Consumer Expectations & Experiences of the Health Care System – An International Study
The Project Team

The CONVERSATIONS project is being led by the University of South Australia, in partnership with Flinders University. The members of the project team are listed below.

Dr Matthew Leach

Mrs Tamara Agnew

Project Lead

Dr Matthew Leach is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of South Australia. He has made a significant contribution to the field of nursing, complementary medicine and integrative health care (IHC) over the past decade, publishing more than 90 journal articles, 4 book chapters and a sole-authored textbook. Dr Leach is also a member of several journal editorial boards and government committees, and has been awarded almost $1 million in competitive research grant funding. As a researcher, Dr Leach endeavours to improve the quality of life of health consumers by developing new models of health care, building the evidence-base for health interventions, and understanding the needs of health consumers. Dr Leach has extensive experience in the design, implementation and analysis of systematic reviews, meta-analyses, surveys and clinical trials; experiences that are essential to understanding and leading this project.


Tamara Agnew is a PhD candidate, lecturer and research assistant at the University of South Australia. Her PhD is examining the clinical effectiveness of essential oils and aromatherapy for the treatment of acne vulgaris. Through this work, Tamara has developed expertise in conducting systematic reviews, clinical trials and psychometric evaluations. Tamara holds a first class honours degree from Edinburgh Napier University where she studied Complementary Healthcare. Tamara has also published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, has written a book chapter, has been invited to write a textbook, and has reviewed articles for multiple scientific journals. She is passionate about integrative health care, in particular, building the evidence base for complementary and integrative medicine.

Dr Marlene Wiese

Dr Gareth Furber


Dr Marlene Wiese is an adjunct Research Fellow at Flinders University. She has extensive experience in using a range of research methods and is also well experienced in research project management. Her PhD investigated the perceptions of complementary and alternative medicine practitioners to the uptake and practice of traditional medicine and its therapies by the mainstream health care sector. Dr Wiese has a strong understanding of designing and managing research projects in real world settings having conducted numerous research consultancies for external stakeholders, evaluating community-based health programs, and developing educational resources and evaluation tools for primary health care service providers. This is complemented by more than ten years of clinical experience as a health practitioner.


Dr Gareth Furber is a Registered Psychologist and Research Fellow at the University of South Australia. He has a diverse range of interests including the use of technology in delivery of clinical services, psychotherapy evaluation, quality of life measurement, mental health workforce, professional development, mental illness prevention, and service benchmarking. This is reflected in his growing and varied publication record; 18 journal articles, 2 client self-management workbooks and multiple website projects (e.g. Psychsplash, Psychology and Health Forum). Dr Furber’s primary research skills relate to implementing research in clinical settings to help generate evidence for novel practices, better understand consumer outcomes and make recommendations for service redesign. It is these skills that he will bring to the CONVERSATIONS project - specifically, understanding the determinants of consumers’ satisfaction with different health services.