Meet our research trainees

Melanie Andersen is a Research Fellow with the School of Public Health and Community Medicine UNSW and Honorary Fellow at the George Institute for Global Health.

Her research focuses on the social and environmental determinants of health and wellbeing, particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. Melanie co-leads a community-initiated partnership project that aims to improve service integration between health, housing and social services for Aboriginal families in Sydney. She also works across several projects, including a study examining the care received by seriously injured Aboriginal children in NSW hospitals, an Aboriginal community-led child injury prevention project, an investigation of culturally safe trauma-informed care for Aboriginal women who have experienced violence and the Next Generation Youth Wellbeing Study. Melanie’s PhD examined the links between housing and health for Aboriginal people in urban NSW and she continues to lead work about household crowding and child health, in collaboration with the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) at the Sax Institute. Melanie’s research builds on her clinical experience as an Occupational Therapist working in a range of hospital and community health settings.

Melanie Andersen

Research Fellow, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW

Julieann Coombes identifies as a Gamilaraay woman through her grandmother’s family and spent her time growing up in Walgett. Julieann is a Registered Practice Nurse with extensive involvement in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and has lived and worked on the NSW Central Coast for the last 27 years.

Julieann joins The George Institute as the Aboriginal Project Officer with the Injury Division, working on the Healthy Ageing project which looks at the impact of falls on older Aboriginal people. She brings to the role a wealth of career experience since being the first co-ordinator and practice nurse at the Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Centre in Wyong.

Julieann is very active in local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative groups including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Catholic Ministry of the Broken Bay Diocese, where he serves as Chairperson, the Central Coast Indigenous Responsible Gambling Group, Northern Sydney Women in Leadership Advisory Committee, Central Coast Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and is currently the Aboriginal member for FaHCSIA Human Research Ethics National Committee.

Julieann’s focus areas are cultural awareness, equity, health and education. She has taught Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in secondary and tertiary institutions and has represented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses at the national level.

Julieann resides on the Central Coast and is the proud mum of five daughters.

Julieann Coombes

Project Officer, Aboriginal Healthy Ageing, Injury Division, The George Institute for Global Health

Dr Patricia Cullen is a National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellow. Her research centres on strengthening health pathways and outcomes for people impacted by injury, self-harm, violence and trauma. Drawing on methods from social science and implementation science, Patricia has a focus on improving care-coordination for young people accessing emergency services and integrating trauma-informed care in health settings. Much of Patricia’s work has been in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including the Driving Change program and First Response project.

Patricia Cullen

Research Fellow, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW

Francine Eades is a Noongar woman from Mount Barker, and is a descendent of the Koreng/Minang and Kaneang Noongar clans of the Great Southern region of Western Australia.

Ms Eades is a senior Registered Nurse with qualifications in nursing, public health and primary health care. She completed her nursing degree in 1990 at the University of Newcastle in NSW and has worked as a Registered Nurse in tertiary referral hospitals in both NSW and WA. Her career also includes working at the Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service in various clinical and management roles. Francine has also worked in a Nurse Manager graded position in Western Sydney (Aboriginal Chronic Care Coordinator) and was a member of the NSW Aboriginal Executive Leadership Group when employed as a Strategic Aboriginal Health Advisor to the CEO and Executive group of the NSW state-wide Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network.

In 2006 Ms Eades was awarded a Master of Applied Epidemiology (Indigenous Health) by the National Centre of Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University. Her Masters involved multiple projects with a number of WA Department of Health divisions and included a project at King Edward Memorial Hospital that looked at the factors associated with “Why urban Aboriginal women do not attend for antenatal care? In 2014 she completed the Murra Indigenous Business Masterclass through the Melbourne Business School based at the University of Melbourne. Ms Eades is also a member of the WA Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee at the Aboriginal Health Council of WA, and as such is passionate about the impacts that evidence-based research when done in true partnership with Aboriginal people can have.

Francine is passionate about improving health outcomes for our people and being a role model for young people aspiring to study in health professions and contribute to mindful and ethical generational leadership change. She currently works as a Lecturer at the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University and is commencing a PhD that will focus on youth health and wellbeing and the factors that shape their health seeking behaviours given the huge disparities that exist in terms of health outcomes between them and their non-Indigenous counterparts.

Francine Eades

Lecturer, Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin University

Karyn Ferguson

Karyn Ferguson

Karyn Ferguson

PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne

Dr Alison Gibberd recently completed her PhD. She is interested in the potential of routinely collected data to answer complex Aboriginal health questions. She is a Research Fellow in the Indigenous Epidemiology and Health Unit of the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne and manages the project: Predicting and preventing child removals and optimising the child protection system for Aboriginal children in partnership with Aboriginal communities and health services.

