Dr Ann Dadich is an Associate Professor within the Western Sydney University School of Business. She is also a registered psychologist, a full member of the Australian Psychological Society, and a Justice of the Peace in New South Wales. Following undergraduate training, A/Prof. Dadich entered the government and not-for-profit sectors to work with different populations within the community, including young people, people with mental health issues, and people who are incarcerated. These experiences continue to inform her approach to conducting research that is both empirical and respectful. A/Prof. Dadich has accumulated considerable expertise in health service management, notably knowledge translation. This encompasses scholarship on the processes through which different knowledges coalesce to promote quality care. This is demonstrated by her publishing record, which includes over 165 refereed publications; the research grants she has secured; and the awards she has received. A/Prof. Dadich holds editorial appointments with several academic journals, including: the Australian Health Review; and BMC Health Services Research. She is also the Deputy Director of the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) Knowledge Translation Strategic Platform; she chairs the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM) Health Management and Organisation (HMO) Conference Stream; and she convenes the ANZAM HMO Special Interest Group. Additionally, A/Prof. Dadich supervises doctoral candidates and teaches undergraduate units on change management, innovation, creativity, and organisational behaviour.
Associate Professor Stacy Blythe is a Registered Nurse and a Research Academic. Her research focuses on the health and well-being of children in out-of-home care and their families (birth/foster/adoptive). As a lecturer in Infant Mental Health, she is particularly interested in infants who are prenatally exposed to harmful substances (e.g. illicit drugs). In addition to her nursing, teaching and research qualifications, Stacy has post graduate certification in Developmental Trauma. Stacy has over 15 years of experience as an authorised foster carer. Drawing on her skills as a nurse, knowledge as a researcher and experience as a foster carer, Stacy provides training to health care workers, social service providers, educators and foster carers in relation to working with children with a prenatal history of substance exposure and/or who have experienced trauma.
Dr Kelly Baird is a Research Fellow in the Translational Research and Social Innovation group, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University. Kelly takes a collaborative, applied and community embedded approach to research, partnering with organisations delivering support services to children, young people and families experiencing adversity. She has a particular research interest in addressing the service and support needs of those within our communities who are most vulnerable, and is a passionate advocate of child voice and child-led research.
Kelly was awarded her PhD in 2015. Her doctoral research examined young children’s experiences of program participation and family life during involvement in an intensive, therapeutic, attachment-based parenting support program. Before commencing her PhD, Kelly worked in the non-government sector in both direct service work and research.
Kelly has experience in participatory research methods, mixed methods research, qualitative methodologies, and effectiveness trials.
Andrew Gorman-Murray (BA (Hons 1), MArt, PhD) is a Professor of Geography at Western Sydney University. He was formerly Leader of the Urban Research Program, and Research Theme Champion for Urban Living and Society. He is a social, cultural and political geographer. His research agenda is geographies of justice, encompassing the following areas: (1) gender, sexuality and space; (2) urban and regional transformations with respect to social and cultural diversity; (3) household dynamics with respect to gender, home/work interchange and mobile work; (4) disaster planning and emergency management; (5) health, wellbeing and place; and (6) visual art and geography. He is interested in qualitative, quantitative and visual approaches. He has led three ARC Discovery Projects in areas including masculinities and domesticities, LGBT+ experiences of disasters and the impact of mobile work on home, households and wellbeing. He has published 130+ peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and the following edited collections: Material Geographies of Household Sustainability (2011, Ashgate, with Ruth Lane), Sexuality, Rurality, and Geography (2013, Lexington, with Barbara Pini and Lia Bryant), Masculinities and Place (2014, Ashgate, with Peter Hopkins), Queering the Interior (2018, Bloomsbury, with Matt Cook) and The Geographies of Digital Sexuality (2019, Palgrave Macmillan, with Catherine J Nash).
