Researcher

Professor Afaf Girgis

My Expertise

Measurement of health related behaviours, especially in relation to well-being and supportive care of cancer patients and caregivers; Modification of the psychosocial outcomes of people affected by cancer, including survivors and their families and caregivers; Modification of the behaviour of health care providers, including through communication skills training; Evaluation of the quality of medical care, including efficient systems to support adoption of evidence based practice; Promoting needs-based palliative care; Translation of research into policy and practice.

Keywords

Field of Research (FoR)

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Biography

Professor Afaf Girgis AM, is Director of the Psycho-oncology Research Group and a Chief Investigator in the Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation (CONCERT), Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical School, UNSW. She also holds a number of Conjoint Professor appointments (University of Western Sydney, University of Queensland, Griffith University and the BC Cancer Agency Socio-behavioural...view more

Professor Afaf Girgis AM, is Director of the Psycho-oncology Research Group and a Chief Investigator in the Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation (CONCERT), Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, South Western Sydney Clinical School, UNSW. She also holds a number of Conjoint Professor appointments (University of Western Sydney, University of Queensland, Griffith University and the BC Cancer Agency Socio-behavioural Research Centre).

Prof Girgis has worked for over 27 years as a Behavioural Scientist in cancer control and psycho-oncology. She has extensively researched and published in areas including prevention and early detection of cancer, development and psychometric testing of measures to assess cancer patients’, caregivers’ and health care professionals’ unmet needs, developed and evaluated strategies for improving psychosocial outcomes in clinical practice using rigorous research designs, and undertaken research and teaching in communication skills of health professionals. Her national and international standing in behavioural science and psycho-oncology was acknowledged in 2012 with the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) Inaugural Psycho-oncology Award, in 2015 with the Lady Mary Fairfax Distinguished Researcher Award, and in 2017, with 4 distinguished awards: South West Sydney Research Hub annual prize, UNSW in the South West Distinguished Research Prize, the South Western Sydney Local Health District Translational Research Award, and the South Western Sydney Local Health District Board Award. Her collaborative research was also awarded the Best of ASCO Abstract Award in 2017; Best Poster Award, Cancer Nurses Society of Australia (CNSA) Annual Congress 2016; Liverpool Catholic Club Best Community Paper prize in 2017, and Paper of the Year in both 2013 and 2014 - Health Services and Epidemiological, South Western Sydney Clinical School, UNSW Medicine.  Her significant service to medicine, and to medical education, in the field of cancer control and psycho-oncology was recognised when she was made a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in 2019.

 Broad research interests include:

1)  Measurement of health related behaviours, especially in relation to well-being and supportive care of cancer patients and caregivers.

2)  Modification of the psychosocial outcomes of people affected by cancer, including survivors and their families and caregivers.

3) Research with people of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

4)  Modification of the behaviour of health care providers. 

5)  Evaluation of the quality of medical care, including efficient systems to support adoption of evidence based practice.

6)  Translation of research into policy and practice.

 


My Grants

GRANTS 2014+

Investigators

Title

Funding source

Years Funded

Funds Awarded/year

Total funds awarded (Au$)

Durcinoska I, Girgis A, Delaney GP

Redressing equity in healthcare: Utilising patient reported outcomes to support Chinese women with breast cancer

Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research

2019

$24,000

$24,000

Garvey G, Cunningham J, Whop L, Brotherton J, Girgis A, Olver I, Howard K, Griffiths K, Baxi S

Targeted Approaches to Improve Cancer Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

ARC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE)

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

2023

 

$2,499,981

Connor SJ, Ng W, Girgis A, O’Brien C, Toong C, Jensen S, Lee S, O’Neill S, Makris A, Kelleher A, Shackel N, Levy M, Roberts T, Bokey L, Foo H, Sechi A, Dunning A, Andrews J, Turner I, Frankum B, Lemberg D, Begun J, El Omar E

Gut and the Microbiome: Role in Health and Disease (Academic Unit)

