Dr. Rachael Sharman

Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Psychology

Dr Rachael Sharman is a senior lecturer and researcher in psychology, at the University of the Sunshine Coast, specialising in child/adolescent development.  Rachael's research is focused on the optimal and healthy development of the paediatric brain, and has covered the neuro/psychological impacts of: dietary practices of parents and their children; physical activity; obesity; sport participation; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; phenylketonuria; concussion and childhood trauma. 


Rachael worked for over 15 years in a variety of child-related fields including child protection, juvenile justice (forensics), disability, advocacy and genetic research.  Rachael’s PhD proposed new clinical guidelines to prevent cognitive impairments caused by a genetic disorder and in 2002, Rachael successfully lobbied the Queensland Health Minister to invest in expanded newborn screening. This has prevented the unnecessary death or disability caused by genetic disorders if left undetected and untreated.

Rachael remains committed to research that ensures children have the best possible chance to meet their full potential and her current interests include: dietary impacts on cognitive/psychological development; children’s play opportunities and nature-play; resilience-building features of risky play; child protection issues including sexual abuse and trafficking; adolescent engagement with social media; transitions from education to the workplace.


Rachael is an enthusiastic and engaging public speaker and regularly appears in the media, including newspapers, magazines (Time), internet (ABC The Drum, The Conversation), radio (ABC and commercial), and television (news, The Project, SBS Insight).

Childhood Summit 2019 MC

Day 1 Afternoon - Thought Leader Forum - Health

Day 3 Afternoon - Hot Button Discussion with Maggie Dent - Is childhood evolving-out of childhood?

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