Hannah Dahlen is a Professor of Midwifery and Higher Degree Research Director in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the Western Sydney University. Hannah obtained her PhD in 2008 and was employed as an Associate Professor of Midwifery at Western Sydney University (WSU) in 2008 and promoted to Professor in 2012. She is also the Director of Higher Degree Research (HDR) in the School of Nursing and Midwifery (2014-ongoing). Prior to working in the university sector she had a mainly clinical role working as clinical midwife specialist, clinical midwifery educator and a midwifery consultant. Hannah maintains clinical practice today alongside her fulltime academic role and she has practised as a midwife for nearly 30 years. Hannah was one of the first midwives in Australia to gain Endorsement for Medicare and prescribing and ordering medications and laboratory tests. In 2017 she was one of the first midwives in NSW to gain visiting rights to a public Hospital as a privately practising midwife.
Jennifer Reath is the Foundation Peter Brennan Chair of General Practice at Western Sydney University. Since her appointment to this role in 2010 she has recruited and led a team that has established a general practice teaching program across all years of the MB BS Program, attracted external research funding of $9.63M (including $6.341M to Western Sydney University), and built an international reputation for research in urban Aboriginal health and new models of health service delivery.
Professor Reath has worked for almost 30 years in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health including as a General Practitioner in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in both urban and rural Australia. She continues as a part-time General Practitioner at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation. In recognition of her life long work in this area, Professor Reath was awarded the 2016 Associate Member of the Year by the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association.
Professor Reath has held a number of intersecting roles across General Practice and Indigenous Health. Prior to her appointment at Western Sydney she was Associate Professor of Indigenous Primary Health Care at the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Sydney as well as GP Manager of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners' Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit.
Professor Reath is a member of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Faculty (previously Deputy Chair and Chair of the Education Committee). She is also a member of the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Board (chairing their Health Care Quality Committee), the Clinical Council of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network, and the International Advisory Board of Patan Academy of Health Sciences in Nepal. Until 2017 Professor Reath was a member of Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council Human Research Ethics Committee.
Professor Reath's areas of research/teaching interest and expertise include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, Health service development and evaluation, Educational policy, Curriculum development and implementation, and Medical education in a developing world context.
Laurence A. F. Park received the BE (Hons.) and BSc degrees from the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2000, and the PhD degree from the University of Melbourne in 2004. He joined the Computer Science Department at the University of Melbourne as a research fellow in 2004, and was promoted to senior research fellow in 2008.
He joined the School of Computing and Mathematics at Western Sydney University as a lecturer in computational mathematics and statistics in 2010, where he is currently investigating methods of large-scale data analytics and machine learning. Laurence is currently the Director of the Data Science program at WSU and Discipline Leader for Mathematics and Data Science.
Genevieve is a Senior Lecturer (part time) in the Physiotherapy Program at the University of Western Sydney. Genevieve completed her PhD in the area of assessment of physical activity in preschool-age children. She has a passionate interest in the area of physical activity and especially in how paediatric clinicians can promote health and well-being for all children, including those with disability, through engagement in physical activity.
Genevieve’s PhD involved the development and validation of Pre-PAQ – a questionnaire designed to assess physical activity and sedentary behaviour in preschool-age children (aged 3-5 years), including potential influences on their behaviour. The tool was developed for use in epidemiological projects. More recently she was also an associate investigator in the Physical Activity in Western Sydney (PAWS) project, investigating family-based physical activity participation amongst Western Sydney families with young children. She is currently collaborating with researchers from the Institute Of Musculoskeletal Health (Sydney University) on a project aiming to enhance referral by health professionals to suitable exercise and sporting opportunities as part of clinical care for people aged 50+ and people of all ages with physical disabilities. This project is being supported by a Medical Research Future Fund Grant (administered by The University of Sydney).
While Genevieve maintains a key interest in the area of physical activity in children, she is also involved in the “Wobbly Shoe” Project Team with Dr Matt Liston (Kings College, London), Associate Professor Paul Breen (MARCS), Dr Stefania Penkala (SoSH) and Mr Pat Sellars (Durapol Pty Ltd). She is leading investigations in the paediatric arm of the work of this group. The “Mini-Wobbly Shoe” is a novel device that may complement and or improve balance training in children. It is still in a developmental phase of identifying its functionality, safety and acceptability in a paediatric population. Future investigations are planned to investigate if this device can be effectively integrated into current paediatric rehabilitation programs.
