Doctor Mel Taylor

Doctor Mel Taylor

Adjunct Fellow,
School of Medicine

Centre for Health Research


Mel is an Occupational Psychologist and member of the UWS Disaster Response and Resilience Research Group. She joined UWS as a Senior Research Fellow in February 2007, following a 20 year career in Human Factors in the UK. Since joining UWS she has worked in the areas of psychosocial impacts of disasters and emergencies and related preparedness and response behaviour. Her work in these areas has spanned a range of threats that would generally be regarded as  significant to national security, and usually fall into the category of low probability high consequence events. These include pandemic influenza, floods, terrorism (including CBRNE terrorism), radiological and nuclear incidents or accidents, and emergency animal diseases (EAD), such as equine influenza, ovine Johne's disease, and Hendra virus. Her work includes public and emergency responder preparedness, actual or anticipated response, and psychosocial recovery and resilience in the context of these events.

Mel's current interests centre on emergency and disaster preparedness and protective responses, for example uptake of vaccination, compliance with public health and animal health recommendations, and animal health and biosecurity practices. During the last twelve months Mel has studied the impacts of risk communication and risk messaging on anticipated response to Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive (CBRNE) terrorism, the use of social media for emergency information synthesis and as a source of psychological first aid during the floods and cyclone Yasi in 2011, and the animal health management practices of Australian sheep producers and the role of livestock agents in influencing sheep producer behaviours.In collaboration with researchers at the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science she has also been involved in research on veterinarians' risk perceptions and infection control practices to zoonoses, and  horse owner biosecurity practices and perceptions of the response to the 2007 outbreak of equine influenza in Australia. 

In 2012 Mel is working on an ARC funded Discovery project with the University of Queensland investigating resilience in Brisbane communities following the 2011 floods, and she is leading a three year research project funded through the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) from the National Hendra Virus Research Program. This project (HHALTER) will follow a large national cohort of horse owners to investigate their knowledge, attitudes, and biosecurity practices in relation to Hendra virus and to investigate their attitudes to the national response, including uptake of vaccination, in the context of this dynamic threat.

During her career in the UK Mel specialised in the optimization of human performance. She has been involved in the assessment of human performance and human error in safety-critical systems, e.g. aviation, military operations, and she has experience in using a wide range of research methodologies. Many projects investigated human performance and limitations in stressful environments, or in the presence of stressors; such as sleep deprivation, shift-work, sustained operations, noise, hypoxia, team conflicts, uncertainty, and psychological over- and under- arousal.

This information has been contributed by Doctor Taylor.


  • PhD Cranfield University
  • BSc University of Durham

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • School of Medicine
  • Centre for Health Research


Phone: (02) 4620 3929
Mobile: 0415800125
Location: 3.1.18

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Chapters in Books

  • Taylor, M., Agho, K., Raphael, B. and Stevens, G. (2010), 'Psychosocial Response to Animal Disease: Australia's First Outbreak of Equine Influenza', Handbook of Disease Outbreaks: Prevention, Detection and Control, Nova publishing 9781608762248.

