Researcher biography

Sandra Capra AM joined the Faculty of Health Sciencesand then the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciencesi 2008 as professor of nutrition. Professor Capra received her BSc(Hons) and Diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics from Sydney University, her MSocSc from the University of Birmingham and her PhD from the University of Queensland.

After more than 15 years in professional practice in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and New Zealand Prof Capra entered academia full time. Professor Capra has a strong commitment to allied health professions and has served three terms as President of the Dietitians Association of Australia, has been a member of the Council of Pro Vice Chancellors and Deans of Health Sciences and served on many national policy making committees including the Nutrient Reference Values Steering Committee and the Dietary Guidelines Working Party of the National Health and Medical Research Council. She served eight years as Chair of the Board of Directors (President) of the International Confederation of Dietetic Associations from 2004-2016. She was an Independent Director of Health Workforce Australia 2010-2014.

Professor Capra is an expert on allied health in general and nutrition and dietetics curricula and competencies in particular and reviews educational programs both in Australia and overseas. In early 2017 she was appointed Executive Director of the International Commission for Dietetics and Nutrition Education and Accreditation, implementing an international program of competency development and program accreditaion. She is regularly invited to speak on the topic of educational standards, quality and competence. Professor Capra has been recognised for her service to nutrition and dietetics education and research by being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2003, a Fellow of the Dietitians Association of Australia (the first appointed) and elected to life membership of the DAA. She was named one of the Westpac/Financial Review "100 Women of Influence" in the global category in 2014.

Professor Capra designed and developed the Master of Dietetics Studies, an innovative and distinctive program within Australia, and sought and achieved accreditation for this novel program as well as more recently its reaccreditation. Graduates are complemented on their skill and employability.

Prior to her move to the University of Queensland she was the Head of School, School of Health Sciences and Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle, NSW.

Research Interests

Professor Capra has positioned UQ as a leader in research in nutrition. Her personal research interests focus on nutrition and dietetics practice, food and nutrition policy and quality outcomes for food and nutrition services in a variety of settings. Much of her work focuses on the development of tools to use in practice and developing systems for quality improvements and outcomes measurements of service delivery. Studies include nutrition service delivery models, best practice, tools development, measurement in dietetics and outcomes research in dietetics, staffing and efficacy. This is not limited to clinical fields, but includes other domains of policy and public health and service delivery and alllied health more generally. Professor Capra was a principal investigator on the Department of Health and Ageing “Implementing best practice nutrition and hydration support in Residential aged care” which was part of the national “Encouraging Best Practice in Residential Aged Care” program. She has developed tools now used across Australia such as the Malnutrition Screening Tool, the Meal Assessment Tool, and the Acute Care Patient Satisfaction with Foodservice Questionnaire. many of her former students have proceeded to key leadership roles in Australia and overseas.