|Dr Gemma Sharp is an APS "Rising Star"|
The "Rising Star" award recognises early career researchers who have demonstrated excellence in publications, received significant recognitions, made significant discoveries, generated work with broad impact, and established an independent research career. Dr Sharp's pioneering work in the field of body image, particularly in her leadership of the development of KIT the body image chatbot, was instrumental in her award success.
Dr Sharp was nominated for the award by APS members Associate Professor Melanie Takarangi (Flinders University) and Dr Ella Moeck (University of Melbourne). In their nominations of Dr Sharp, they not only outlined Dr Sharp’s outstanding research activity, but also her leadership and creativity in translating the research by developing tools to help a community suffering from stigma and neglect in the areas of body image research and genital self-image.
Dr Sharp has a strong commitment to public advocacy and education, and features in radio, television and online programs and events. Her TEDx talk, “Why we should talk about vulvas, not vaginas”, has had 90,000 views to date.
Dr Sharp’s seminal research in the fields of mental health and aesthetic surgery has had major impacts both within Australia and internationally. An excellent example of this impact was her invitation to contribute to, and serve as lead expert reviewer for, the Australian Psychological Society’s clinical guidelines for the psychological assessment of people seeking cosmetic procedures (2018). The guidelines served to encourage stronger alliances between mental health professionals and aesthetic medical practitioners to improve patient safety. These guidelines were the first of their kind in the world and were adopted by the UK (2019) with Dr Sharp’s expert input.
To keep up to date on Dr Sharp’s latest research, you can follow her on Twitter on @gemmasharp11