Carmela Pestell

Associate Professor, BPsych MPsych(Clin) DPsych(Clin) MPsych(Neuropsy) W.Aust.

  • The University of Western Australia (M304), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Pestell is a registered Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Neuropsychologist who was the Director of the state-wide Neurosciences Unit (North Metropolitan Area Health Service, Health Department of WA) for 14 years between 1996 and 2010. She completed a secondment at the Complex Attention and Hyperactivity Disorders Service (CAHDS) as the Team Manager/Consultant Clinical Psychologist between March 2010 and July 2011. In August 2011 she returned to the Neurosciences Unit to work as a Clinical Neuropsychologist and coordinate the Paediatric Programme; and between January 2012 and December 2014 resumed her former position as the Director of all clinical and research programmes at Neurosciences (NMHS). She has also worked as the Deputy Area Executive Director (in an acting capacity) for the North Metropolitan Mental Health Service (2012).

Roles and responsibilities

As well as research, PhD/Honours supervision and postgraduate teaching responsibilities, Dr Pestell is currently the Co-Director of the Robin Winkler Clinic (RWC) at UWA , which involves coordinating all Internal Practicums for postgraduate Clinical Psychology trainees. Key responsibilities included providing leadership and overseeing the administration, operation, clinical supervision, promotion and expansion of services at RWC; establishing and maintaining professional relationships with external agencies; and leading the development of new clinical and research initiatives for trainees and supervisors. This also includes coordinating a neuropsychology clinic at Robin Winkler and overseeing a new Graduate Certificate in FASD diagnosis which has been offered at UWA from 2019. Dr Pestell is an elected member of the Academic Board (UWA) and a Nominee of the Chair of Academic Board on the Board of Studies for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (UWA). Associate Professor Pestell is also an Honorary Associate Professor with Curtin University. She is currently co-supervising 15 PhD students and 4 Honours students.

Funding overview

Grants:

2017-2020. J. Fitzpatrick. & C. Pestell. PATCHES Paediatrics/UWA. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)Diagnostic Services And Models of Care Grant Opportunity H1617G038.


Assoc Prof M. Fitzgerald (CI), Prof D. Fatovich (AI) & Assoc Prof C. Pestell (AI). "Identification of biomarkers that correlate with clinical features and outcomes following concussion". Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research/Neurotrauma Research Program (NRP) Grant, 2016.

Prof Chen, W., Butun,S., Pestell C., (CI)., Bucks. R. "The effect of sleep problems on cognition in children with complex ADHD". Fremantle Hospital Research Awards/Medical Research Foundation, 2015.

W/ Prof. C. Bower, Prof. R. Marriott, Dr R. Watkins, Dr R. Mutch, Prof C.Pestell (AI), W/ Prof. S. Zubrick & Dr J. Fitzpatrick. Improving the Management of Youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the Justice System. TCR Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Funding (NHMRC) Project ID No.:1072072. 2014-15.

Prof. D.Green, Prof. N. Lautenschlager, A/ Prof. K. Cox, Prof. J. Badcock & Prof C. Pestell (CI). Does Manipulation of Arterial Shear Stress Enhance Cerebrovascular Function and Cognition in the Aging Brain. NHMRC Project Grants. APP1045204. 2012-2017.

A/ Prof. J. Ohan (CI), A.Sung (CI), S. Russell-Smith (CI), Prof M. Maybery (CI), W/Prof A. Whitehouse (CI), W/Prof C. McLeod(CI), Prof C. Pestell. (CI), Dr T. Mazzucchelli,& Dr S. Egan (CI). Improving School Functioning by Reducing Anxiety in Children with ASD. Autism CRC Ltd

New and Noteworthy

•ABC Radio 16/7/18 http://www.abc.net.au/radio/perth/programs/focus/focus/9961290

Sydney Morning Herald (16 Feb 2018) https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/kids-in-prison-with-brain-disorders-if-we-can-predict-it-we-should-prevent-it-20180215-h0w5ci.html

• Perth Now Sunday Times (July 5 2017) https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wa/foetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorder-a-main-cause-for-youth-suicide-in-wa-according-to-james-fitzpatrick-ng-4bbdccae34175c3e918081308ce4e659
• The Australian (July 5 2017) https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/link-between-fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorder-and-suicide/news-story/cdd35425194719d635ac20c102bccc5d
• Magazine Article Australian Doctor (19 May 2017) https://www.patches-paediatrics.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Australian-Doctor-Article.pdf
• Royal Commission News (Dec 2017) https://childdetentionnt.royalcommission.gov.au/media-centre/Pages/news-stories/december-public-hearings-conclude.aspx

Industrial relevance

Dr Pestell (nee Mazzella-Connor)has 24 years clinical experience working with children and adults with known or suspected neurological, neuropsychological and/or psychiatric conditions within a medico-legal, forensic and/or clinical context. Dr Pestell has given over 250 presentations and lectures to a range of audiences including psychologists, psychiatrists and paediatricians. She has individually supervised over 95 post-graduate trainees and Clinical Psychology/Neuropsychology Registrars over the years, and is regularly called upon to provide clinical supervision to more experienced colleagues with specialist registration in educational psychology, clinical psychology or neuropsychology. Dr Pestell is a member of the Neurosciences Unit research committee; Member of the Australian Paediatric Neuropsychology Research Network (since 2016) and Member of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Psychiatry, Psychology and Law. She is an invited Ambassador for NoFASD Australia. She gave expert evidence into the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory in 2016/2017; as well as the Coronial Inquest into the deaths of 13 Aboriginal young people in the Kimberley. Dr Pestell is also an invited member of the FASD Hub Australia Subject Matter Expert Panel.

Teaching overview

Dr Pestell has over 20 years experience as a post-graduate lecturer in psychology at UWA, Curtin University, Murdoch University and Edith Cowan University. She was also involved with the Psychiatry Registrar training programme in Perth, teaching psychology assessment for many years. Currently her teaching commitments at UWA include:
-Unit Coordinator Internal Practicum: PSYC5678
-Unit Coordinator & Lecturer Pediatric Neuropsychology I: PSYC5534

-Course Coordinator & Lecturer: Graduate Certificate in the Assessment and Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)


Research

Current research interests include: a) The neuropsychology of neurodevelopmental conditions such as ADHD and Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders; b) The neuropsychology of acquired brain injury and cognitive rehabilitation in children and adults; d) Concussion; and e) The relationship between attentional disorders and poor sleep in children and adults. Dr Pestell also has research collaborations with the Brightwater Care Group and Fiona Stanley Hospital (ABIRecover), Princess Margaret Hospital (ConiCA), Royal Perth Hospital (adult concussion) and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (ADHD/Sleep intervention).

Previous positions

Private practice as a Clinical Neuropsychologist (0.3 FTE).

External positions

Research Associate, Curtin University of Technology

2017 → …

Honorary Research Associate, Telethon Kids Institute

20132020

Research expertise keywords

  • Acquired brain injury (ABI)—children and adults
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
  • Clinical neuropsychology—clinical and forensic
  • Cognitive rehabilitation
  • The impact of exercise on cognition
  • Anxiety and autism
  • Blood injury phobia

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