Staff Profile – Annette Peart
Annette is a Research Fellow who works within the Telephone and Online Services (TOLs) team to drive evidence-based translational research that transforms policy and practice.
Turning Point consists of a diverse team that is committed to removing stigma around drug and alcohol addiction and providing support for those that need it. We like to profile the great work that our teams do, and give people insights into what it’s like to work in the addiction treatment, training, and research sector. This is Annette’s story.
Watching the ground-breaking 2020 documentary series, Addicted Australia, was what inspired Annette to apply for a research position at Turning Point.
“Seeing that documentary and hearing the participants’ stories was so powerful and I thought this would be a great place to make a difference”, says Annette.
The field of addiction is a “completely new area” for Annette and prior to starting at Turning Point she worked as an occupational therapist to assist those who had physical injuries going through rehabilitation.
What does Annette do?
Annette works on a variety of research projects for our Telephone and Online Services, where she develops research ideas and looks at opportunities to showcase the positive impact Turning Point has on people’s lives.
“Turning Point does a lot of amazing things particularly in the telephone and online services and part of my role is turning that good work into research,” says Annette.
One of Annette’s biggest projects to date is an Alcohol and Drug Foundation funded research program which aims to generate evidence of the role of group-based education and support for family members, including an online peer support program in collaboration with Self Help Addiction Resource Centre.
“Getting that grant within the first couple of months was good to get things rolling quickly, it will allow us to evaluate the feasibility of doing this online support group and possibly even scaling it up to be something that can be done nationwide.”
The project also aims to evaluate participant feedback data for the Breakthough Program and interview participants, which will inform the development and expansion of the program.
Other day-to-day activities for Annette include designing research projects, collecting and analysing data, writing up research and proposals, scoping opportunities to embed some research processes in Turning Point’s services, and looking at academic journals to discover what research is emerging.
“I’m just so happy to be working where there are a lot of opportunities to grow and develop that research role within the TOLs service and the possibilities are endless,” says Annette.
Since starting at Turning Point earlier this year, Annette has gained an enormous amount of knowledge about addiction, but says she still has a “lot to learn as it is so multifaceted”.
For Annette, watching Addicted Australia really “dispelled a lot of myths and put livelihoods and families at the forefront of addiction and illustrated the impact of addiction on people’s lives and the overwhelming nature of addiction on their everyday activities.”
Annette hopes that future projects will involve measuring the impact of Turning Point’s services on addiction recovery.
What is the culture like at Turning Point?
Annette is fond of the collaborative environment within Turning Point and is grateful to be surrounded by such supportive and passionate peers.
She believes that through collaborating with others, the possibilities for research ideas are endless and she loves the overlay of research and service delivery.
“Sitting in such a collaborative environment enables people delivering the Telephone and Online Services to come in and talk to me about possibilities of evaluating or researching particular aspects of the service.”
Annette thoroughly believes that Turning Point encompasses a supportive environment where there are endless opportunities to learn both personally and professionally.
“Even though I’ve only been here for a few months I think there is a really supportive environment to enable me to make progress as a researcher.”
Interested in working with Turning Point?
As someone who had little knowledge of addiction prior to working at Turning Point, Annette recommends looking at your transferable skills and how they could be put to use at Turning Point.
What has helped her succeed in her role is collaborating with others and seeking advice and support from experts in the field.
“You have to come in with a mindset of working with other people and listening to the expertise of people who have been here and have that understanding of addiction,” says Annette.
In particular, Annette stresses the need to be more mindful of people who are experiencing addiction, and remember that people do not choose to become addicted.
If you haven’t already, Annette recommends watching Addicted Australia on SBS On Demand as it explores what the reality of addiction is like and dispels any myths and stereotypes surrounding addiction.