South Western Sydney Local Health District: Academic Units Enhancement Grant

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

$210,000

$210,000

$210,000

$210,000

$210,000

$1,050,000

Sansom-Daly UM, Wiener L, Darlington A-S, Poort H, Rosenberg A, Weaver M, Mack J, Haase J, Phillips-Salimi C, Wernli K, Wakefield CE, Girgis A

Understanding and addressing the training needs of clinicians to improve end-of-life care for adolescents and young adults with cancer worldwide

Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Global Accord

 

(2018 AYA Global Accord Psycho-Oncology Research Acceleration Grant)

2018

2019

2020

(18 months)

$59,999

$59,999

Smith A, Girgis A, Mancuso P, Sidhom M, Maxwell T, Wong K, Bokey L, Haghigi K,

Berry M, Ngo D, Chong P

Development and piloting of a Question Prompt List (QPL) to aid informed treatment decision making in men diagnosed with localised prostate cancer

ANZUP Clinical Trials Group: Below the Belt Research Fund

2018

2019

(12 months)

$49,610

$49,610

Girgis A, Churches T, Durcinoska I, Farrow J, Delaney G

Collecting patient-reported measures from patients in their first language, using text, computer-generated speech and voice recognition: The next-generation PROMPT-Care app for mobile phones and tablet computers

South Western Sydney Local Health District and Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research – Innovation Tank Award

2018

2019

(12 months)

$12,000

$12,000

Girgis A, Durcinoska I, Delaney G

PROMPT-Care implementation at Fairfield

South Western Sydney Local Health District

2018

2019

$150,000

$75,000

$225,000

Beatty L, Koczwara B, Butow P, Girgis A, Schofield P, Jurner MJ, Hulbert-Williams N, Coll J, Kaambwa B

Can a web-based psychological intervention for women with advanced breast cancer improve well-being and reduce health care use? A randomised controlled trial

Cancer Council South Australia Beat Cancer Research Project Grant

2018

$75,000

$75,000

Girgis A

Patient Reported Outcome Measures for Personalised Treatment and Care (PROMPT-Care); eHealth supporting patient-centred care

South West Sydney Research Annual Prize

2018

$5,000

$5,000

Kanazaki R, Connor S, Girgis A, Smith B

Addressing variations in care in Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Australia: A multifaceted approach to improve clinician adherence to guidelines

Pfizer Independent Grants for Learning & Change (IGLC)

2018

$91,737

$91,737

Barton M, Jorm L, Delaney G, Holloway L, Girgis A, Pearson S, Chua B, Crowe P, Liauw W, Levi C, Churches T, Vajdic C

CaVa - a platform for research into cancer clinical variation

UNSW Research Infrastructure Scheme 2018

2018

2019

$174,563

$45,863

 

$220,426

Garvey G, Girgis A, Aoun S, Cunningham J, Wakefield C, Shahid S, Smith A

Assessing supportive care needs of Indigenous cancer survivors' caregivers

ARC Indigenous Discovery Grant

 

[Domestic, Government]

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

 

$689,924

Delaney GP & Girgis A (co-CIs), Agar M, Bensoussan A, Knight A, Bray V

ACRF OASIS Centre for Optimal Cancer Survivorship – Capital Works funding

Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF)

 

 

2018

2018

$2,000,000

 

 

Sansom-Daly UM, Wakefield CE, Cohn RJ, Wiener L, Girgis A, Sanson-Fisher R, Patterson P, Anazodo A, Jaffe A, Donovan L, Matigian B, Lindsay T, O’Dwyer C, Maguire F, Drew D

Difficult Discussions: Helping adolescents and young adults to voice their choices at end-of-life

HCF Research Foundation

 

[Domestic, NGO]

2018

2019

2020

$57,687.34

$61,568.79

$63,549.43

$188,745.56

Girgis A

WeCope: Development of an illness self-management intervention for Chinese-Australian people diagnosed with cancer and their primary caregiver

Tour de Cure

 

[Domestic, NGO]

2018

$132,678

$132,678

Koh E-S, Avery S, Delaney G, Girgis A, Knight A

Cancer Specialist Survivorship Assessment Unit– tailored information for targeted shared care

