Professor of Health Economics at the School of Population Health, University of South Australia

I'm an applied economist and social policy researcher with an interest in the big questions that affect health and well-being.
With increasing evidence that family-based adversity in childhood has a major influence on mental and physical well-being and social and economic outcomes across the life course, my research program is designed to better understand and ultimately address this pathway into disadvantage. If Australian society continues to experience unacceptable levels of child maltreatment – too many children who do not feel safe and are not safe – early death to suicide and injury, welfare dependency, homelessness, mental illness and disrupted families will inevitably follow.

My research program runs across several inter-related fields; working with an interdisciplinary team and in partnership with the NGO sector and government to:
i) Describe and understanding the relationship between childhood adversity and trauma and poor outcomes
- what are the underlying mechanisms
- adding to the empirical evidence – using a large linked data set of persons born in SA since 1986
ii) Explore the options for intervening to disrupt these pathways, with a focus on child and adolescent mental health, family support services and community-driven cross-disciplinary models
iii) Policy and practice translation elements that can achieve change on the ground that will help vulnerable children and families and reduce societal costs.

Experience

  • 2007–2019
    Professor of health Economics and Social policy, University of South Australia
  • 1992–2007
    Assoc Professor, Health Economics , Monash University