives. She has led the development of an innovative conceptual framework, The Step approach to Message Design and Testing (SatMDT) which she has applied in relation to the development and evaluation of road safety campaigns addressing high risk behaviours. Ioni has an extensive publication record comprising peer-reviewed journals, peer-reviewed full papers and abstracts for conferences, as well as reports for Government and Industry. Ioni has received invitations to present at international and national forums. In 2015, she was invited to the USA to consult on the development and evaluation of a large-scale National Driver Safety Education Campaign funded by the National Safety Council. In 2014, she was invited to present on health communications for injury prevention at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia. Ioni was the developer and Chair of the Organising Committee for the inaugural Australasian Symposium of Health Communication, Advertising and Marketing (Health CAM) in 2014. The Symposium, the only one of its kind to be dedicated to Health Communications in Australasia, featured international and national experts as guest speakers. Ioni was also Chair of the Scientific Committee of the 2015 Australasian Road Safety Conference (ARSC).
1. Tell us about your training and role in injury prevention
I have been working in the field of injury prevention research, and specifically in the area of road safety and traffic psychology, since 2002 when I commenced my Honours at the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Currently, I am a Senior Research Fellow at CARRS-Q. My background (undergraduate and Honours) is in Psychology with my PhD in Social Psychology/Traffic Psychology.
2. What is your research focused on, and what do you see as the issues currently facing injury prevention?
In my research, I develop and evaluate injury prevention messaging for public education campaigns. Much of my work has been in the area of road safety advertising; however, I have been involved in the development of campaigns addressing injury prevention issues more broadly (e.g., baby slings). The changing communication landscape (towards more online and digital communications) has meant that, potentially more so than ever, there is a crucial need to ensure not only that ‘we get the message content right’ but that we also ‘get the communication channel/medium right”.
3. How does your research Take Action?
I think that my area of research is very much about ‘taking action’. Public education and communication campaigns focused on achieving social and behaviour change play an important role in helping to improve the quality and longevity of individuals’ lives.
4. What can emerging researchers learn from you?
As a researcher, I am a strong advocate for the value of theory in informing what we do and thus evidence-based practice. When our research is guided by theory, we gain greater insights into why a particular message approach did or did not work as intended.
5. Have you ever been to Ballarat/Australia and have a great story to tell? Or, what are you looking forward to most about your upcoming trip to Ballarat/Australia?
I have only visited Ballarat once in my life so I am keen to return – am very much looking forward to attending the AIPN conference in Ballarat!