Cancer Institute NSW Innovations in Cancer Control Grant

 

[Domestic, Government]

2017-18

$120,000

 

$120,000

Sousa M, Girgis A, Friedlander M, Hickey M, Peate M (AI: Durcinoska I)

Improving genitourinary and sexual health for women with breast cancer: A nurse-initiated plan of care

Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research Breast Cancer Research Grant

 

[Domestic, Research Institution]

2017

$19,718

$19,718

Connor SJ, Girgis A, Andrews JM, Siegel CA

Controlled trial of a decision aid for ulcerative colitis patients: Enhancing patients’ quality of life,

empowerment, quality of decision making and disease control

Gastroenterological Society of Australia AbbVie IBD Clinical Research Grant

 

[Domestic, NGO]

2016

$75,000

$75,000

Levesque J, Girgis A

Care Assist: A study to inform the development of an online intervention to support male caregiver of women with breast cancer

Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research

 

[Domestic, Research Institution]

2016

$20,000

$20,000

Wakefield CE, Cohn RJ, Girgis A, Butow P, King M, Patterson P, Wallace H, Sansom-Daly U.

 

AIs: McLoone, J.K., Cohen, J., Fardell, J., Donovan, L., Viney, R., Levesque, J., Johnston, K., Anazodo, A.

Development and implementation of real-world, sustainable, interventions to prevent chronic physical and mental health conditions in paediatric cancer survivors and their families

 

[PG16-02]

Cancer Council NSW

 

(plus 20% additional funding support from UNSW)

 

 

[Domestic, NGO]

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

$538,441

$538,921

$539,655

$539,849

$538,028

$2,694,894

Girgis A

PROMPT-Care: Implementation in the Wollondilly Shire

Wollondilly Health Alliance,

2016-2017

$100,000

$100,000

Sansom-Daly UM, Wakefield CE, Cohn RJ, Wiener L, Girgis A, Sanson-Fisher R, Patterson P, Donovan L, Anazodo A, Drew D

Breaking the silence around end-of-life: Pilot testing a new advance care planning guide for adolescents and young adults with cancer

ANZCHOG/ CanTeen Australia

 

 

 

 

[Domestic, NGO]

2015

2016
(12 months)

$29,987

$29,987

$59,974

Girgis A

Evaluation of Breast Cancer Network Australia’s Rural Forums

Breast Cancer Network Australia

[Domestic, NGO]

2015

$40,000

$40,000

Butow P, Andrews G, Girgis A, Kelly B, Hack T, Clayton J, Price M, Beale P, Viney R, Kirsten L

A sustainable and supported clinical pathway for managing anxiety and depression in cancer patients: Developing and evaluating components and testing implementation strategies

Cancer Institute NSW Translational Program Grant

 

 

 

[Domestic, Government]

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

$730,264

$717,465

$724,127

$745,737

$726,398

$3,643,992

Kasparian N, Schofield D, Austin M-P, Winlaw D, Girgis A, Sholler G

Critical illness in children: Can we afford to neglect the psychosocial risks? The impact, acceptability, and cost-effectiveness of routine psychosocial assessment and stepped care for families of infants with heart disease

National Health and Medical Research Council

[Domestic, Government]

 

Application ID: APP1081001

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

$219,004.50

$193,707.60

$198,707.60

$142,482.10

$178,661.60

$932,563

Law E, Girgis A, Levesque J, Elsalah H

The social support experience of colorectal patients and their caregivers within a cancer treatment setting

ACT Health Radiation Oncology Private Practice Fund

 

[Domestic, NGO]

2015

$5,140

$5,140

Levesque J, Girgis A

Illness self-management in Chinese women with breast cancer and their carers: Cultural adaptation of Coping-Together

Dart West Developments Breast Cancer Grant, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research

 

[Domestic, NGO]

2015

$10,000

$10,000

Hudson P, Girgis A, Mitchell G, Philip J, Parker D, Currow D, Liew D, Thomas T

Family meetings for hospitalized palliative care patients: Benefits and resource implications

Victorian Cancer Agency

[Domestic, Government]

2015

2016

2017

 

