Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza

Research Fellow

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

place Sturt North (N218-4)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Dr Maria Alejandra Pinero de Plaza, PhD, is a scientist who facilitates healthy living and better public health services. Dr. Pinero de Plaza strengthens researchers, clinicians, industry, and consumers' abilities to design, measure, and accomplish different health and social impacts. Her experience in mixed-methods, experimental design, and evaluation helps her identify and demonstrate how interventions, healthcare services, and technology can provide better choice, inclusion, voice, justice, health, and wellbeing.

She is passionate about care and social networks, technology, and methods influencing behavioural change. Dr Pinero is an advocate for evidence-based research as a member of the JBI Evidence Implementation Network and a member of two JBI expert reference groups (Cardiovascular and Aged Care).

Dr Pinero de Plaza involves stakeholders as co-researchers, recognising their essential role in creating and executing transdisciplinary, evidence-based solutions for complex and adaptive health and care research challenges, such as A, B, and C. This approach involves synthesizing insights from multiple disciplines and embracing the inherent complexity of these issues, leading to comprehensive transdisciplinary strategies.

  1. Currently, Research Fellow. Caring Futures Institute, College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Flinders University. 2021 - 2026
  2. Research Fellow, University of Adelaide/ Flinders University (2019-2021); NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence
  3. Doctor of Philosophy, Field of Research 111712 –Health Promotion; SEO: 920401- Behaviour and Health, Marketing. Funded: Australian Postgraduate Award. Deakin University (2013-2017)
  4. Master of Marketing Science, upgraded to PhD, Funded: Australian Postgraduate Award and a top-up scholarship from MARS/UNISA. University of South Australia (2010-2013)
  5. Postgraduate training: Social Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Religion, and Ecology. Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC). Advanced Studies Centre (2004-2006)
  6. Licentiate, a degree equivalent in Australian standards to a master's in Social Communication as it includes 1-year research thesis embedded into a 5-year coursework degree, which is one step below a doctorate - under European standards - (Social Communication, Journalism, Public Relations & Advertising) Andrés Bello Catholic University (1993-1998)
Honours, awards and grants

She has achieved significant recognition nationally and internationally through her diverse contributions to research. Her portfolio includes publishing research book chapters, abstracts, posters, commissioned reports, review articles, comments/debates, videos, data management plans, and various dissemination pieces. This extensive activity has earned her several distinctions, prizes, and awards, exemplified by her receipt of the Vice-President & Executive Dean's Awards in 2021 and 2022, recognizing her embodiment of university values in research and others:

  1. GEM (Going the Extra Mile) Staff Recognition Award 2024
  2. NHMRC Grant 2023 - 2027
  3. Second Place Research Poster Award: Population Health - Sponsored by The Hospital Research Foundation Group 2023
  4. Consumers' Choice Research Poster - Sponsored by The Heart Foundation 2023
  5. ACvA CV Champion 2022 -2023
  6. The Vice-President & Executive Dean's Awards 2022
  7. Vice-President & Executive Dean's Awards 2021, "For the FEARLESS embodiment of Flinders University values in Research."
  8. A winner of the Big Ideas video competition to improve the Australian health system. Consumer Health Forum of Australia, 2021.
  9. NHMRC Partnership Grant, AU. 2020-2024
  10. Caring Futures Institute's Collaborative Grant Scheme, Flinders University, AU. 2020
  11. Caring Futures Institute's Accelerator Grant Scheme, Flinders University, AU. 2019
Key responsibilities

Investigate Fundamental Care across the Life Course

  1. Using a Complex Network Methodology to Track, Evaluate, and Transform Fundamental Care
  2. Measuring fundamental care using complexity science: A descriptive case study of a methodological innovation
  3. Spanish adaptation of the Fundamentals of Care Framework
  4. The trouble with personhood and person-centred care
  5. Health System Enablers and Barriers to Continuity of Care for First Nations Peoples Living with Chronic Disease

Contribute to knowledge (81+)

  1. Nature
  2. Frontiers
  3. Health Promotion International and others

Research and implementation science

  1. Evaluating an Artificial Intelligence tool for the NHMRC-funded project (RAPIDx) - receiving A$ 1,230,191
  2. Evaluating virtual care in the Safe@Home project, securing A$ 1,096,999- NHMRC - A$ 350,000 - NALHN
  3. Investigating and disseminating the NHMRC-funded project: Cardiac Rehabilitation Especially for Women (CREW)- A$ 150,000 The Hospital Research Foundation
  4. Investigating Cardiac Rehabilitation for All (CR4ALL) project, A$24,990.30 - Flinders Foundation
  5. Investigating changes in practice in response to COVID-19, A$ 49,891 - Flinders - CFI Grant
  6. Investigating with and for the Frail, Homebound, and Bedridden People (#FHBP) - Caring Futures Institute, $4000
Expert for media contact
Artificial intelligence
Communication and interpersonal skills
Community/Public health
Public health
Social inclusion
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
Media expertise
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Behaviour
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Community/Public health
  • Public health
  • Social inclusion
Further information

She focuses on: