Lead investigators

Rhonda Small

Rhonda SmallRhonda Small has worked at MCHR since the Centre was established in 1991 and was appointed Director in 2009. Rhonda has been involved in several programs of research over the last 20 years. Her PhD investigated maternity care experiences and postnatal health of Vietnamese, Turkish and Filipino women in Melbourne and her current research is focused on analyses of routine perinatal data investigating country of birth variations in obstetric outcomes. She is Co-Leader (with A/Prof Anita Gagnon) of the international perinatal research collaboration: ROAM - Reproductive Outcomes And Migration, working with perinatal researchers across Europe, the US and Canada. Rhonda has also been involved in the Centre's major research program on maternal depression, ranging from descriptive studies on prevalence and women's experiences of depression, to three randomised trials of interventions to improve women's emotional wellbeing after birth. Other areas of work include being a lead investigator with COMPASS, an NHMRC capacity building grant in population health research, and a chief investigator with Angela Taft in research to improve maternal health in the context of intimate partner violence.

Stephanie Brown

Stephanie BrownStephanie Brown is a Principal Research Fellow and Group Leader for the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families group at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. She is currently leading two large NHMRC funded studies: the Maternal Health Cohort Study and a population-based survey of recent mothers in Victoria and South Australia. Her research interests include the natural history of maternal physical and emotional health after childbirth and role of obstetric risk factors in contributing to maternal morbidity, outcomes of early obstetric discharge, and assessment of women's views and experiences of different models of maternity care. She has a background in women's health policy and consumer advocacy, and worked for many years at La Trobe University's Mother & Child Health Research centre prior to moving to MCRI in January 2007.

Jane Gunn

Jane GunnJane Gunn is the inaugural Chair of Primary Care Research in the Department of General Practice at The University of Melbourne. A general practitioner, Jane's doctoral research was on postnatal physical and mental health in general practice. Her current research interests include depression and related disorders and the complex interplay between emotional well-being, physical health and illness. She serves on a number of professional committees related to general practice such as the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners National Standing Committee-Research, the steering committee of the beyondblue Victorian Centre of Excellence for Research and Evaluation in Depression and Related Disorders and the National Prescribing Service Research and Development Working Group. Jane has led the development of the multi-disciplinary diamond consortium (Diagnosis, Management & Outcomes of Depression in Primary Care) which aims to build capacity in primary care mental health research and evaluation (www.diamond.unimelb.edu.au).

Karen Willis

Karen WillisKaren Willis is a Senior Lecturer in sociology at the School of Sociology and Social Work, University of Tasmania, and joined COMPASS on secondment for 12 months in February 2008. Her research interests are in health policy, health technology, and women's health. She is also passionate about qualitative method. Karen teaches qualitative research methods and has been working with the Melbourne based Qualitative Research Methods Group in the development of guidelines for high quality qualitative health research that are accessible and informative for the wide range of researchers that wish to use these methods. Karen is also interested in complex interventions in health care. She has recently completed a project exploring how people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease respond to a self management program. She has conducted evaluation research for NEWPIN - a program to assist parents of young children. Her recent research has comprised an award winning collaboration with local government to explore children's hopes for the future, and, more recently, perceptions of risk amongst a community deemed at risk of flooding.

Christine MacArthur

Christine MacArthur is a perinatal epidemiologist and Professor of Maternal and Child Epidemiology at the University of Birmingham in the UK. She is a visiting lead investigator with COMPASS. Christine has extensive experience in maternal health research, including complex interventions to improve maternal health outcomes. Her research interests include postnatal care, smoking in pregnancy, maternal depression, breastfeeding initiation, incontinence and epidural analgesia, as well as maternal health in resource poor settings.