Sarah White, SFHEA

Dr, PhD, BA (Hons)

  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile


My goal is to enhance clinical care through improved communication between clinicians and consumers. To achieve this, I work to integrate clinical communication teaching and research, using up-to-date teaching methods, conducting research on teaching clinical communication, and using research to create data-driven teaching materials.

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences at Macquarie University. In my research, I use conversation analysis to investigate clinical communication, particularly doctor-patient consultations. To date, I have focussed primarily on surgeon-patient consultations, including co-editing a book titled Communication in Surgical Practice with Prof John Cartmill, published in 2016. I am in the early stages of several new and exciting projects, including work on pain communication, informed consent, and telehealth.

Throughout my research I have been building a database of clinical interactions to support research and teaching sustainability. When participants give consent, video recordings collected for research or teaching are also added to this database of clinical interactions that can be then used for teaching or secondary analysis. There are currently over 150 clinical interactions in the library, including clinician-patient consultations and operating theatre team interactions.

Upon starting my current role, I led the design and development of the professional practice series of units in the Bachelor of Clinical Science. These units focus on supporting students interested in careers in health care to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills across topics such as communication, teamwork, ethics, and health systems. I currently convene and teach the 3000-level unit and work within the Professional Practice Working Group to reflect on and improve the units.

In 2018 I created a Connected Curriculum online module on consutation skills for use in health professions courses such as the Doctor of Medicine. My face-to-face teaching includes incorporation of Conversation Analytic Roleplay Method, for which I am the only Australian affiliate. In 2019 I became a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

Since 2018 I have been the Deputy National Representative for the International Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH) and am a member of their Policy and Practice subcommittee (pEACH). I am currently leading a new podcast project called HealthChat(ter) for pEACH.

In 2020, I joined the editorial board of BJGP Open and will be editing a special issue on telehealth in late 2020.

Across many of these projects, I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students on Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) and research placements. 

Education/Academic qualification

Higher Education, Senior Fellow (SFHEA), Advance HE

Clinical communication, PhD, University of Otago

Linguistics and Spanish and Latin American Studies, BA (Hons), The University of New South Wales

External positions

Editorial Board member, BJGP Open

2020 → …

Deputy National Representative, International Association for Communication in Healthcare (EACH)

2018 → …


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