Dr Bena Brown

Adjunct Senior Fellow

School of Public Health
Faculty of Medicine


Dr Bena Brown is a clinician/researcher who brings her passion for caring for people with cancer and their families to her current role in the FNCWR team, where her focus is on delivering projects that optimise survivorship and cancer health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These projects include implementing novel models of care such as navigation and health behaviour intervention, optimising communication and access to services through the development and evaluation of culturally responsive resources.

Bena has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications, has presented at multiple national and international conferences, and has been awarded over $3.6 million in research grants.

She is also an Advanced Speech Pathologist (Cancer Care) at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital and provides RHD supervision for higher-degree students in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in UQ's Health and Behavioural Sciences Faculty. Bena is a member of the Human Research and Ethics Committees at Metro South Health and serves on State-wide committees for the Queensland Collaborative for Cancer Survivorship and the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (COSA) Patient-Reported Outcome Working Group.

Outside her research and clinical career, Bena is mum to two boisterous boys, a keen yogi, and passionate student and board member at Vulcana Circus.

Research Interests

  • Cancer Care
  • Survivorship
  • Novel service delivery models using telehealth
  • Patient-centred care

Research Impacts

Through the marriage of Bena's research to clinical cancer care, a number of service delivery improvements, changes in clinical practice, and models of care have been developed to optimise the healthcare received in Queensland hospitals. Bena's PhD examined the impact of novel, intensive radiotherapy regimens on swallowing, nutrition, and quality of life in patients with head and neck cancer. The outcomes of this body of work defined the altered fractionation radiotherapy regimen adopted at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. Bena's work in developing an electronic patient-reported outcome platform "ScreenIT", and subsequently "My HealthMy Way" has given patients, and their families, a voice to drive the cancer healthcare they need, when they need it, by the professional most able to support them. This has resulted in streamlined clinical care, reduction in low value care, and cost-efficiencies of $400,000 per year for hospital using this ePRO system. Through the supervision of Bena's clinician-research RHD students, further changes to health professional communication skills training in cancer care have been adopted, assessment and management of distress during cancer treatment has been optimised, and the identification and assessment of lymphoedema better managed. Bena is currently interested in supporting students who idenitfy as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or student who wish to work in the area of improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their families and communities.

All of Bena's research endeavours are aimed at improving the experience and outcomes of Australians with cancer - either by direct translation of research findings into clinical care, or optimising the care provided by health professionals.


View all Publications


  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision


Book Chapter

  • Messing, Barbara, Burns, Clare, Wishart, Laurelie and Brown, Bena (2021). Swallowing function and implications in head and neck cancer. Cummings otolaryngology: head and neck surgery . (pp. 1466-1473) edited by Paul W. Flint, Howard W. Francis, Bruce H. Haughey, Marci M. Lesperance, Valerie J. Lund, K. Thomas Robbins and J. Regan Thomas. Philadelphia, PA, United States: Elsevier.

  • Nund, Rebecca L., Scarinci, Nerina A., Cartmill, Bena and Ward, Elizabeth C. (2015). Dysphagia and the family. Seminars in Dysphagia. (pp. 159-175) edited by Renee Speyer and Hans Bogaardt. Rijeka, Croatia: InTech - Open Access Publisher. doi: 10.5772/58665

  • Cartmill, Bena, Nund, Rebecca L. and Ward, Elizabeth C. (2014). Managing survivorship: issues for the patient and carer. Head and Neck Cancer: Treatment, Rehabilitation and Outcomes. (pp. 525-539) edited by Elizabeth C. Ward and Corina J. van as Brooks. San Diege, CA, United States: Plural Publishing.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision