Experts in hearing technology and highly specialised speech therapy

Research Advisory Committee

Hear and Say’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) consists of researchers and clinicians both internal and external to Hear and Say, with expertise in the areas of hearing loss and speech/language development.

The committee advises on the ethical and design aspects of proposed research projects and acts as gatekeeper to grant permission for researchers to conduct studies through Hear and Say.

Whilst the committee is not a registered National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC), it strictly adheres to standards outlined in the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (Updated May 2018).

Child In A Speech Therapy Lesson
Img Hope At Group Social Skills Program

Approval to undertake research is determined by the ethical aspects of submitted protocol, timeframes, and research design. Other important considerations for research approval include whether the proposed research:

  • Aligns with Hear and Say’s values, vision, and strategy
  • Involves an appropriate selection from the population
  • Impacts on children, parents, staff
  • Overlaps with other projects in progress
  • Is of benefit to Hear and Say
  • Has financial implications for Hear and Say

Collaboration opportunity

Work with Hear and Say to conduct research or to recruit participants for your study.

Get in touch

Prof Robert Cowan


Robert is the Chief Executive Officer and a Director of HEARing Cooperative Research Centre and HEARing CRC Limited. He has raised over $140 million in research funding and has published over 180 papers in the fields of audiology, cochlear implants and biomedical management. Robert holds several Australian and international technology patents and trademarks in these fields. In 2003, he was named Professional of the Year by Professions Australia. Robert is a professorial research fellow at The University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University. He holds a PhD (Melbourne), MBA (TechMgt), and graduate diplomas in audiology, technology management and health economics, as well as a BSc(Hons) in Physiology (Queen’s). He is also a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Jane Black

Jane has a longstanding career in clinical management of paediatric disorders. She has played a key role in the development of Hear and Say from inception to present day. Jane has a proven record of executive leadership, having worked for both for-profit and not-for-profit organisations. She is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Hospital Foundation and serves on the Finance Audit and Risk Management Committee. Jane joined the Hear and Say Board in November, 1995, chaired the Board from 1996 to 2008 and was appointed Deputy Chair in May, 2010.

Dr Shani Dettman

Shani is currently a senior lecturer at the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology at The University of Melbourne. She is well known for her work demonstrating the efficacy of cochlear implants for infants younger than 12 months. Shani has authored and co-authored 51 journal articles, five book chapters, and over 200 conference papers. In 2005, she completed her PhD at The University of Melbourne by examining the relationship between the primary caregivers’ linguistic, semantic and prosodic input to the child and the child’s long-term communication outcomes. Shani was a lead researcher in past HEARing Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) and on the HEARing CRC extensions, “Seeds of language development” and “Therapies to improve language and literacy in hearing-impaired children”.

Dr Hannah Carter

Hannah is a health economist at the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation, based at the Queensland University of Technology. Her background is in quantitative economics and her doctoral thesis explored the productivity related costs associated with premature mortality. She has previously worked on economic evaluations of large randomised controlled trials for cancer and cardiovascular disease. In her current role, she has developed specialist expertise in health services research and provides expert advice and guidance on research project design and methodology. A key focus of Hannah’s research is the development of models to explore complex health care problems and in turn provide meaningful results to inform real world decision making. She has extensive experience in conducing economic evaluations of health care interventions, in particular cost-effectiveness analysis, and her work has been widely published in leading clinical and public health journals.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey is a certified practicing Speech Pathologist and certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist. Tracey obtained an honours degree in Speech and Hearing Therapy from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2009. In South Africa Tracey worked in a paediatric state hospital, a specialized pre-school communication centre for children with hearing loss and worked as a part time clinical audiology tutor before moving to Australia in 2016 and joining Hear and Say. Tracey is a Team Leader in the Listening and Spoken Language team and has a special interest in supporting children and adults with their auditory learning post cochlear implantation.

Dr Kieran Flanagan

Kieran is a certified practicing speech pathologist with over 10 years’ clinical and research experience. He is a senior lecturer in speech pathology at The Australian Catholic University and an honorary research fellow at the Mater Research Institute. Kieran’s research has focused on language and its disorders, with a particular interest in psycholinguistic approaches. His research projects have included the study of prelinguistic skills in preterm infants through to language changes and intervention in Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr Shaeez Usman Abdulla

Shaeez’s research interests focus on the application of technology in the biomedical and medical field, and he has published 15 scientific communications covering the topics of medical imaging, computer vision, microbiology, audiology and instrumentation. He has significant experience as a university academic spanning almost a decade, delivering over 20 tertiary courses, both theory and practical, in the faculties of engineering, science, and medicine. Shaeez holds graduate and postgraduate degrees in electronics and instrumentation engineering and completed his doctoral studies at the Centre for Advanced Imaging, University of Queensland, by developing optimal imaging protocols for the Ultra-High Field Magnetic Resonance (MRI) human scanner.

Emma Rushbrooke

Emma is an audiologist and listening and spoken language specialist (certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist), specialising in implantable hearing technology and listening and spoken language therapy. Emma joined Hear and Say in March 2000 as an audiologist, then Clinical Manager from 2000 to 2006, before transitioning to her current role of Clinical Director in 2007. Emma provides oversight for the clinical programs at Hear and Say, including Listening and Spoken Language Therapy, Audiology, the Australian Microtia and Atresia Support Centre, WorldWide Training and Education, Group Social Skills programs and Research. Emma is passionate about providing the best possible family-centric support and delivering programs and services underpinned by evidence-based clinical practice and research.

Get the latest updates...

Keep up-to-date with our latest news, information, events and more.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Online learning

From tinnitus, to cytomegalovirus, to teaching kids with hearing loss – further your knowledge with our on demand webinars.

2021-22 Annual Report

Read about the 300 babies born with hearing loss in Australia each year, and how Hear and Say continued to change lives this year.

Celebrating powerful communicators

Four courageous children and clients of Hear and Say shared their stories at the inaugural Power of Speech event.

Workplace giving

“The program gives our staff a sense of pride in the company and for the work they do at Sci-Fleet." – Allison Scifleet, Guest Experience Manager, Sci-Fleet Motors.

Spotlight on single-sided deafness

“This research project is very exciting because it helps to show that children who receive a cochlear implant for single-sided deafness saw significant improvements in their day-to-day hearing abilities, which are maintained over time."

Cycling and hearing loss: staying safe on the roads

“People kept mentioning to me that I was missing parts of conversations, and in crowded environments I was finding it very difficult to hear and engage with others."

Share This

Select your desired option below to share a direct link to this page.
Your friends or family will thank you later.