Journal Articles

  • Wickes, R., Zahnow, R., Taylor, M. and Piquero, A. (2015), 'Neighborhood structure, social capital, and community resilience : longitudinal evidence from the 2011 Brisbane flood disaster', Social Science Quarterly, vol 96, no 2 , pp 330 - 353.
  • Taylor, M., Lynch, E., Burns, P. and Eustace, G. (2015), 'The preparedness and evacuation behaviour of pet owners in emergencies and natural disasters', Australian Journal of Emergency Management, vol 30, no 2 , pp 18 - 23.
  • Taylor, M., McCarthy, M., Burns, P., Thompson, K., Smith, B. and Eustace, G. (2015), 'The challenges of managing animals and their owners in disasters : perspectives of Australian response organisations and stakeholders', Australian Journal of Emergency Management, vol 30, no 2 , pp 31 - 37.
  • Kung, N., Field, H., McLaughlin, A., Edson, D. and Taylor, M. (2015), 'Flying-foxes in the Australian urban environment : community attitudes and opinions', One Health, vol 1 , pp 24 - 30.
  • Schemann, K., Toribio, J., Taylor, M., Ward, M. and Dhand, N. (2014), 'Survey of Australian equine veterinarians evaluating their biosecurity training and perceptions and opinions about the management of the 2007 equine influenza outbreak', Australian Veterinary Journal, vol 92, no 4 , pp 93 - 100.
  • Sawford, K., Dhand, N., Toribio, J. and Taylor, M. (2014), 'The use of a modified Delphi approach to engage stakeholders in zoonotic disease research priority setting', BMC Public Health, vol 14, no 1 .
  • Dowd, K., Taylor, M., Toribio, J., Hooker, C. and Dhand, N. (2013), 'Zoonotic disease risk perceptions and infection control practices of Australian veterinarians : call for change in work culture', Preventive Veterinary Medicine, vol 111, no 1-2 , pp 17 - 24.
  • Stevens, G., Dunsmore, J., Agho, K., Taylor, M., Jones, A., Ritten, J. and Raphael, B. (2013), 'Long-term health and wellbeing of people affected by the 2002 Bali bombing', Medical Journal of Australia, vol 198, no 5 , pp 273 - 277.
  • Schemann, K., Lewis, F., Firestone, S., Ward, M., Toribio, J., Taylor, M. and Dhand, N. (2013), 'Untangling the complex inter-relationships between horse managers' perceptions of effectiveness of biosecurity practices using Bayesian graphical modelling', Preventive Veterinary Medicine, vol 110, no 1 , pp 37 - 44.
  • Stevens, G., Dunsmore, J., Agho, K., Taylor, M., Jones, A. and Raphael, B. (2013), 'Coping support factors among Australians affected by terrorism : 2002 Bali bombing survivors speak', Medical Journal of Australia, vol 199, no 11 , pp 772 - 775.
  • Firestone, S., Lewis, F., Schemann, K., Ward, M., Toribio, J., Taylor, M. and Dhand, N. (2013), 'Applying Bayesian network modelling to understand the links between on-farm biosecurity practice during the 2007 equine influenza outbreak and horse managers' perceptions of a subsequent outbreak', Preventive Veterinary Medicine, .
  • Kung, N., McLaughlin, A., Taylor, M., Moloney, B., Wright, T. and Field, H. (2013), 'Hendra virus and horse owners - risk perception and management', PLoS ONE, vol 8, no 11 .
  • Schemann, K., Firestone, S., Taylor, M., Toribio, J., Ward, M. and Dhand, N. (2013), 'Perceptions of vulnerability to a future outbreak : a study of horse managers affected by the first Australian equine influenza outbreak', BMC Veterinary Research, vol 9, no 152 .
  • Hernandez-Jover, M., Taylor, M., Holyoake, P. and Dhand, N. (2012), 'Pig producers' perceptions of the Influenza Pandemic H1N1/09 outbreak and its effect on their biosecurity practices in Australia', Preventive Veterinary Medicine, vol 106, no 3-4 , pp 284 - 294.
  • Schemann, K., Firestone, S., Taylor, M., Toribio, J., Ward, M. and Dhand, N. (2012), 'Horse owners'/managers' perceptions about effectiveness of biosecurity measures based on their experiences during the 2007 equine influenza outbreak in Australia', Preventive Veterinary Medicine, vol 106, no 2 , pp 97 - 107.
  • Taylor, M., Wells, G., Howell, G. and Raphael, B. (2012), 'The role of social media as psychological first aid as a support to community resilience building : a Facebook study from 'Cyclone Yasi Update'', Australian Journal of Emergency Management, vol 27, no 1 , pp 20 - 26.
  • Schemann, K., Firestone, S., Taylor, M., Toribio, J., Ward, M. and Dhand, N. (2012), 'From the horse's mouth : perceptions of the management of the 2007 Equine Influenza Outbreak in Australia', Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, vol 59, no 6 , pp 503 - 516.
  • Taylor, M., Stevens, G., Agho, K., Kable, S. and Raphael, B. (2012), 'Crying wolf? Impact of the H1N1 2009 influenza pandemic on anticipated response to a future pandemic', Medical Journal of Australia, vol 197, no 10 , pp 561 - 564.
  • Stevens, G., Agho, K., Taylor, M., Jones, A., Barr, M. and Raphael, B. (2012), 'Perceived coping & concern predict terrorism preparedness in Australia', BMC Public Health, vol 12 , pp 1 - 11.