$190,000

$190,000

$70,000

$450,000

Shaw T, Sanson-Fisher R, Dadich A, Girgis A, Braithwaite J

Development of an implementation science community of practice and education program

Cancer Institute NSW (Implementation Group Community of Practice grant)

[Domestic, Government]

2014

$140,011

 

$140,011

 

Girgis A

COSA Travel Grant

Clinical Oncology Society of Australia

 

[Domestic, NGO]

2014

$1,000

$1,000

Girgis A, Delaney G

Patient reported experience collaborative project – Phase 2

Cancer Institute NSW & Bupa Health Foundation

[Domestic, Government]

2014

2015

2016

2017

$150,000

$150,000

$152,961

$150,000

 

$602,961

Barton M, Lee S, Girgis A, Delaney G, Bokey L, Ranson M

Centre for Oncology Education and Research Translation (CONCERT)

Cancer Institute NSW Translational Cancer Research Centre

[Domestic, Government]

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

$1,641,196
per year

Total CINSW $6,499,980

 

PLUS $1,706,000 cash-leveraged (UNSW, UWS, UoW, Ingham) = $8,205,980

Wakefield CE, Cohn RJ, Girgis A, McCarthy M, Grootenhuis M, Sansom-Daly U

A multicentre phase II randomised controlled trial of a parent/carer-targeted intervention to improve quality of life in families of young cancer survivors

Cancer Australia

[Domestic, Government]

2014

2015

2016

 

$166,806.00

$153,585.45

$136,961.20

 

$457,352.65

Knight A, Delaney G, Liaw S-T, Pennock R, Girgis A

 

Fostering integration of general practices with cancer services through improved communication pathways

Cancer Institute NSW Innovation Grant Program - Evidence to Practice Grant

[Domestic, Government]

2014

 

$49,990

 

$49,990


My Qualifications

PhD, BSc(Hons1)


My Awards

2019: Member (AM) of the Order of Australia, awarded for significant service to medicine, and to medical education, in the field of cancer control and psycho-oncology.

2018: Winner, 2018 Australia and New Zealand Urogenital Prostate Cancer Trials Group Travel Fellowship: Rincones O, Smith AB, Sidhom M, Mancuso P, Wong K, Berry M, Forstner D, Bokey L, Girgis A. Robots versus Radiation: Decision support needs of men with localised prostate cancer choosing between robotic prostatectomy and radiotherapy treatment.

2018: Winner, 2018 Australia and New Zealand Urogenital Prostate Cancer Trials Group Best of the Best Nursing/Allied Health: Rincones O, Smith AB, Sidhom M, Mancuso P, Wong K, Berry M, Forstner D, Bokey L, Girgis A. Robots versus Radiation: Decision support needs of men with localised prostate cancer choosing between robotic prostatectomy and radiotherapy treatment.

2018: Winner, 2018 Health Beyond Research and Innovation Showcase e-Poster People’s Choice Award: Gerges M, Levesque JV, Girgis A. What do men want? Preferences for a training intervention for male supporters of women with breast cancer.

2017: South West Sydney Research Hub annual prize (Patient Reported Outcome Measures for Personalised Treatment and Care (PROMPT-Care): eHealth supporting patient-centred care)

2017: Liverpool Catholic Club Best Community Paper prize: Smith AB, Agar M, Delaney G, Descallar J, Dobell-Brown K, Grand M, Aung J, Patel P, Kaadan N, Girgis A. Lower trial participation by culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) cancer patients is largely due to language barriers. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2017;1–9.

2017: Distinguished Research Prize, UNSW in the South West

2017: SWSLHD Translational Research Award, awarded for having the greatest translational impact in the health service

2017: SWSLHD Board Award, selected from all award applicants across all categories

2017: Best of ASCO Abstract Award. Beith J, Thewes B, Turner J, Gilchrist J, Sharpe L, Girgis A, Smith AB, Fardell J, Tesson S, O’Connell R, Asher R, Butow P & members of the Conquer Fear authorship group. Long-term results of a phase II randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a psychological intervention (Conquer Fear) to reduce clinical levels of fear of cancer recurrence in breast, colorectal and melanoma cancer survivors. American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (ASCO). Chicago, Illinois, USA, June 2017.