Genevieve’s current research endeavours are focused upon (a) an exploration of physical activity behaviour in primary school-age children with intellectual disability (qualitative study); (b) investigation of motor outcomes in infants born preterm and the relationship in motor trajectories as identified by formal assessments undertaken in the first 12 months and (c) investigation of whether differences exist in static and dynamic balance control between children born preterm and typically developing children, using a novel assessment approach (using the “Mini-Wobbly Shoe”).
Academic Course Advisor
Nicole’s research experience focuses on children who are considered the most vulnerable in our community. Prior to working in research, she worked with children and families with disabilities, children and young people in foster care and other marginalised individuals in education and health services. Her interests lie in innovative approaches that can make a difference to improve people’s health and ultimate life quality. Nicole’s research uses tools that are a common frame of reference for children and families, allowing for the voice and experience of the child to be the central focus that guides the interconnections of their environments. Making an impact through system change by understanding issues for transitions in children’s lives and the impact early educational preparations can have for a healthy life.
Nicole works with communities and partners to identify sustainable approaches that children and families engage in as part of their everyday lives. Nicole has used interventions like robotics, cycling, outdoor education, animals, music, horticulture, social media and healthy living programs.
After receiving her PhD in Developmental Psychology and Neuroscience (Michigan State U, 1978), Best was awarded a prestigious NIH postdoctoral fellowship grant (1978-1980) to study psycholinguistics at the world-renowned Haskins Laboratories, where she was supervised by two central figures in speech perception research: Alvin Liberman and Michael Studdert-Kennedy.
From there, she served for 4 years as the Director of the Neuroscience & Education program at Columbia University (1980-1984), and then took up a faculty position in Psychology at Wesleyan University (1984-2004). She then joined MARCS Institute at Western Sydney University, as Chair in Psycholinguistic Research in late 2004.
Best's research and theoretical work has focused primarily on how adults' and infants' experience with their native language shapes their perception and production of the phonological elements of spoken words, including consonants, vowels, lexical tones and prosodic patterns. She has applied this theme broadly, investigating perception and production of spoken language in second language learners and bilinguals, in children with language difficulties, and expanding her research to include sign language, facial expressions, and culture-specific characteristics of music. Her most significant theoretical contribution is her model the effects of language experience on perception: the Perceptual Assimilation Model (PAM: e.g., Best, 1984, 1994a, 1994b, 1995).
Best's work has offered important insights into why many non-native phonetic contrasts are difficult for adults and older infants to discriminate, while others remain much easier. Throughout her work, Best has taken an ecological, or direct realist, philosophical perspective, founded on James Gibson's ecological theory of perception. During her Wesleyan years, she was awarded a highly competitive NIH Research Career Development Award, providing her with several years of advanced linguistics training, which deepened her interest in articulatory information as a viable ecological basis for speech perception.
That interest has been fundamental to the development of the PAM model, and provides the core motivation for her more recent line of research on the effects of regional accent differences in spoken word recognition by infants, toddlers and adults.
Dr Gabrielle Drake is Associate Professor of Social Work in the School of Social Sciences. Gabrielle was formerly Deputy Head of School at the Australian Catholic University and Director of Academic Programs (Social Work and Community Welfare) at Western. She is a recognised expert in the areas of children’s well-being and participation; mental health and disability; homelessness and housing pathways; and inclusive and emancipatory research. Gabrielle has more than twenty years practice experience across a variety of roles and settings including direct practice, community and public sector management, policy and oversight.
Professor Jones is a researcher in The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour & Development. At University level, Caroline is the Discipline Leader for Languages & LInguistics at WSU. Caroline is also Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) and Deputy Director of the Future Technologies Thread in the same Centre.
Caroline received her PhD in Linguistics in 2003 from University of Massachusetts. Her previous academic positions were teaching-research roles in Education at University of New South Wales (Lecturer, 2005-07) and University of Wollongong (Senior Lecturer, 2007-13).
