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Research Advisory Group

We have a group of people who advise us as we measure the economic, social, health and cultural impact of our work against community, government and international benchmarks.

These advisers are key to our monitoring and evaluation process and we acknowledge and thank them for their support and valuable advice. Their names and brief biographies are listed alphabetically below.

Read more about our research and how we measure our impact.

 

 

Professor Fiona Arney
Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia

Professor Fiona Arney is the Chair of Child Protection and Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia. Professor Arney is motivated by the desire to see children’s lives transformed through enhancing the responsiveness of families, communities, service providers and systems to the needs of vulnerable children.

Throughout her career, Professor Arney has worked across a wide variety of research topics. More recently, her work has focused on areas such as family decision making in child protection matters for Aboriginal families; the use of child protection teams to support regional and remote child protection offices; examining proxy indicators for neglect, and effectives responses to child neglect; and family violence prevention in remote communities with a particular focus on engaging Aboriginal men.

 

Dr Shona Bass
Director, Early Life Foundations

Dr Shona Bass is the Managing Director of Early Life Foundations and a renowned consultant who has worked in the education, medical and health sector for thirty years. Shona completed her PhD in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne. She conducts a range of professional development sessions across Australia and internationally for staff working across all sectors of early childhood and primary education as well as a range of government organisations.

Bass was a Professor and Head of School at Deakin University and has been published widely. Dr Bass’ role as Director of Early Life Foundations is focused on international initiatives, research and Aboriginal education. She works extensively across the Northern Territory with preschool, primary and assistant teachers working in Aboriginal communities. Shona used the Walker Learning pedagogy to develop a Both Ways Learning Model to engage Aboriginal children in education and to personalise their learning in a developmentally and culturally appropriate way. The Both Ways Learning Model also empowered Aboriginal educators and assistant educators to bring home language, community and culture to the educational setting.

 

Associate Professor Sally Brinkman
Co-Director, Fraser Mustard Centre
Senior Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute

Associate Professor Sally Brinkman is a social epidemiologist with the majority of her research focusing on societies’ impact on child development. Associate Professor Brinkman is a Senior Research Fellow and Program Manager Faculty Member at the world-renowned Telethon Kids Institute in Perth. She is also the Co-Director of the Fraser Mustard Centre, an innovative initiative between the Telethon Kids Institute and the South Australia Department of Education and Child Development aimed to improve research translation.

Dr Brinkman is well known for spearheading the use of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in Australia, being the first to pilot the instrument outside of Canada. She brings locally, nationally and internationally recognised epidemiological skills particularly in relation to population monitoring of child development and education. She has a commitment to practical, pragmatic and translatable research, with over 60 publications on topics such as child physical activity and nutrition levels, how child development varies across communities and the impact of socio economics and service integration on child development.

 

Mr Matthew James
Branch Manager, Evidence and Evaluation, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

Matthew James is an Assistant Secretary, Information and Evaluation Branch in the Schools, Information and Evaluation Division in the Department of the Prime Minster and Cabinet (PM&C). From 2008 to 2013, Matthew was Branch Manager in the Performance and Evaluation Branch in the former Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). Prior to joining FaHCSIA, Matthew worked in the Department of Education Employment and Training (DEEWR). At DEEWR, Matthew worked on employment policy and implementation as well as workplace relations policy and analysis. From 2002 to 2004 he was Counsellor, Employment, Education, Science and Training in the Australian Delegation to the OECD in Paris.

 

Dr Tim Moore
Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Community Child Health,
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne

Dr Tim Moore trained as a teacher and psychologist at the University of Melbourne and has worked as an educational and developmental psychologist for over 30 years. He has played a leading role in the development of early child intervention services for young children with developmental disabilities. In his current position at the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH), Dr. Moore works with colleagues from different disciplines in synthesising research evidence, providing advice to state and federal government and non-government agencies on best practices in early childhood, and conducting research and project work in generalist and specialist early childhood services and in service development. He has been the principal writer on numerous CCCH reviews, reports and policy briefs, and is a frequent keynote and workshop presenter.

 

Professor Sven Silburn
Director, Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research

Professor Sven Silburn is a national leader in clinical, epidemiological and evaluative research in child development and education, youth mental health and suicide prevention. Professor Silburn was a chief investigator on the Western Australian Aboriginal Child Health Survey of over 5600 children, young people and their families. This reported the first independently validated data on the extent of the intergenerational effects of forced separation on the health and wellbeing of the current generation of Aboriginal children and their families. He was also responsible for the validation studies for the establishment of the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) and its adaptation for use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Professor Silburn has served on several national, state and territory advisory boards and been active in policy advocacy in the areas of the developmental health of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children and suicide prevention.

 

Associate Professor David Thomas
Head, Wellbeing and Preventable Chronic Disease,
Menzies School of Health Research

Associate Professor David Thomas has worked in Aboriginal health and health research for nearly 30 years. He has worked both as a doctor and a researcher and is particularly interested in the translation of research into policy and practice through advocacy, collaborations with policy makers and practitioners, and his membership on several important national and NT committees.

Associate Professor Thomas established and has led the Tobacco Control Research Program at Menzies since 2007. He has completed research about many aspects of Aboriginal tobacco control, including the national cohort study Talking About The Smokes, a Randomised Control Trial, a Cochrane review, qualitative research, evaluations of local and national policies and projects, and monitoring trends in smoking. This work has been in collaboration with Australian and international researchers, including many Aboriginal researchers, and in close partnership with Aboriginal communities and organisations.

 

Professor Komla Tsey
Research Professor, Centre for Research and Innovation in Sustainability Education, The Cairns Institute, College of Arts Social Science and Education, James Cook University

Professor Komla Tsey was born in Ghana and studied at the University of Ghana and the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Komla now lives in Australia, researching and learning about Aboriginal development, health and wellbeing. He continues to undertake long-term rural development research in Ghana. Komla has authored over 100 peer-reviewed academic papers and reports. His research interests include: the social determinants of health and wellbeing; community empowerment; transformational leadership development; research priority setting to improve the societal impact and benefit of research. Komla has a passion and commitment for learning as key to building healthy sustainable organisations and communities. He enjoys spending time with his extended family and friends, and loves walking.

 

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