2016: Best Poster Award: Fok E, Spence D, Girgis A, Anderson J. Impact of rural community information forums on people affected by breast cancer.  Cancer Nurses Society of Australia (CNSA) Annual Congress 2016: Bridging The Gap. Cairns Australia 12-14 May 2016.

2015: Lady Mary Fairfax Distinguished Researcher Award. This Ingham Institute award recognises an individual with a long-standing career in significant research achievements contributing to the South Western Sydney Local Health District’s research output.

2014: Paper of the year: Health Services and Epidemiological, South Western Sydney Clinical School, UNSW Medicine, UNSW. Girgis A, Lambert SD, McElduff P, Bonevski B, Lecathelinais C, Boyes A, Stacey F. Some things change, some things stay the same: A longitudinal analysis of cancer caregivers' unmet supportive care needs. Psycho-Oncology, 2013, 22(7), 1557-1564.

2013: Paper of the year: Health Services and Epidemiological, South Western Sydney Clinical School, UNSW Medicine, UNSW. Lambert SD, Jones B, Girgis A, Lecathelinais C. Distressed partners and caregivers do not recover easily: Adjustment trajectories among partners and caregivers of cancer survivors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2012, 44(2), 225-235. doi:10.1007/s12160-012-9385-2.

2012: Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) Inaugural Psycho-oncology Award. Australia has a proud history of excellence in psycho-oncology care and research. COSA (the peak cancer organisation in Australia) along with the Australian Psycho-Oncology Group (OZPOS) and the Psycho-Oncology Cooperative Research Group (PoCoG) established this award in 2012, to recognise the highest level of contribution to psycho-oncology from amongst the membership of COSA, OZPOS and PoCoG.

2007: Best Poster Award: ISOQOL Conference on Patient Reported Outcomes in Clinical Practice. Budapest, Hungary. Girgis A, Boyes A.  Proactive routine monitoring and intervention to reduce the psychosocial impact of cancer therapy.

2004: Newcastle Conference Ambassador Programme Appreciation Award, The University of Newcastle and Newcastle City Council

2004: National Heart Foundation Rudolf Gerstl Research Award

1986: Commonwealth Post-graduate Research Scholarship

1985: Australian Psychological Society Prize for Highest Pass in Psychology IV (Honours)

 


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

Prof Girgis is committed to training and mentoring junior researchers and has successfully supervised 27 research higher degree students and fellowships to date. Early to mid-career researchers whom Prof Girgis has mentored have successfully attained Post-Doctoral or Career Development Fellowships, with some now leading their own successful research programs. In addition to early career researchers, she currently mentors 3 clinician researchers.

  • Measurement of health-related behaviours, especially in relation to well-being and supportive care of cancer patients and caregivers.
  • Modification of the psychosocial outcomes of people affected by cancer, including survivors and their families and caregivers.
  • Research with people of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds.
  • Evaluation of the quality of medical care, including efficient systems to support adoption of evidence-based practice.
  • Promoting needs-based care, informed by patient-reported outcomes.
  • Translation of research into policy and practice.

Currently supervising

Andrew Kim, PhD student: Controlled trial of a decision aid for ulcerative colitis patients: Enhancing patients’ quality of life, empowerment, quality of decision making and disease control

Ria Kanazaki, PhD student: Development of clinical decision support tools to address variations in inflammatory bowel disease care

Martha Gerges, Research Masters student: Exploring health literacy of Arabic immigrants affected by cancer

Verena Wu, Research Masters student: Developing a culturally appropriate self-management resource for Chinese-Australian cancer patients (WeCope)

Anita Yutong Niu, ILP student (co-supervising): A cross-sectional study of knowledge and attitudes regarding clinical trial participation among cancer patients from under-represented populations

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Location

Level 2, Ingham Institute Building, 1 Campbell St, Liverpool, NSW

Contact

+61 (0)412 142841
+61 (0)2 9602 3221

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