Team investigators

Lisa Amir

Lisa AmirLisa Amir is a medical practitioner with a long-standing interest in women's health. She qualified as a lactation consultant in 1989 and continues to work in this area in private practice and at the Royal Women's Hospital. She completed a research masters degree at the Key Centre examining the role of Candida albicans in nipple and breast pain in lactating women. She received a NHMRC Public Health PhD scholarship and completed a PhD entitled "Prevalence and prevention of mastitis in lactating women" at MCHR. She is continuing to research nipple and breast pain in breastfeeding women as well as initiating research into medications for breastfeeding women. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the online journal, International Breastfeeding Journal.

Mridula Bandyopadhyay

Mridula BandyopadhyayMridula Bandyopadhyay is a demographer and an anthropologist. She has extensive experience working in maternal and child health projects in rural India, particularly in reproductive and sexual health, family planning, and determinants of health. She has been working with immigrant and refugee women's health research in Australia for several years. She has worked in various Asia-Pacific countries including India, Hong Kong, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, and Myanmar on complex population health issues. Mridula has also worked in comparative public and social policy, education and multi-media projects. She's worked in primary health care, gender and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and gender-based violence and health. Her research interests include: gender and reproductive health and reproductive rights; sexual health; gender and HIV/AIDS; determinants of health; gender-based violence.

Mary-Ann Davey

Mary-Ann DaveyMary-Ann Davey came to health research from senior clinical roles in nursing, midwifery, and maternal and child health. She worked as a senior research officer at the Royal Children's Hospital Research Institute (now Murdoch Childrens Research Institute) from 1993-99, primarily as an investigator on community-based infant vaccine trials. She has worked at MCHR since 1999 on a number of projects including the 2000 Survey of Recent Mothers, Early Births and PinC postnatal care projects. She was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award to undertake a Doctor of Public Health program in 2002, investigating the events that follow induction of labour in otherwise uncomplicated first births. She changed to part-time enrolment in 2004 when she was appointed as an epidemiologist at the Victorian Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity. She is keen to develop her skills in epidemiology and biostatistics and has completed several subjects in the Biostatistics Collaboration of Australia program.

Della Forster

Della ForsterDella Forster has been a midwife since 1989. She joined Mother & Child Health Research in April 1999 as joint project co-ordinator of the ABFAB breastfeeding trial. Della completed her PhD in 2005. She was a joint chief investigator of the statewide review of Public In-hospital postnatal Care (PinC) and is one of the chief investigators for COSMOS, a trial of caseload midwifery. Her current research interests include models of maternity care, postnatal care and volunteer peer support for breastfeeding. Della also works part time as a Midwifery Consultant the Royal Women's Hospital.

Ya-seng (Arthur) Hsueh

Ya-seng (Arthur) HsuehYa-seng (Arthur) Hsueh grew up in Taiwan and moved to Australia in 2006. He holds a Bachelor degree in Public Health from National Taiwan University, and three degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA: a Masters in Applied Economics, a Masters in Hospital Administration, and a PhD in Health Services Organisation and Policy (with a specialty major in health economics). Dr Hsueh taught at National Taiwan University in the areas of health economics, health policy and management. In policy and programme evaluation, he redesigned the hospital accreditation system in Taiwan by incorporating new international practices (such as patient safety and patient-centred care), and setting new standards and criteria for hospital accreditation. He has also been invited to chair major committees and provide advice and consultancy for the Department of Health in Taiwan. Dr Hsueh has been coordinating the teaching of Health Economics, Economic Evaluation, as well as Health Economics and Program Evaluation at The University of Melbourne since 2007. He joined Mother & Child Health Research part-time as a health economist researcher in 2008.

Tanya Koolmatrie

Tanya Koolmatrie is a Ngarrindjeri woman from South Australia. She grew up on a mission called 'Raukkan' which in her language means "Meeting Place". She has a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours in Sociology from Deakin University, Institute of Koori Education. Tanya joined the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families research group at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute as Aboriginal Research Officer in July 2007, and is commencing a PhD focusing on understanding the emotional and social well being of Aboriginal women during pregnancy and postnatal periods. Her research interests are in the area of Indigenous Research in particular the relationships and impact of Indigenous identity and diversity for access and accessibility of maternity and primary care services for Indigenous women and families. Tanya is interested in looking at ways to contribute to positive experiences for Indigenous women in access to services, service delivery and contributing to an overall positive experience for Aboriginal women during pregnancy and postnatally.

