Dr Sonja Maria

PhD, GCLTHE, GCClinEd, BHSc(PreHosp), ADip(ClinPrac)

Associate Head (Staff Supervision and Development) - Paramedicine/ Senior Lecturer in Paramedicine
Building 1448 Room 213

Sonja has a diverse background in emergency healthcare after working in ambulance services nationally and internationally, including various roles as a paramedic and an education manager. Sonja's primary area of interest is in policy development and evidence-based guidelines for clinicians in the health field.

Sonja has proven skills in project management, research and leadership. She has held key leadership roles within paramedicine during her academic career both inside and outside the university. She is currently the Associate Head of School and also the Head of Discipline.

In 2016 Sonja and her team won the Faculty of Science team teaching award for paramedicine. In 2017 she won the Faculty of Science Leadership Award for her ability to lead her team through several successful endeavours, and in 2018, she won the SBMS award for excellence for the new course, the Masters of Paramedicine. In 2019 she again won a leadership award, as well as a second award for creativity and innovation in teaching.

Her current projects include the development of the Australasian Paramedic Clinical Guidelines and the Australasian Paramedic Pharmacology Project. She is the chair of both these groups.

Sonja has a keen interest in curriculum development and course structure management. Whilst at CSU she has redesigned the undergraduate paramedic course as well as created the Masters of Paramedicine articulated degree. Both of these courses are highly innovative and offer a new dimension to the ability of paramedics to complete education. It's also these changes in education that then go on to drive industry change. With the registration of paramedics now compulsory in Australia, these programs will become intrinsically essential to advancing the profession.

Sonja currently teaches both the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at CSU. Her passion is clinical guidelines research and cardiology. Sonja's teaching style is fun, personable and interactive, and she is very keen to use new technologies to assist students learning. Sonja also mentors international students on cardiology and has several currently in the UK working through her online programs within social media.

Sonja completed a PhD which investigated guideline use by paramedics. Besides this, she has also has also led several large scale research projects over recent years. These notably included:

  • Leading a research team to research and establish additional placements for health science students through a NSW Interdisciplinary Clinical Training Networks and winning a grant for $100,000
  • Publications on paramedic practice in peer-reviewed journals see ResearchGate for specifics.
  • Investigations into clinical placements and the use of new technologies (Comptracker) with fellow colleague Adam Diamond (CSU).
  • An Australian-wide research project with colleague Mark Colbeck (ACU) into establishing the Australasian Paramedic Practice Guidelines.
  • Establishing the Australasian Paramedic Pharmacology Project which aims to bring academics and paramedic educators together to create a united pharmacology resource for paramedics.

Sonja is a reviewer for several medical journals, including the Emergency Medicine Journal,  Irish Journal of Paramedicine, the Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, the Korean Journal of Emergency Medical Services, and the Australian Journal of Rural Health. She is a member of the SNPHS Sciences Research Committee, Workforce Wellness Research Unit, the Australasian College of Paramedicine Clinical Standards Committee, and Chair of the Clinical Practice Guideline Committee.

From a clinical perspective, Sonja's research passion is in the main areas of policy development, clinical practice guidelines and cardiology. Additionally, she is currently supervising students with research into various topics such as gender diversity, sexual harassment/discrimination, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, paramedic pharmacology, guidelines and protocol development and clinical decision-making.

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