  • Taylor, M., Joung, W., Griffin, B., Hill, D., Chisari, R., Hesketh, B. and Raphael, B. (2011), 'The public and a radiological or nuclear emergency event: Threat perception, preparedness, and anticipated response - Findings from a preliminary study in Sydney, Australia', Australian Journal of Emergency Management, vol 26, no 1 , pp 31 - 39.
  • Taylor, M., Agho, K., Stevens, G. and Raphael, B. (2011), 'Factors associated with high psychological distress in horse industry participants during the 2007 Australian equine influenza outbreak and evidence of recovery after 1 year', Australian Veterinary Journal, vol 89, no SUPPL.1 , pp 158 - 159.
  • Schemann, K., Taylor, M., Toribio, J. and Dhand, N. (2011), 'Horse owners' biosecurity practices following the first equine influenza outbreak in Australia', Preventive Veterinary Medicine, vol 102, no 4 , pp 304 - 314.
  • Taylor, M., Agho, K., Dhand, N. and Schemann, K. (2011), 'You can Lead a Horse to Water.....Why Human Behaviour is Central to Effective Control of Emerging Diseases', EcoHealth, vol 7, no Supplement 1 , pp 152 - 152.
  • Dhand, N., Hernandez-Jover, M., Taylor, M. and Holyoake, P. (2011), 'Public perceptions of the transmission of pandemic influenza A/H1N1 2009 from pigs and pork products in Australia', Preventive Veterinary Medicine, vol 98, no 2-3 , pp 165 - 175.
  • Howell, G. and Taylor, M. (2011), 'When a crisis happens, who turns to Facebook and why?', Asia Pacific Public Relations Journal, vol 12, no 1 .
  • Stevens, G., Agho, K., Taylor, M., Jones, A., Jacobs, J., Barr, M. and Raphael, B. (2011), 'Alert but less alarmed : a pooled analysis of terrorism threat perception in Australia', BMC Public Health, vol 11, no 797 , pp 1 - 11.
  • Stevens, G., Jones, A., Smith, G., Nelson, J., Agho, K., Taylor, M. and Raphael, B. (2010), 'Determinants of paramedic response readiness for CBRNE threats', Journal of Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice, and Science, vol 8, no 2 , pp 193 - 202.
  • Jacobs, J., Taylor, M., Agho, K., Stevens, G., Barr, M. and Raphael, B. (2010), 'Factors associated with population perceived risk of pandemic influenza', Influenza Research and Treatment, .
  • Agho, K., Stevens, G., Taylor, M., Barr, M. and Raphael, B. (2010), 'Population risk perceptions of global warming in Australia', Environmental Research, vol 110, no 8 , pp 756 - 763.
  • Taylor, M., Barr, M., Stevens, G., Bryson-Taylor, D., Agho, K., Jacobs, J. and Raphael, B. (2010), 'Psychosocial stress and strategies for managing adversity : measuring population resilience in New South Wales, Australia', Population Health Metrics, vol 8, no 28 .
  • Elizarraras-Rivas, J., Vargas-Mendoza, J., Mayoral-Garcia, M., Matadamas-Zarate, C., Elizarraras-Cruz, A., Taylor, M. and Agho, K. (2010), 'Psychological response of family members of patients hospitalised for influenza A/H1N1 in Oaxaca, Mexico', BMC Psychiatry, vol 10, no 1 , pp 104 - 113.
  • Stevens, G., Agho, K., Taylor, M., Barr, M., Raphael, B. and Jorm, L. (2009), 'Terrorism in Australia : factors associated with perceived threat and incident-critical behaviours', BMC Public Health, vol 9 .
  • Taylor, M., Raphael, B., Barr, M., Agho, K., Stevens, G. and Jorm, L. (2009), 'Public health measures during an aniticipated influenza pandemic: Factors influencing willingness to comply', Risk Management and Health Care Policy, vol 2 , pp 9 - 20.
  • Raphael, B., Taylor, M., Jacobs, J. and Looi, J. (2009), 'Strategies for occupational mental health protection', Journal of Occupational health and safety Australia and New Zealand., vol 25, no 1 , pp 7 - 17.
  • Raphael, B., Taylor, M., Stevens, G., Barr, M., Gorringe, M. and Agho, K. (2009), 'Factors associated with population risk perceptions of continuing drought in Australia', Australian Journal of Rural Health, vol 17, no 6 , pp 330 - 337.
  • Stevens, G., Taylor, M., Barr, M., Jorm, L., Giffin, M., Ferguson, R., Agho, K. and Raphael, B. (2009), 'Public perceptions of the threat of terrorist attack in Australia and anticipated compliance behaviours', Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, vol 33, no 4 , pp 339 - 346.
  • Taylor, M., Agho, K., Stevens, G. and Raphael, B. (2008), 'Factors influencing psychological distress during a disease epidemic : data from Australia's first outbreak of equine influenza', BMC Public Health, vol 8 .
  • Barr, M., Raphael, B., Taylor, M., Stevens, G., Jorm, L., Giffin, M. and Lujic, S. (2008), 'Pandemic influenza in Australia : using telephone surveys to measure perceptions of threat and willingness to comply', BMC Infectious Diseases, vol 8 .
  • Raphael, B., Taylor, M. and Mcandrew, V. (2008), 'Women, catastrophe and mental health', Australian New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, vol 42, no 1 , pp 13 - 23.

