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Research Biography

My current research concerns the strengthening of resilience at different levels with much of my work focusing on the community level. This builds on my experience in the field of violence and suicide research, as well as on my work related to the health care of Australian Aboriginal mothers and infants.

I have 30 years’ epidemiological research experience and have led and managed several research projects. My work has resulted in close to 60 peer-reviewed articles, reports, book chapters and other publications.

Before moving to Australia in 1998, I worked at the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) where I was involved in two large studies that included 20,000 injured patients seen in metropolitan and rural hospitals in the Western Cape. During my time at the MRC, I progressed from a field worker who interviewed patients in emergency departments to a scientist who managed comprehensive injury data bases and reported on findings.

From 1998 to 2002, I was employed by the Flinders Research Centre for Injury Studies, which incorporates the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s National Injury Surveillance Unit. I was responsible for the analysis and reporting of national injury mortality and morbidity data for Australia.

Between 2003 and 2006, I was employed as a Senior Advisor and Science Officer at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia. I led the establishment of the National Violent Death Reporting System in 17 states. The data from the system were used in research to inform policy decisions around deaths from violence, especially gun violence.

In 2006, I was appointed as Head of Research at the Flinders Centre for Remote Health (CRH) in Alice Springs. Between 2007 and 2012, I conducted research for my PhD which was part of a five-year National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funded project. This large project was listed as Ten of the Best Research Projects for the 2014 NHMRC list (Strategic Award to the 1+1=A Healthy Start to Life Project, Chief Investigator: Prof Lesley Barclay, $587,272, 2007-2012) 

Since completion of my PhD in 2013, I worked at the Torrens Resilience Institute, Flinders University. The Torrens Resilience Institute is a national and international centre of excellence aimed at developing advanced thinking related to concept of resilience. Its mission is to assist the Federal and State Governments, emergency services, organisations and civil society enhance their leadership and management capabilities, and thus enable them to prepare for, and respond better to, disruptive challenges.

As Senior Research Fellow, I play a key role in expanding and diversifying the Institute's knowledge and expertise to improve the capacity of organisations and societies to respond to disruptive challenges which have the potential to overwhelm local disaster management capabilities and plans. I conduct research and manage many of the research projects we undertake at the Institute.

My focus is on building stronger and safer communities.

Research Interests

Community resilience, vulnerability, public health surveillance, injury, maternal health, epidemiology

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Sydney

Award Date: 10 May 2013

Master, University of Cape Town

Award Date: 26 Jun 1998

Bachelor (Honours), University of South Africa

Award Date: 10 May 1995


Award Date: 8 Dec 1988

External positions

Postdoctoral Researcher Level B, Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide


Research Associate, University Centre for Rural Health North Coast, School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney

Jul 20092011

Research Associate, School for Social and Policy Research, Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University

May 2007Jun 2009

Head of Research and Senior Lecturer, Centre for Remote Health, A joint centre of Flinders University and Charles Darwin University, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Flinders University

Mar 2006Feb 2007

Senior Advisor, Science Officer and Associate Service Fellow, the National Violent Death Reporting System, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Control and Prevention, United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Apr 2003Jan 2006

Research Fellow and Research Associate, Research Centre for Injury Studies (Incorporating the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare National Injury Surveillance Unit), Flinders University

May 1998Dec 2002

Registered Nurse and Midwife, Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

Jul 1988Jun 1989


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