The Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit

Research Overview

The Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit is part of the Gynaecology Research Centre, situated at the Royal Women’s Hospital. The Gynaecology Research Centre is the first centre in Australia to bring together clinical and laboratory expertise to investigate a wide range of common gynaecological issues and provide greater understanding to improve prevention, diagnosis and management of conditions.

The emPoWeR Unit conducts research with a focus on the psychological, emotional and social aspects of reproductive health. The unit has a particular focus  on the overall wellbeing of people impacted by gynaecological issues and infertilty, and the quality of life factors that arise as a consequence of these conditions. The goal of the unit is to develop tools that can help improve the experience of people facing these sorts of challenges.

Specific research areas include:

  • fertility and cancer
  • psycho-oncology and cancer survivorship
  • Reproductive health & decision making (non-cancer)



    We have current collaborations with Harvard University, The Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Harvard), the Oncofertility Consortium (Northwestern University), UNSW, University of Sydney, Monash, Melbourne IVF, IVF Australia, Genea, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Swinburne University, Breast Cancer Network Australia, Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority, Edinburgh University, FoRECAsT Consortium and others.


  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation
  • Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences University of Melbourne
  • Endometriosis Australia
  • Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation
  • National Breast Cancer Foundation
  • Victorian Cancer Agency

Research Outcomes

  • Pockett R, Peate M, Dzidowska M, Hobbs K, Baylock B, Bell M, Epstein I. The characteristics of oncology social work in Australia: Implications for workforce planning in integrated cancer care. Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology (Accepted 13/01/2016).
  • Peate M, Watts K, Wakefield C. The ‘value’ of values clarification in cancer-related decision aids. Patient Education & Counseling 2013; 90(2): 281-283.
  • Juraskova I, Jarvis S, Friedlander M, et al. The Acceptability, Feasibility, and Efficacy (Phase I/II Study) of the OVERcome (Olive Oil, Vaginal Exercise, and MoisturizeR) Intervention to Improve Dyspareunia and Alleviate Sexual Problems in Women with Breast Cancer. Journal Of Sexual Medicine 2013;(10):2549-2559
  • Peate M, Friedlander M. Using decision aids for improving treatment-choices for women with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Management (2013) 2(1): 23-31. Invited perspective.
  • Peate M, Meiser B, Friedlander M, et al. Making hard choices easier: a prospective, multicentre study to assess the efficacy of a fertility-related decision aid in young women with early-stage breast cancer. British Journal Of Cancer 2012;106(6):1053-1061
  • Peate M, Saunders C, Gregson J, Thewes B, D’Abrew N, Meiser B, White K Hickey M. Development and evaluation of an information booklet about breast cancer and early menopause. The Breast Journal (2012) 18 (1): 95-96.
  • Sansom-Daly U, Peate M, Wakefield C, Bryant RA, Cohn RJ. A Systematic Review of Psychological Interventions for Adolescents and Young Adults Living with Chronic Illness Health Psychology (2012). 31(3):380-93.
  • Wakefield CE, McLoone JK, Fleming CAK, Peate M, Thomas E, Sansom-Daly U, Butow P, Cohn R. Adolescent cancer and health-related decision-making: A multi-perspective family analysis. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology (2012). 1(4):173-180.
  • Peate M, Meiser B, Hickey M, et al. It's Now or Never: Fertility-Related Knowledge, Decision-Making Preferences, and Treatment Intentions in Young Women With Breast Cancer--An Australian Fertility Decision Aid Collaborative Group Study. Journal Of Clinical Oncology  2011;29(13):1670-1677
  • Peate M, Meiser B, Hickey M, et al. Development and Pilot Testing of a Fertility Decision Aid for Young Women Diagnosed with Early Breast Cancer. Breast Journal 2011;17(1):112-114.
  • Hickey M, Peate M, Saunders C, Friedlander M. Breast cancer in young women and its impact on reproductive function. Human Reproduction Update 2009;15(3):323-339
  • Peate M, Meiser B, Hickey M, Friedlander M. The fertility-related concerns, needs and preferences of younger women with breast cancer: a systematic review. Breast Cancer Research And Treatment 2009;(1):215-224

Research Publications

  • Allingham C, Kemertzis M; Gillam L; McCarthy M; Jayasuriya S; Zacharin M; Heloury Y; Orme L; Sullivan M; Peate M*; Jayasinghe Y* (*Shared senior author). Fertility Preservation in Children and Adolescents with Cancer: Development and Pilot of a Decision Aid for Parents of Children with Cancer. JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting \
  • Hand M, Kemertzis MA, Peate M, Gillam L, McCarthy M, Orme L, Heloury Y, Sullivan M, Zacharin M, Jayasinge Y. A Clinical Decision Support System to assist paediatric oncofertility: A short report. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology 2018; 7(4):509-13  doi: 10.1089/jayao.2018.0006.
  • Peate M, Smith S, Pye V, Hucker A, Stern K, Stafford L, Oakman C, Chin-Lenn L, Gamage N, Hickey M. Assessing the usefulness and acceptability of a low health literacy online decision aid about reproductive choices for younger women with breast cancer: The aLLIAnCE pilot study protocol. BMC Pilot and Feasibility Studies 2017; 3:31. DOI: 10.1186/s40814-017-0144-9.
  • Li N, Jayasinghe YJ, Kemertzis M, Moore P, Peate M.  Fertility preservation in paediatric and adolescent oncology patients: the decision-making process of parents. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology 2017; 6(2):213-222. doi:10.1089/jayao.2016.0061.
  • Peate M, Stafford L, Hickey M. Fertility after breast cancer and strategies to help women achieve pregnancy. Cancer Forum 2017; 41(1): 32-39. Invited review
  • Hickey M, Peate M, Anderson. Letter:  Should cryopreservation of oocytes be discussed with all women in their 30’s? New England Journal of Medicine 2016; 374:287-287.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cancer in Medicine

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Dr Michelle Peate

Department / Centre

Obstetrics and Gynaecology , Gynaecology Research Centre

Unit / Centre

The Psychosocial Health and Wellbeing Research (emPoWeR) Unit

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