Dr Jenny McDonald is a Senior Lecturer in the Medical Education Unit, School of Medicine and is Coordinator of the Personal and Professional Development program, academic lead of the Portfolio and Chair of the Professionalism committee.
Jenny graduated from the University of Sydney (MBBS, 1983), has a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP, 1993) and is a specialist in Community Child Health with clinical experience and published research in child development and disabilities, Aboriginal child health and the impacts of social disadvantage on child well-being. She has a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Teaching from the University of Melbourne (2017). Jenny is a joint PhD candidate with Western Sydney and Maastricht University.
Jenny worked in private consultant paediatric practice between 1993 and 2000 and as a staff specialist at Campbelltown Hospital between 2001 and 2016 where she established and led a multi-disciplinary child development team. She was a director on the board of Mater Dei School between 1995 and 2007 and served as chair in the years 2004-7.
Kenny is an Adjunct Principal Health Economist at the Translational Health Research Institute. His central focus is trying to support decision makers to improve population health and well-being by making better use of resources. He conducts economic evaluation of health and non-health sector policies to identify best value interventions, and works with decision makers to translate evidence into practice. Particular interests are helping to operationalize the social determinants to reduce inequalities, and working with Indigenous controlled organizations. Prior to academia he worked for 10 years internationally as an applied economist within the public and private sectors.
Elise Baker is a Conjoint Associate Professor of Allied Health. She works collaboratively across Western Sydney University and South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) developing, leading, and supporting programs of research with allied health clinicians, researchers, and industry partners. In working with multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams Elise enjoys discovering innovative and feasible solutions to real-world challenges in the delivery of healthcare for young children. She is passionate about translating knowledge into clinical policy and practice, and the measurement of outcomes of clinical care. With a background in speech-language pathology, Elise is particularly passionate about finding ways to optimize outcomes for young children with communication difficulties including children with speech sound disorders, and children who are late to talk. As a Fellow of Speech Pathology Australia, Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and member of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech, Elise’s research achievements and scholarly work are recognised internationally.
Professor Andrew Francis is the Deputy Dean of the School of Computer, Data, and Mathematical Sciences.
He is a former ARC Future Fellow, who works on a wide range of research problems in algebra and mathematical biology. He joined Western Sydney in the year 2000 as a Lecturer in Mathematics, after a postdoctoral position at the University of Virginia and was Director of the Centre for Research in Mathematics and Data Science from 2015 to 2019.
While his research is in a wide range of fields, it can be characterized as the application of discrete and combinatorial mathematics, especially reflection groups, to problems. Apart from algebra itself, these problems have chiefly been in epidemiology, bacterial genome structure, phylogenetics, and statistics.
Professor Francis has held a number of governance posts, including serving on the Academic Senate 2007-2011. He chaired the Senate's Mathematics Expert Advisory Group in 2010 that reviewed issues relating to all levels of mathematics at the University and made many recommendations. He has served on the Council of the Australian Mathematical Society (2012-14), on the ARC Research Evaluation Committee for the 2015 and 2018 Excellence in Research for Australia exercises, and on the ARC College of Experts (2018-2021).
As a Senior Producer for Digital Futures, Western Sydney University, Dr Kaye-Smith makes rich academic video content that is at the forefront of teaching and learning. She loves working with academics, researchers and students to develop compelling video content about fascinating and ground-breaking research, discoveries and curriculum. It feeds her insatiable appetite for learning and challenging what we know and how we operate. It also allows her to explore different mediums, such as 360 video and Virtual Reality to enhance student engagement and the learning experience.
She has built a reputation as an engaging and inspiring speaker who draws on humour and hopes to break down barriers to change. Her deep understanding of communications and the changing media landscape, allows her to tailor messages in an entertaining, engaging and uplifting way. This hooks her audiences and makes them want to join the change movement.
Dr Kaye-Smith is a dedicated social change expert, commentator and media maker passionate about environmental and humanitarian issues. She specialises in strategizing and communicating for social change and action and has over a decade of experience in media, commentating, lecturing and research including areas such as climate change, overconsumption and every-day life activism.
