Our People

Janette Perz

Janette Perz

Professor of Health Psychology and Acting Director in the Centre for Health Research, has a track record of highly productive collaborations in sexual and reproductive health research programs. She has been a chief investigator on 4 ARC grants, an associate investigator on 2 ARC projects and has been awarded several external research contracts and competitive University grants. Her research encompasses three related programs of research. Firstly, a significant research program in psycho-oncology including the evaluation of gendered experiences and interventions for cancer carers; research on sexual experiences and interventions for couples facing cancer; and an examination of changes to fertility across a range of cancer types. Secondly, a program of research in sexual and reproductive health including the experience of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in heterosexual and lesbian relationships; the development of and evaluation of a couple-based psychological intervention for PMS; sexual wellbeing and reproductive needs in CALD populations; and sexual and psychological wellbeing during menopause and midlife. Thirdly, research in mental health, early intervention and primary care models including cognitive-behavioural interventions for disadvantaged groups; interventions for post-partum depression; and gender and therapy referrals in general practice.  


Hillary Bambrick

Hilary Bambrick

Professor and Chair of Population Health in the Centre for Health Research is an environmental epidemiologist and bioanthropologist whose principal research interests include the health impacts of climate variability and change, especially on more vulnerable populations here and abroad, and climate adaptation planning for better heath. She leads a team under the CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship Health Cluster that is investigating vulnerability, impacts and adaptation in Australian urban environments, and another project that seeks to quantify health impacts on Australia's Indigenous population. Her international collaborations include research in the Pacific and Africa. The health outcomes she is particularly interested in include respiratory and vector-borne disease, child growth and development, and obesity-related disease. Hilary is also a Visiting Fellow at The Australian National University and Research Fellow at the Australia Institute. She consults for government, having led the health impacts assessment for the Garnaut Climate Change Review and the Health Synthesis for the Sydney Adaptation Strategy. In 2011 she received a NSW Young Tall Poppy Award for outstanding achievements in scientific research and communication.


Elizabeth Conroy

Elizabeth Conroy

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Health Research, completed her PhD on child maltreatment, opioid dependence and comorbid mental health in 2010 at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. She has particular expertise in undertaking health services research among marginalised populations. She is currently coordinating a 3-year evaluation of a 'housing first' model for chronically homeless adults with complex needs in Western Sydney and an evaluation of a pilot service aimed at sustaining individuals at risk of homelessness within their community of origin. Her other most recent projects include system and service integration in the homelessness, drug and alcohol, and mental health sectors, and contraception use and barriers to sexual health service utilisation among drug-dependent female clients. 



Shima Ghassem Pour


Shima Ghassem Pour

Associate Research Fellow, Centre for Health Research, recently completed her PhD on the topic of clustering longitudinal health data using Hidden Markov Models at University of Western Sydney. Shima is interested in modelling, analysing and predicting health trajectories.  She is currently working on the development of a microsimulation project that aims to produce long-term forecasts of health and health care utilisation under a variety of policy scenarios. 




Federico Girosi

Federico Girosi

Associate Professor in the Centre for Health Research within the School of Medicine at the University of Western Sydney (UWS). Dr Girosi is currently the leader of the Health Program within the Capital Market CRC (CMCRC), of which UWS is a partner. Dr Girosi is also an investigator in the Geographic and Resource Analysis in Primary Health Care (GRAPHC) initiative, a project conducted in collaboration with the Australian National University that studies geographic variation in primary care. Dr Girosi is also leading a microsimulation project, in collaboration with CMCRC, that will allow long term projections of health and health care utilization for the near-elderly population in NSW. In a related project Dr Girosi is investigating the problem of clustering patient health trajectories using machine learning and data mining methods. Dr Girosi is also a CI in an NHMRC funded randomized control trial for an otitis media intervention in urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Dr Girosi holds a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard University and worked at the RAND Corporation between 2003 and 2011 as a health economist and modeler. Dr Girosi also holds a PhD in Physics from the University of Genoa, Italy, and conducted research for 10 years at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working in the fields of computer vision and statistical learning theory.


 Professor Phillipa Hay Phillipa Hay

Professor of Mental Health, School of Medicine, is well known nationally and internationally for her work and area expertise in eating disorders. She leads a diverse research program with broad goals to reduce community and individual burden from eating disorders. These include seminal publications in analytic epidemiologic studies, treatments in eating disorders, and meta-analyses as well as primary research. She is past-President of the Australian Academy for Eating Disorders, current deputy-Chair of the National Eating Disorders Collaboration, current Co-Chair of the Sisterhood Affiliate and Chapters Committee, member of the scientific committee and Co-Chair 2014 conference committee of the International Academy for Eating Disorders, and past co-convenor of the 2006 Eating Disorders Research Society scientific meeting. She is Chief Investigator on two NHMRC grants and one ARC grant. In 2012 she became the founding Editor-in-Chief (with Prof Stephen Touyz) of the Journal for Eating Disorders (opens in a new window)


Professor Anthony Maeder

Anthony Maeder

Professor of Health Informatics, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, has been working on ICT methods to support Services and Outcomes needs. He has developed an adaptive stability-based approach to clustering for data mining in sparse data environments, for example analysing demographic patterns of health service use using admissions records, which have low demographic content. Other projects include a web-based application for promotion of wellness through recoding of exercise and nutrition data, leading to performance monitoring in peer group "challenge" activities, computerisation of the collection and analysis of consultation session data in Traditional Chinese Medicine, methods for dealing with data volume and messaging in telehealth environments where integration with electronic health records is necessary, and establishing the "Smart Space" computer laboratory in the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, which will allow collection and analysis of fine grained human movement and physiological signals data to measure effectiveness of various assistive technologies and ICT based device usage, in healthcare scenario settings. 



