Staff Profile: Alice Cairns

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Staff Profile: Alice Cairns

Alice Cairns

Western Cape Site Coordinator and Lecturer, Remote Allied Health


PhD, BAOccThy, Grad Cert Res Meth

Role at the CRRH

Alice Cairns is currently working in Weipa, Cape York, as the Western Cape Site Coordinator and Lecture, for the Centre for Rural and Remote Health, James Cook University. In October 2018, she will commence an Early Career Research Fellowship.


Alice is an occupational therapist who specialised in mental health rehabilitation for over 12 years in clinical and management roles. She has worked across private and government community mental health services within Queensland and in forensic mental health services in the UK. She has a particular clinical interest in the impact of cognitive capacity on occupational performance. She received her PhD titled 'Exploring help-seeking, vocational role function and goal setting of young people accessing mental health services' from the Queensland University of Technology in 2017.

Professional roles/memberships

OT Australia member
SAARAH member

Professional achievements

In Alice's current role she has:

* Developed a CRRH presence in Weipa through developing relationships with local Queensland Health, Apunipima, Cape York Pharmacy and Education Queensland clinical and operational staff.
* Supported research capacity building within local Queensland Health clinical staff through supporting the development of research projects.
* Developed a model for Occupational Therapy student placements within

Research Interests

Alice's research has focused on adult and adolescent mental health, particularly the impact on cognitive function on functioning. In her current role Alice's research interests have broadened to focus on health service research. In 2019 she will be supported by a HOT North Early Career Fellowship to evaluate a student-led older person's wellness service in remote Cape York communities.


Cairns, A., Kavanagh, D., Dark, F. & McPhail, S. (2017) Prediction of vocational participation and global role functioning in help-seeking young adults, from neurocognitive, demographic and clinical variables. Journal of Affective Disorders. 221, 158-164.
Cairns, A., Kavanagh, D., Dark, F. & McPhail, S. (2017) Comparing predictors of part-time and no vocational engagement in youth primary mental health services: A brief report. Early Intervention in Psychiatry.
Dark, F., Newman, E., Harris, M., Cairns, A., Simpson, M., Gore-Jones, V., Whiteford, H.,Harvey, C.& Crompton, D. (2016). Implementing cognitive remediation therapy (CRT) in a mental health service: staff training. Australasian Psychiatry. 24(2), 185-189.
Cairns, A., Kavanagh, D., Dark, F. & McPhail, S. (2015) Setting measurable goals with young people. Qualitiative feedback from the Goal Attainment Scale in youth mental health. British Journal of Occupational Therapy. 78(4), 253-259.
Cairns, A., Dark, F., Kavanagh, D. & McPhail, S. (2015) Exploring functional concerns in help-seeking youth: A qualitative study. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. 9(3), 258-233.
Cairns, A., Dark, F. & Batts, M. (2013). Implementing cognitive remediation therapy: Lessons from two public mental health services. Australasian Psychiatry. 21(5), 476-480.
Cairns A, Hill C, Dark F, McPhail S, Gray M (2013). The Large Allen Cognitive Level Screen as an indicator for medication adherence among adults accessing community mental health services. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(3), 137-143.
Dark F, Cairns A, Harris A, (2013).  Cognitive Remediation: The foundation of psychosocial treatment of schizophrenia. Australian and New Zealand Psychiatry Journal, 47(6), 505-507