Her Doctoral research involved creating human-centred solutions and media to conservation issues and She has continued this research postdoctoral. Her Academic career also extends to tutoring and lecturing, which she enjoys, enabling her to share her creativity and enthusiasm in this field.
Dr. Prathyusha Sanagavarapu is a senior lecturer in the School of Education (SoE) and is an active member of the Centre for Educational Research, Translational Health Research Institute and Transforming early Education And Child Health (TeEACH) Research Centres at Western Sydney University (WSU. She is also one of KT Ambassadors of the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE) Knowledge Translation Strategic Team (Sphere-In The-Know) (https://sphere-in-the-know.wixsite.com/ktsp/copy-of-kt-team).
Dr. Sanagavarapu’s research interests include children’ metacognitive thinking, transition to school for diverse children and families, in particular, those affected by food allergy; transition to higher education; blended and flipped learning and mental health and wellbeing. She has completed various collaborative, funded projects on these topics, employing mixed methods and bio-ecological theoretical perspectives. Currently, she is undertaking engaged, funded research on addressing gaps and inequities in knowledge sharing among stakeholders working with refugee children and families (Ian Potter Foundation & WSU) and supporting the development of food allergy literacy of preschool children (SoE). She has a demonstrated track record in publishing her research in many reputable journals. She is also involved in supervising HDR students on topics related to education, health and wellbeing and is available for HDR supervision.
Christa Lam-Cassettari, PhD, is a Senior Research Associate in the School of Psychiatry, UNSW, Academic Unit of Child Psychiatry South West Sydney (AUCS), and Clinical Trial Coordinator for an NHMRC funded partnerships project awarded to Professor Valsamma Eapen and colleagues entitled Watch Me Grow Integrated Approach – WMG-I: Changing practice to improve universal child health and developmental surveillance in the primary care setting. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness and economic cost of the Watch Me Grow – Integrated (WMG-I) intervention and to explore stakeholder and community requirements of child developmental checks in the preschool years. She holds an Adjunct Fellowship at Western Sydney University and The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development BabyLab.
Previous roles include a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Nottingham/NIHR Biomedical Research Unit conducting a Phase 1 Randomised Control Trial investigating the effect of a video-feedback intervention on parent-child communication in the context of congenital child hearing loss; a Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation-funded Research Fellowship at Western Sydney University, The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development BabyLab examining the relationship between vocal emotion in parents' infant-directed speech and early word learning in Sweden and Australia. Christa was the interim Academic Leader BabyLab 2018-2020. Research interests include: quantitative and qualitative differences in infant-directed speech (IDS) input and the role of IDS in supporting early language, emotional availability and social-emotional development in children from 0-5 years of age; similarities and differences in emotional expression and parent-child interactions with mothers and fathers; the effect of postnatal depression on parent-child communication; and the role of family-centred early interventions in improving child outcomes. Lam-Cassettari obtained her PhD examining the influence of infant hearing loss on mother-infant interaction: Implications for infant-directed speech, infant responsiveness and vocabulary development.
Rachel BentleyDeputy Dean
Rachel Bentley is a creative digital strategist, passionate about motivating teams to challenge the way we communicate and learn and implementing organisational change and technology innovation in tertiary education.
Professor and Chair of Epidemiology in the Translational Health Research Institute, with over 20 years of research experience in epidemiology, psychology and public health research, and a developed track record in social determinants of health, suicide and mental health, injury prevention, breast cancer screening, sexual health, agricultural health, and adverse events following immunisation. Andrew has also been involved in international research and capacity building projects in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, China and New Zealand. Andrew is also the Director of the Master of Epidemiology program in the School of Medicine.
ProfessorVirginia Schmied is Professor of Midwifery in the Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University and is one of the two Health and Well-being Theme Champion at the university. Virginia holds a Visiting Professorship at the University of Central Lancashire (UK) and is a core member of TeEACH. In her role, she collaborates with other senior academics at WSU to build capacity in maternal and child health research.
