Professor Deborah Turnbull

Professor Deborah Turnbull
 Position Chair in Psychology
 Org Unit Psychology
 Telephone +61 8 8313 1229
 Location Floor/Room 7 21 ,  Hughes ,   North Terrace
  • Biography/ Background

    Overview of Research Achievements

    Deborah Turnbull was awarded the Chair in Psychology at the University of Adelaide in 2005 and has been researching in the area of health and clinical psychology for over 20 years. Her major contributions have been in relation to breast and colorectal cancer screening and maternity care; her work has influenced the development of services in Australia and the UK. Professor Turnbull has published widely during her career. Her work has been published in high quality outlets including The Lancet, International Journal of Behavioral Medicine and Medical Screening. Her research group regularly presents at the peak international meetings relevant to her field, including the International Congress of Behavioral Medicine.

    Collaborations and invitations

    Professor Turnbull has a number of collaborations. Much of her group's recent NHMRC funded work is conducted via collaboration with the Cancer Council of South Australia, Flinders University and CSIRO. She also has active collaborations with The University of Sydney and The University of Southampton. Professor Turnbull is invited to provide commentary on numerous issues associated with health services.


    Professor Turnbull was a Chief Investigator awarded a ‘10 of the Best Award' for the NHMRC grant examining attitudes affecting participation in bowel cancer screening (#187644). She has received a Flagship Fellowship from CSIRO Preventative Health Flagship to develop a research plan for investigating the psychological issues associated with novel methods of bowel cancer screening. Her work in maternity care development has been recognised by the Victoria University in New Zealand who awarded her an Invited Visiting Fellowship to disseminate the research from her Lancet publication about midwife managed care.

    Reviewing responsibilities

    Professor Turnbull is invited to review on a wide range of topics relevant to psychology and health for journals such as the British Journal of Obstetrics and the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is a regular reviewer for Obesity Research and Clinical Practice and has been an Associate Editor for Australian Psychologist.

    Research Boards and Advisory Panels

    Professor Turnbull is the Chair of the Research Advisory Board, Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, The Australian National University. She is a member of the NSW Cancer Institute, Cancer Research Advisory Committee and the Freemasons' Foundation Centre for Men's Health Management Committee. In 2013 she acted as an international observer for the Canadian Institutes of Health grant review process. Professor Turnbull has contributed to the NHMRC project grants process over an extended period of time. She has served as a Member of the Public Health Grants review panel; as Chair of the Public Health Grants review panel and Selector for the process. During 2012 and 2013, she has acted as the University of Adelaide representative for the Thinkers in Residence program, Martin Seligman Residency, Office of the South Australian Premier and Cabinet.

    National Standing

    Professor Turnbull's has served on the National Cancer Control Initiative as well as the Communication and Education Task Group of the Commonwealth Bowel Screening Pilot. She has been a member of the National Institute of Clinical Studies Hospital Advisory Group and in this role, co-authored an invited paper in the Medical Journal of Australia about organisational change for evidence based practice. She has provided consultancy for the Australian Dental Council on the topic of international workforce and the Department of Human Services, Victoria for the Maternity Services Enhancement Strategy. She is a member of the International Advisory Committee for KDU College, Penang.

    State and Local Bodies

    Professor Turnbull chairs the Adelaide Colorectal Cancer Screening Collaborative, which is underpinned by a memorandum of understanding between the three South Australian universities. She served for four years on the South Australian Education and Health Promotion Committee of the Heart Foundation. In 2003 she served on the State Implementation Committee for the South Australian pilot that preceded the national bowel cancer screening roll out. She has also been a member of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative State Administrative Body and has been a member of the Midwifery Group Practice Evaluation Group of the Women's and Children's Hospital. This group has published three papers in national and international journals which are among the first to report on midwifery group practice as it is practically implemented in Australia.

    Community Engagement

    Professor Turnbull is a current member of the Kathleen Lumley College Council. She chairs the University's Gender Equity and Diversity Committee and serves on the Indigenous Education and Engagement Committee. She has chaired for several years, the Special Considerations Subcommittee of the Adelaide to Outback GP Training Program. She is also a Board Member of the Hutt Community Centre in the Adelaide Hills.


  • Qualifications

    • BA (Hons)
    • MPsych(Clin)
    • PhD
  • Teaching Interests

    • Research Methods
    • Cross Cultural Psychology
    • Evidence Based Practice
    • Health Psychology

  • Research Interests

    • Maternity Care
    • Chronic Disease
    • Bowel Cancer Screening
    • Men's Health
    • Rural and Remote Health
    • Primary Health Care
    • Mental Health
  • Research Funding

    • Dodd JM, Turnbull D, McPhee AJ, Wittert G. Project Grant. (2008 - 2011) (519240) National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant. Limiting weight gain in overweight and obese women during pregnancy to improve health outcomes - a randomised trial.
    • Wilson C, Flight I, Turnbull D, Young G, Cole S.  (2010-2012) (593505)  National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant.  Population testing of an internet-based Personalised Decision Support system for colorectal cancer screening.
    • Turnbull D, Wilson C, Flight I, Zajac I. (2012-2013) (1026510)  National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant.  Optimising men’s uptake of FIT screening for bowel cancer: a population based randomised controlled trial.
    • Wilkinson C, Turnbull D, Adelson P.  (2012) Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation A pilot randomised trial of outpatient balloon catheter  priming of the cervix for induction of labour.
    • Wilson C, Flight IHK, Zajac I, Turnbull D, Young G, Olver I. (2012) Cancer Council SA, State Government of South Australia, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. Web based decision supoort for colorectal cancer prevention. 
  • Professional Associations

    • Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand
    • Australian Psychological Association

  • Files

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Entry last updated: Thursday, 9 Aug 2018

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