Other Publications

  • 2013, 'Background Paper on Community Concerns in Relation to Coal Seam Gas', Research Report
  • 2012, 'Review and Evaluation of Research Literature on Public Nuclear Risk Perception and Implications for Communication Strategies', Research Report
  • 2011, 'Farm Biosecurity Attitudes and Practices: Factors Influencing the Sheep Industry: National Survey of Sheep Producers and Livestock Agents: Final Report', Research Report
  • 2011, 'Addressing the Challenges of CBRNE: Project PR08 - 0023: Final Report June 2011', Research Report
  • 2010, 'Modelling Hazard Perceptions and Response: Project PR08 - 0024: Final Report', Research Report
  • 2008, 'Human Impacts of Equine Influenza: Summary Report', Research Report
  • 2008, 'The Psycho-Social Impact of a CBRN Threat or Attack on an Australian Community: Pilot Survey Results', Research Report


Areas of Research / Teaching Expertise

  • risk perception and risk communication and how these affect behaviour and anticipated behaviours to adversity
  • compliance with health behaviours (including response to human and animal disease)
  • biosecurity and bioterrorism
  • response to terrorism and disasters; both first responders/emergency services and population response
  • preparedness for emergencies and disasterspsychological distress and response and recovery to adversity
  • effects of exposure to adversity on future orientation, optimism and hopefulness

This information has been contributed by Doctor Taylor.

Current Projects

Title: Assessing the impacts and benefits of structured animal Emergency Management among responders and recipient communities in Emergencies and natural disasters
Years: 2014-07-01 - 2017-09-30
ID: P00022449
Western Researchers: Mel Taylor
  • Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre

Previous Projects

Title: The human factors, including psycho-social impact of CBRN threat on the Australian public
Years: 2007-06-19 - 2008-01-31
ID: P0015743
Western Researchers: Beverley Raphael, Beryl Hesketh, Mel Taylor, Barbara Griffin and Garry Stevens
  • Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Org
Title: Modelling Hazard Perceptions and Response
Years: 2009-07-01 - 2011-05-30
ID: P00016642
Western Researchers: Beverley Raphael, Kingsley Agho, Garry Stevens and Mel Taylor
  • Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
Title: Addressing challenges of CBRNE terrorism
Years: 2008-12-01 - 2011-09-30
ID: P00016643
Western Researchers: Beverley Raphael, Beryl Hesketh and Mel Taylor
  • Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
Title: Longitudinal cohort study of horse owners
Years: 2012-05-18 - 2015-12-30
ID: P00020614
Western Researchers: Mel Taylor
  • Rural Industries R&D Corporation (ACRG)
Title: When a Crisis happens who turns to Facebook first?
Years: 2011-02-01 - 2011-11-30
ID: P00019634
Western Researchers: Beverley Raphael, Gwyneth Howell and Mel Taylor
  • Emergency Media and Public Affairs
Title: Farm biosecurity attitudes and practices: Factors influencing the sheep industry
Years: 2011-02-01 - 2011-11-10
ID: P00019880
Western Researchers: Mel Taylor
  • Meat and Livestock Australia (ACRG)
Title: Tackling Tough Times
Years: 2009-07-01 - 2014-06-30
ID: P00017255
Western Researchers: Mel Taylor
  • NSW Department of Health
Title: Partnership with Peking University Institute of Mental Health and Shanghai Mental Health Centre on Mitigating the Mental Health Consequences of Environmental Disasters
Years: 2012-05-07 - 2012-12-31
ID: P00020723
Western Researchers: Beverley Raphael and Mel Taylor
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (ACRG)

Western Sydney University

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