Five minutes with Trent Hammond

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Five minutes with Trent Hammond 2023-07-19T10:27:59+10:00

Please tell us a little about yourself 

I was born and raised in Australia and currently live in the Upper Hunter in New South Wales. I consider myself to be an early career researcher as I have seven years of professional research experience in mental health. For the last three years I have been studying a PhD in Medicine at The University of Sydney, in the discipline of Psychiatry at Nepean Clinical School. This year, I commenced my role as the Deputy Chair of the DHIN Digital Health Early Career Researcher Working Group.

What is your research on?

Headshot of Trent Hammond

My PhD research focuses on conceptualising a psycho-educational “social anxiety” mobile app, which is aimed at enhancing access to treatment and optimal care pathways. I systematically reviewed and evaluated existing social anxiety apps in the Australian Apple and Google Play Stores, conducted focus groups with health professionals (including psychologists, counsellors, and social workers) and I am now conducting an online survey to find out what teachers, parents, carers, and people with problematic social anxiety think about the conceptual design of my proposed app (i.e., a validation study). There are clearly gaps in the market for a new app as much information in existing apps is outdated and does not appear to be based on scientific evidence. My other research aims to reduce intentional self-harm, suicide, and occupational burnout. Further information about me and my work can be found on my ORCID page:

What are the real-world consequences of your research?

My research has the potential to increase access to information, resources, and professional support for several mental health problems, including major depressive disorder, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and could save lives. The provision of current empirical information in one place means people can more easily make informed decisions about their health rather than having to spend precious time reading outdated and unsubstantiated material, often provided in blogs and social media. My work also has the potential to decrease strain on the public health system through reduced hospitalisations and medical appointments in the long-term.

What does digital health mean to you?

Digital health should be about improving health outcomes rather than marketing short term gimmicks on social media or conducting pure theoretical research. Therefore, my research focus is pragmatic and about ongoing engagement with people who access information and communicate with health care providers. This takes time, effort, and of course, ongoing funding, as online resources must be updated and continue to appeal to end-users.

Do you have any resources or links you would like to share?

To meet the needs and wants of digital health end-users, we need to understand them as individuals rather than simply developing an untested product and bringing it to market (like many apps in the app stores). One organisation which offers support in commercialising products is ANDHealth. Further information can be found at There are several Australian market research companies which can help to understand potential customers and I also provide independent advice having professional experience in the market research industry.

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