Alison Gibberd

Research Fellow, Indigenous Epidemiology and Health, University of Melbourne

Dr Kalinda Griffiths, University of New South Wales

Kalinda is a Yawuru woman of Broome, born and living in Darwin. Her family name is Corpus. She is an early career Scientia Fellow at the Centre for Big Data Research, UNSW and holds honorary fellowships at Menzies School of Health Research and the University of Sydney.

She is an epidemiologist who has worked in the research sector for over 20 years. Her interest is in empirically addressing complex health disparities in populations through existing data. Her research currently addresses issues of quality and the utilisation of data pertaining to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Her areas of focus include the measurement of health disparities, with a particular focus on cancer treatment and outcomes.

Kalinda holds a Certificate III in Laboratory Techniques, Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Master of Public Health and a PhD in Cancer Epidemiology.

Kalinda Griffiths

Scientia Fellow, Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW

Dr Mark Hanly is a statistician based at the Centre for Big Data Research in Health. He is experienced in analysing linked cross-sectoral datasets to identify factors that promote positive health and development during early childhood.

Mark Hanly

Lecturer, Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW

Dr Kate Hunter is a Senior Research Fellow in the Injury Division at The George Institute, and conjoint Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales. She has a PhD in program evaluation and a Master of Public Health through the University of Sydney. Dr Hunter is supported by a NSW Health Early-Mid Career Research Fellowship.

Dr Hunter leads a body of work primarily in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child and family health and the social determinants of health. Her research expertise includes the conduct and evaluation of community based programs, translational research, and assessing equitable access to health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Dr Hunter sits on the Institute’s Research Committee for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and has done so since its inception in 2009. Dr Hunter is Deputy Chair of Kidsafe NSW and is involved in both undergraduate and Masters course work in Injury Prevention.

Kate Hunter

Senior Research Fellow, The George Institute for Global Health

Courtney Ryder is an Aboriginal PhD student in the Injury Division at The George Institute. Her research is part of the Coolamon study, understanding burn injuries in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: treatment, access to services and outcomes. For which she has a NHMRC postgraduate scholarship to investigate the trajectory of recovery, quality of life, parental resilience and economic impacts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families whose children are recovering from a burns injury.

Courtney Ryder

PhD Candidate, Injury Division, The George Institute for Global Health

Jocelyn Jones

Jocelyn Jones

Senior Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of WA

Dr Kyle Turner helps to coordinate the Kaat Koort Aboriginal Brain Health Study, which aims to prevent dementia amongst older Aboriginal people in south-west Western Australia. He also teaches Indigenous Health on the Master of Public Health and Master of Epidemiology programs at the University of Melbourne.

Kyle Turner

Lecturer, Indigenous Health, University of Melbourne

Cat Lloyd-Johnsen is a first year PhD student with the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. Her doctoral research tests the feasibility and community acceptability of establishing a data resource by linking health and education datasets for a cohort of Aboriginal children (birth to school entry) in Central Australia. The aim is to generate an enriched suite of data that provides researchers, health services providers and community stakeholders with an opportunity to improve the quality of health care for Aboriginal children over the life course in real time. Cat has over 9 years of experience in early childhood research and she holds a Master of Public Health (2010) from the University of Melbourne and a Masters of Philosophy in Social Change from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway (2004).

Cat Lloyd-Johnsen

PhD Candidate, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne

Hayley Williams is a PhD Candidate at the University of Queensland working on a project to improve the care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with burns injuries.

Hayley Williams

PhD Candidate, University of Queensland

Bobby Porykali, Project Manager, Injury Division, The George Institute for Global Health. working on The Next Generation – Youth Wellbeing Study.

Bobby Porykali comes from a Medical Science and Biotechnology background. His passion lies in Global Indigenous Health. Experienced in child and maternal health, clinical trials and public health programs aimed at improving the health and wellbeing for his Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Bobby is a Project Manager at the George Institute for Global Health working on the Next Generation – Youth Wellbeing Study, this study aims to assess the health and wellbeing of 2,250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adolescents and youth aged 10 to 24 years over time. He is also undergoing postgraduate studies at the University of Technology Sydney where he aims to examine the impact that driver licensing has on improving employment and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Bobby Porykali

Project Manager, Injury Division, The George Institute for Global Health

Dr Robyn Williams is a Nyoongar woman with extensive experience as a FASD trainer, advocate and researcher. This expertise includes International FASD training in North American/Canada and many years’ experience working with families. Since 2008, Robyn has worked in an advocacy role supporting families caring for children with FASD. In 2014, Robyn presented at International conferences on FASD in Canada and North America. This trip also included an intensive five-week study tour where she was trained and continues to be mentored by leading international experts in FASD. Robyn completed her PhD on FASD in the South West region of WA, and has developed a FASD training package for professional development and families caring for children with FASD. This training has been rated highly by participant feedback and evaluations from participating agencies. Robyn’s professional roles have included working at various health agencies, among them Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service, Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Service, Edith Cowan University and the Office of Aboriginal Health (Western Australia). She currently works at Curtin University’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies.

Robyn Williams

Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Curtin University