Psychiatry experts release new diagnostic manual

Dr Gavin Beccaria, Senior Lecturer, Clinical Psychology from USQ Toowoomba.

Dr Gavin Beccaria, Senior Lecturer, Clinical Psychology from USQ Toowoomba.

Psychiatry changes to air at USQ workshop

MENTAL health experts will discuss the implications of The American Psychiatric Association’s latest release of its diagnostic manual at USQ Fraser Coast on 19 July 2013.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is a guide that sets the criteria for health professionals worldwide to determine a diagnosis. The $25 million revision is the result of research since the last version was published in 1990.

USQ Fraser Coast Senior Lecturer Dr Patrick O’Brien said the DSM-5 contains substantial changes from the DSM-IV-TR, and as a result, it has both supporters and critics.

“With proposed changes across each of the psychiatry diagnostic categories there are significant implications for both clinicians and educators alike,” Dr O’Brien said.

“Perhaps the most notable is the formalisation of Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

“With the DSM-5, the children who could previously be diagnosed with either Autism Spectrum Disorder or Asperger’s Syndrome will be all diagnosed with ASD.

“Some experts are concerned the single spectrum diagnosis could result in treatments not being applied well enough.”

That and other changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5 will be covered at the USQ Fraser Coast workshop being presented by Dr Gavin Beccaria, Senior Lecturer, Clinical Psychology from USQ Toowoomba.

Discussion at the interactive and informative workshop will also include diagnostic systems and their limitations, surviving the pitfalls of diagnosis and accessing services.

Dr Beccaria is currently writing a book chapter on the DSM-5 for Wiley. Before moving to academia, he was the Director of Psychology in Toowoomba Health Service and managed 35 psychologists. His current research interests include evaluating clinical and counselling interventions, and problem-solving training.

The workshop will be held at the USQ Fraser Coast Campus, 161 Old Maryborough Road, Hervey Bay, in the B104 Lecture Theatre on Friday, July 19 from 9 am to 3 pm. Cost is $60 including morning tea and lunch. Registrations close Monday, July 15. To register, visit



BEAT IT group discovers USQ’s outdoor gym


Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland tries the headstand trainer in USQ’s outdoor gym, watched by fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and BEAT IT members. Photos: JOCELYN WATTS

LOCAL participants in the Australian Diabetes Council lifestyle program BEAT IT made an exciting discovery recently when they learnt USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym equipment was available to them 24/7, free of charge.

BEAT IT trainer Kim Polglase and Fraser Coast Regional Councillor Robert Garland brought the health and fitness group to USQ’s gym as part of a 12-week program tailored for people living with or at risk of diabetes and other chronic lifestyle-related diseases.

“The group-based program is about creating a supportive environment of people with similar health issues while also introducing them to community fitness facilities that are easily accessible,” Ms Polglase said.

Officially launched in 2010, USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym includes 19 pieces of equipment providing 27 stations, with a soft fall surface and shade sails. After dark, security lights automatically turn on when sensors detect movement in the area.

USQ Fraser Coast Executive Manager Brett Langabeer said the outdoor gym was designed to help students, staff and members of the community get into shape and keep fit.

“Community fitness groups are also welcome to use the outdoor equipment,” Mr Langabeer said.

The gym is located at the Hervey Bay campus, 161 Old Maryborough Road, Pialba, near the city library.

Ms Polglase said the next 12-week BEAT IT program would start in about two weeks.  Classes are run twice weekly, with each class including a combination of aerobic and resistance training exercises.

For more information on BEAT IT visit the Fraser Coast Regional Council’s website at:


Fitness trainer Kim Polglase (centre front) and Fraser Coast councillor Robert Garland (black singlet) introduce BEAT IT members to USQ Fraser Coast’s outdoor gym.

USQ lecturer seeks answers to poverty in Nepal

RESEARCHING the effects of integrated microfinance in the poverty-stricken areas of Nepal is more than academic for USQ Fraser Coast’s Ratna Paudyal – it’s also an act of passion.

The university’s associate lecturer was born to illiterate parents in a remote village in Nepal. He and his 12 siblings shared a room with their parents, sleeping four to a bed. Now a world away from that lifestyle, the award-winning business and law lecturer is on a mission to find answers to his native country’s poverty.

On a recent journey home, he had three goals in mind – introduce his two-year-old son to relatives, talk with impoverished people and present his research paper at the Nepalese Academy of Management’s 2nd international conference on Reshaping Organisations to Develop Responsible Global Leadership.

“My family had never seen my son before,” Mr Paudyal said.

“I was also working on my doctorate studies, which includes research on Nepalese organisations that implement health and development work to improve quality of life for impoverished people.”

Mr Paudyal’s thesis on Integrated Microfinance is about how education and income generating activities in Nepal could contribute to the development of social capital in that country and hence assist in overcoming poverty and its related issues.

“I interviewed five case workers from Nepalese institutions that were offering those services talked with five community members and 20 recipients about how the services had changed their lives,” he said. “I am also looking at the possibilities of implementing integrated microfinance into Australian context.”

Mr Paudyal said that while microfinance was often used in developing countries as a poverty relief tool, recent research has identified problems with the system brought about by the apparent misuse of loans by the recipients who have found themselves compelled to use the money to fund necessary health care and other basic needs.

“Increasing evidence suggests that minimal support is not enough to assist impoverished people,” he said.

“This is because the causes of poverty are multidimensional – it may be a lack of good health, education or training, or they may have no social networks and rely solely on family members. In many cases, the recipients need more than finance to break the poverty cycle.”

Mr Paudyal’s research paper was one of 105 papers presented to 500 international delegates at the conference.