Andrew Page

Professor and Chair of Epidemiology in the Centre for Health Research, with 10 years 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. Broad areas of interest include communicable and non-communicable disease outcomes using life-course, genetic and cultural epidemiology approaches, and cross-sectional and longitudinal designs at both ecological and individual levels. 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 Academic Programs the Masters of Public Health and Health Science courses in the School of Science and Health. 


Nicole Schembri

 Associate Research Fellow, Centre for Health Research, is an Animal Scientist working in the area of social veterinary epidemiology, risk communication, preparedness, and response to a wide range of veterinary and zoonotic threats and emergencies. Nicole's specific research interests are in risk perception, preparedness and response to low probability/high consequence emerging infectious diseases such as FMD and PRRS in commercial and small-scale pig production; avian influenza in small-scale poultry flocks and zoonoses, such as Hendra virus. A number of her projects are interdisciplinary and are systems-based, and her human-animal research is grounded in the concept of One Health. Nicole is currently an investigator in a project focussed on understanding the risk mitigation practices of horse owners (HHALTER) for the National Hendra Virus Research Program. Prior to the University of Western Sydney Nicole worked for 8 years in the Department of Farm Animal and Veterinary Public Health at The University of Sydney and a further 4 years as a Special Projects/Animal Health Officer at the Moss Vale Rural Lands Protection Board (now NSW Land and Livestock Services).  

mel_taylorMel Taylor

Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Health Research, is an Occupational Psychologist working in the area of risk communication, preparedness, and psychosocial response to a wide range of threats, disasters, and emergencies. Her specific research interests are in risk perception, protection motivation, and preparedness and response to low probability/high consequence events; such as chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) terrorism and emerging infectious diseases and zoonoses, such as Hendra virus. Mel has explored the use of social media in recent emergencies and disasters, and has recently been investigating the disaster preparedness of pet owners and the experiences of pet owners in natural disasters. Many of her projects are interdisciplinary and are systems-based, and her human-animal research is grounded in concept of One Health. Mel is currently lead researcher for a National Hendra Virus Research Program project focussed on understanding the risk mitigation practices of horse owners (HHALTER) and she is a chief investigator on an ARC grant investigating the resilience of Brisbane communities after the 2011 floods. Prior to her academic research career at the University of Western Sydney Mel worked for 17 years in Human Factors and Occupational Psychology research with the UK Ministry of Defence. 


Jane Ussher

Jane Ussher

Professor, Centre for Health Research, was awarded a personal chair in Women's Health Psychology in 2002, and has been working on research on gendered health since she started her PhD in 1983. Her research focuses on examining gendered factors underlying mental health problems; subjectivity and identity in relation to the reproductive body and sexuality; and the gendered experience of cancer and cancer caring. As a trained clinical psychologist, she has also made a contribution to the integration of research and clinical practice in women's health, and has developed a women centred psychological treatment for PMS. She is currently CI on 4 ARC grants, examining a couples intervention for PMS; sexuality concerns for people with cancer and their partners; constructions and experiences of fertility after cancer; and smoking in young women . Jane is editor of the Routledge Women and Psychology book series, and author of a number of books, including The Psychology of the Female Body (Routlege 1989), Women's Madness: Misogyny or Mental Illness? (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991), Fantasies of Femininity: Reframing the Boundaries of Sex (Penguin, 1997), Managing the Monstrous Feminine: Regulating the Reproductive Body (Routledge, 2006), and Women's Madness: Myth or Experience? (Routledge 2011).


Pavla Vaneckova

Research Fellow, Centre for Health Research, research focuses on the impact of climate and weather on human health; in particular, on how extremely high environmental temperatures affect people with chronic diseases and whether environmental, demographic, socio-economic factors and spatial location modify the risk of injury. She is currently participating in a research project investigating the vulnerability of the population of western Sydney to climate change. This will contribute to an ongoing effort to develop customised prevention and adaptation strategies for the area. In her research, she uses time series analysis, spatial statistical methods and geographic information systems.    

Associate Members

  • Jennifer Reath, Professor, Foundation Chair of General Practice, School of Medicine
  • Gerald Muench, Professor, Pharmacology, School of Medicine
  • Aiden O'Loughlin, Senior Lecturer, Cardiology, School of Medicine
  • Danuta Chessor, Lecturer, Psychology, School of Social Sciences and Psychology
  • Renu Narchal, Lecturer, Psychology, School of Social Sciences and Psychology
  • Thomas Astell-Burt, Lecturer in Public Health, School of Science and Health
  • Louisa Jorm, Director, Centre for Big Data Research in Health, UNSW
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