Professor Schmied has a strong national and international reputation in the discipline of midwifery and in the field of maternal and child health. She researches and supervises higher degree students in topics addressing the social and emotional health and well-being of women and men in the transition to parenthood, breastfeeding and young child feeding; perinatal mental health, particularly in vulnerable communities and researching improvements in service delivery and professional practice. She is particularly interested in how relationship-based care leads to improved health outcomes for women, children and families.
Professor Schmied has held national competitive grants from ARC and NHMRC and she has conducted consultancy work including leading the development of the national framework for universal health and development services to children and families of the Australian Government. Most recently she is leading the team reviewing the NSW government Safe Start policy and guideline. She has published over 200 refereed journal articles, book chapters and published reports and regularly presents (including as a keynote speaker) at national and international conferences. Her research has been translated to policy and practice, for example through the development of health policy, models of care, teaching resources for consumers and health professionals. In 2016 she was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in High Degree Research Supervision and Training and in 2018 she led a team that was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Excellence in Learning and Teaching award for innovations in perinatal multidisciplinary learning and teaching.
Dr Catharine Fleming is a Lecturer in Public Health in the School Health Science, Western Sydney University and is Stream Co-Lead for Youth Participation and Engagement in the Young and Resilient Research Centre. Dr Fleming has a PhD in paediatric nutrition and dietetics and over 12 years of experience in paediatric nutrition relating to infant and young child feeding, paediatric food allergy and childhood obesity. Dr Fleming has research experience in mixed methods, co-design, clinical and public health research methodologies covering quantitative, qualitative and data linkage studies. This experience has involved working with families, children and population-based data in paediatric nutrition in a variety of clinical, community and global settings. Dr Fleming is building a body of work focusing on protecting against lifelong chronic disease through investigating different aspects of feeding and diet in the most teachable moments of childhood and adolescents. Dr Fleming is passionate about ensuring a sustainable nutritional change occurs for children and adolescents through co-designed and the development of interventions by young people for young people.
Associate Professor Christine Johnston is Associate Dean, International in the School of Education. She teaches primarily in the areas of early childhood intervention and evidence-based practice. She has a proven record as a project co-ordinator and extensive experience in the use of multi-method approaches and the eco-cultural paradigm as a research tool. A strong thread throughout her research program is that of linking research to practice. This was notably the case in the ARC Vision and Living Skills (VaLS) Project in partnership with the Royal Blind Society. The project combined both a strong theoretical base and a concern for practical applications and intervention. The project culminated in the production of a training package for parents and professionals which has been translated into four European languages. She also co-led a multidisciplinary ARC study which explored the psychosocial factors which affect self-management in young people with Type 1 diabetes. Current projects include research around the implementation of the NDIS, the development of information resources for families and children living with global developmental delay and school readiness. Christine maintains a strong involvement in the early childhood intervention field both nationally and internationally through her teaching, her work with professional groups and her research.
Kerry has viewed firsthand the way services working in partnership with families enhance children's well-being and development as well as add value to the community, build social cohesion and connectedness. Prior to joining WSU, she worked extensively in the early childhood field, managing a range of services for young children and their families. These experiences have significantly influenced her teaching and research which focuses on enhancing the inclusion of children with disabilities through reciprocal and collaborative relationships, family-centred practices and the role of early childhood educators as community leaders.
Unit Coordinator School of Social Sciences
Samia Michail has over 25 years of experience in the welfare field in direct service provision, management in the non-government sector, senior roles in government and currently in academia, where she continues to apply her passion for children and young people’s participation in decision making. Her research and consultancy services in the sector include child voice mechanisms in the current child protection reforms in NSW.
Samia’s current postgraduate research scholarship allows her to develop a socio-historical map of the political ecology of child voice in the NSW child protection system and explore what we can learn from our past. She has national and international publications on children and young people’s participation including child-led research and was the recipient of the Jane Woodruff Fellowship in 2014 to develop this work further. Her interest in child protection began as a winner of the Child Protection Awards in 1997.