Helen McLachlan

Helen McLachlanHelen McLachlan has a clinical and research background in midwifery. She is a Senior Lecturer in midwifery in the Division of Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University and is a Senior Research Fellow at MCHR. Helen joined MCHR in 1999 as joint project co-ordinator of the ABFAB breastfeeding trial. Helen is a chief investigator of COSMOS, a randomised controlled trial of caseload midwifery. Her research interests include cultural aspects of childbirth (PhD thesis); models of maternity care; postnatal care and breastfeeding. She has conducted studies using a variety of research designs (eg RCTs, surveys, focus groups, qualitative studies). Her major teaching areas include pregnancy and postnatal care.

Jo Rayner

Jo RaynerJo Rayner is a Research Fellow with MCHR where she has worked since 2000. She has a professional background in nursing and has a joint appointment with the Division of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University. Jo has worked on many studies at MCHR including the Tall Girls study; a case-control study of preterm birth in Victoria; and a variety of postnatal care projects and her expertise is qualitative research. Jo's PhD was an extension of the Tall Girls study (a long-term follow-up of a cohort of Australian women assessed and treated with synthetic oestrogens as adolescents to reduce their height), and examined the experiences of being a tall adolescent girl, in light of a high prevalence of major depression among the study cohort. Jo received an NRMRC post-graduate scholarship to complete her PhD and her research interests include women's health, maternity care and women's use of complementary therapies to enhance fertility.

Angela Taft

Angela TaftAngela Taft is a Senior Research Fellow at Mother and Child Health Research, La Trobe University, a VicHealth Public Health Fellow and an Honorary Fellow in the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne. Angela's research interests focus on health system responses to violence against women and children and women's sexual and reproductive health. She is currently the principal investigator of MOSAIC, a cluster randomised trial (CRT) of mentor mother support for pregnant women or recent mothers experiencing partner violence and a chief investigator in the WEAVE CRT examining partner violence management in general practice and located at the University of Melbourne, both NHMRC funded studies. She is also the principal investigator of an ARC-funded study of emergency contraception over-the-counter in Australia and an associate investigator with the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health.

Jane Yelland

Jane Yelland is a Research Fellow in the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families research group at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. She has a background in nursing and women's health and moved into research as a project officer with the Victorian Ministerial Review of Birthing Services in the late 1980's. Jane spent 16 years at Mother and Child Health Research at La Trobe University where her research program focused on health services research and cross-cultural research. She has a particular interest in women's views and experiences of maternity and postnatal care. Jane's PhD evaluated major reform to the organisation and delivery of maternity care at four Melbourne hospitals and the impact of this change on women's experiences of care and maternal health outcomes. She is currently an investigator on a population-based survey of recent mothers in South Australia and Victoria; a 'sister' study to the survey, the Aboriginal Families Study; and a study piloting a new approach to early postnatal care.

Karalyn McDonald

Karalyn McDonaldKaralyn McDonald is a health sociologist with an interest in women's health issues. Her main research focus has been the lived experience of HIV-positive women in Australia. Her PhD was a qualitative study that explored HIV-positive women's reproductive choices, the impact of an HIV diagnosis on motherhood as well as issues of stigma and disclosure. Her previous research explored gender differences among people living with HIV/AIDS in Australia. Karalyn joined MCHR in October 2007. Currently Karalyn is a team investigator on COMPASS and working on three qualitative projects; Are women really scared of giving birth? Women's explanations for choosing elective caesareans for their first birth; How do obese women interpret the evidence? A qualitative study exploring obese women's understandings of the medical evidence and increased risks that their obesity poses to the perinatal period; and Women's' attitudes and experiences of breastfeeding - does maternal weight make a difference? Karalyn is also a Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society.

Paul Agius

Paul AgiusPaul Agius joined MCHR in January 2010. Previously, he held a research fellow position at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society where his primary research focus was the sexual health related behaviour of young people in Australia. At MCHR Paul's work involves both collaboration on several projects across different areas of maternal health and also the provision of statistical and data management design expertise to other researchers at the centre. In addition to this, he is a team investigator on COMPASS and is also collaborating with researchers from the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and the University of Washington on research examining the association between adverse sexual health outcomes and alcohol use for Australian adolescents.

Victoria Palmer

Jennifer Terpstra