Professor Diana Slade

PhD (USyd), MA (U London) Grad DipEd (UniSA), BA (UAdel), RSA Certificate (TESOL, IH London)
Director of the ANU Institute for Communication in Health Care
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Research interests

Diana and Suzanne Eggins have been leading contributors to the development of theoretical frameworks for describing and conceptualising the relationship between communication and patient safety and to the translation of empirical research to tangible outcomes that impact on practice. Their contribution is also on the development of unique evidence-based communication guidelines, protocols and practical tools, including training for clinicians across a range of contexts that derive from the research findings and authentic data. Underpinning these developments is the innovative translational research methodological approach designed and implemented by Diana and her team in the 3 national ARC projects as well as the Hong Kong projects she led. Central to this methodology is the audio and/or video recording and language analysis of many hours of authentic healthcare interactions. Due to the large-scale nature of the healthcare communication research projects, they now have one of the largest databases internationally on authentic clinician-patient and clinician-clinician interactions with data collected both in Australian and Hong Kong hospitals.



Diana Slade is a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Australian National University and the Director of the ANU Institute for Communication in Health Care.

She is an academic researcher and educator in health communication, linguistics, description of spoken English, organisational communication and translational research design.

Diana has over 30 years of experience in researching, teaching and publishing in applied linguistics, linguistics and organizational communication. There are currently two major strands to Diana’s research: the analysis and description of spoken English and the application of these theoretical insights to the analysis of healthcare communication. Since 2011, she has focused on the critical role of communication in the provision of safe and effective healthcare. She has led 24 research projects including 11 competitive research grants on healthcare communication across Hong Kong and Australia, and in addition is currently on four projects (two as international CI) on different aspects of healthcare communication research. She has recently led two consecutive, large national ARC Linkage grants, the first on Communication in Hospital Emergency Departments (LP0775435R1), which examined clinician- patient communication across five public hospital EDs; the second on Effective Communication in Clinical Handover (LP110100035) which investigated the effectiveness of clinical handover communication in NSW, ACT, SA and WA. Slade is second CI on a current national ARC project on communication at discharge from hospital to the community (LP140100563). 


Researcher's projects

With Suzanne Eggins, Diana has also recently received philanthropic funding to undertake translational research at St Vincent’s Hospital Group on communication in nursing handovers and also with the Hong Kong team two grants—one with a large private hospital—Hong Kong Sanatorium Hospital—and another with Queen Elizabeth hospital (to investigate SPEAK up strategies). Committed to inter-disciplinary research and mentoring of younger colleagues, Diana has led research teams with linguists and communication specialists working together with healthcare clinicians and healthcare academics, including doctors, nurses and allied health clinicians. 

Her books include Effective Communication in Clinical Handover: from research to practice (with Eggins and Geddes, eds. 2016, de Gruyter Mouton, PASA, Patient Safety 16), Communicating in Hospital Emergency Departments (with Manidis et al 2015: Springer); Conversation: from Description to Pedagogy (with Scott Thornbury, 2006, CUP) Analysing Casual Conversation (with Suzanne Eggins, 1997/2004, Equinox). In addition she has published over 40 refereed journal articles and book chapters. Slade currently has 2837 citations and since 2011 has been a plenary or invited speaker to 31 national and international conferences. Slade was a Harvard Macy Scholar in medical education, Harvard Medical School, 2013.


Current student projects

  • Maheyrin Chowdhury, PhD thesis, 2022-. An exploration of culture and trauma-informed health communication practices for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in antenatal care settings. 
  • Toni Ashmore, PhD thesis, 2022-. Does a structured approach improve end of life care in comparison to routine care in an acute hospital setting or a specialist palliative care ward in an acute hospital setting?


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Updated:  28 November 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers