Study with us


Why do your postgraduate study at the Judith Lumley Centre?

The Judith Lumley Centre is an internationally recognised multi-disciplinary research centre within the School of Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University. We're located in Melbourne's north-eastern suburb of Bundoora, the campus is set in beautiful native bushland and with its own wildlife sanctuary, just 14 km from the city centre.

The primary focus of research at the Judith Lumley Centre is in the following areas:

  • Breastfeeding;
  • Child, family and community health;
  • Mother and infant health and maternity services;
  • Perinatal mental health;
  • Preventing and reducing violence against woman and children;
  • Sexual and reproductive health;
  • Transition to contemporary parenthood – preparation and support;
  • Work and family

The Judith Lumley Centre has a strong interest in health services research building on observational studies to design and implement intervention studies in hospitals, primary care and community settings. A major focus is the maternal sequelae of reproductive events, in particular antecedents of preterm birth and physical and psychological problems initiated or aggravated by pregnancy, labour or birth and intimate partner violence. Another focus of the work here at the Centre is the health and childbearing experiences of immigrant and refugee women, and the development of culturally relevant research methods and approaches.

Studies conducted at the Centre address major public health issues in terms of the associated burden of disease, implications for women and their families or the society as a whole. Staff are also actively involved in advocacy for evidence based policy in areas of Centre scholarship and participate in international research including the Cochrane Collaborations.

Studies include use of routinely collected data and record linkage, observational surveys and interview studies, cohort studies and randomised trials with long term follow-up of participants.

Interested in postgraduate study at the Judith Lumley Centre?

Postgraduate study at the Judith Lumley Centre is carried out through enrolment in research degrees at Masters and Doctorate levels. We do not run postgraduate coursework degrees.

Inquiries from students interested in undertaking studies with us should contact the Postgraduate Coordinator Associate Professor Amanda Cooklin. Application for admission to postgraduate work requires that you have discussed the proposed research project with a staff member who confirms an interest and capacity to supervise.

Staff at the Judith Lumley Centre have a range of expertise including nursing, midwifery, general practice, epidemiology, sociology, health economics, ethnography and biostatistics. Many studies involve supervision across a range of methodological and theoretical perspectives

Recent postgraduate study topics:

  • How does the enhanced maternal and child health program in Victoria support women experiencing family violence?
  • Implementing and evaluating place-based initiatives for children
  • The RUBY breastfeeding randomised trial: A mixed methods study of the implementation of an effective breastfeeding peer support intervention
  • Storage and transport of expressed breast milk for infants in two neonatal intensive care units: exploratory studies in Australia and Sri Lanka
  • Examining the postnatal depression and anxiety screening and management practices of maternal and child health nurses in Victoria, Australia: A multiphase study
  • Exploring hospital practices immediately after birth in Saudi Arabia: A mixed method study
  • Exploring the introduction, expansion and sustainability of caseload midwifery: A national cross-sectional study
  • Mixed methods study of post abortion women and service providers in Ghana
  • Exploring breastfeeding initiation and maintenance for First Nations women and infants in Victoria, Australia

For a list of PhD topics see our Annual Report.[PDF 9.15MB]

Support for postgraduates

We offer a supportive and scholarly environment at the Judith Lumley Centre with monthly postgraduate seminars, alternating with Journal Club and lunchtime seminars from visiting international, national and in-house scholars. The Centre also provides support for the rehearsal of conference papers and research proposals.

The Judith Lumley Centre combines a climate of rigorous intellectual inquiry with support to complete degrees either full-time or part-time, depending on students capacity within the available time. Students are encouraged to meet with their principal and co-supervisors in regular monthly minimum meetings. Students are provided with a desk and computer and with access to other research support (e.g. statistical advice) if required.

The Judith Lumley Centre and the School of Nursing and Midwifery separately provide financial postgraduate support including, e.g. for conference papers and travel, research expenses and publications. All candidates enrolled in a PhD are expected to undertake a confirmation of candidature toward the end of the first year.

Application process

The application process

First please read the web site and all other material, for example research papers written by staff in whose work you are interested.

For further information please refer to the Study website.

If you are an international student, please read the additional advice offered on the University's International Students website as there are issues related to degree equivalence and language requirements for international students to consider.

E-mail a one or two page outline of your proposed research project and a short curriculum vitae (CV) to the postgraduate coordinator. She will circulate both these documents to staff to see whether anyone is available to supervise your project. This should take no longer than two weeks.

If we are able to supervise your proposed research, you will then need to complete the application form for entry to La Trobe University. The same form is used for Masters or PhD applications. You can then discuss with the postgraduate supervisor whether you may be eligible for a scholarship application.


What qualifications are needed to apply for a research degree?

A four years Honours degree with a first or high second class Honours or equivalent is usually required for entry to doctoral studies. However, in exceptional circumstances, previous pass degrees with a high level of professional practice, publications or relevant research experience may be accepted.

If you do not have an Honours degree, you will usually be asked to commence a Masters research degree. Please e-mail the Graduate Research Coordinators Dr Ashleigh Butler or Associate Professor Amanda Cooklin, if you have doubts about your eligibility.


If you have completed your honours degree with first-class honours you will be eligible for the highly contested postgraduate scholarships. There are some other circumstances under which you may be considered for a scholarship.

These include:

  • Your mark was just below first-class but may be upgraded because you now have several refereed journal articles which have been independently graded as first-class
  • You have another postgraduate qualification which includes a thesis of more than 10,000 words and that can be independently graded to assess honours equivalence
  • You have other qualifications together with significant publications that could be graded to establish Honours equivalence

Closing dates

La Trobe University operates on a calendar year from January to December and postgraduate students may apply for postgraduate study at any time. However, if you wish to be considered for a scholarship you would need to have completed a scholarship application by mid-October of the previous year, or even earlier if you are applying as an international student.


Students 2022

NamePhD TitleSupervised by

Anita Moorhead

Diabetes and Antenatal Milk Expressing (DAME): A randomised controlled trial

Della Forster, Lisa Amir and Sharinne Crawford

Anne O’Neill

Clinical supervision in the Victorian Maternal and Child Health Nurses: a mixed method study

Kristina Edvardsson and Leesa Hooker

Bijaya Pokharel

Exploring culturally competent primary care family violence responsesAngela Taft, Leesa Hooker and Jane Yelland

Bree Bulle

What are the critical factors to sustain multidisciplinary mortality and morbidity review with participants from rural and regional maternity services in Victoria?

Michelle Newton and Sharinne Crawford

Brianna Pike

How does reproductive coercion impact safety, life choices and help-seeking behaviours?Kristina Edvardsson and Leesa Hooker

Brooke Owen

Perceived barriers to physiological birth among midwives and obstetricians: An investigation into shared decision making, medical intervention in birth, and clinical practices

Christine East and Jenny Davis
Carol Reid

Rural workforce perspectives on trauma-informed primary health care: Service approaches inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents

Catherine Chamberlain, Lisa Amir and Shannon Bennetts

Catina Adams

How does the Enhanced Maternal and Child Health Service in Victoria support vulnerable families, in particular those experiencing family violence?

Angela Taft and Leesa Hooker

Charlie Benzie

ABLE: Asking women aBout disabiLitiEs

Helen McLachlan, Della Forster and Michelle Newton

Deborah Pidd

Identifying a woman-centred evidenced-based pathway for women who have experienced a previous psychologically traumatic birth

Christine East and Michelle Newton

Desireé LaGrappe

Maternal and Child Health Nursing: A golden opportunity to integrate screening for reproductive coercion and increase effective contraception use in Australia and beyond?

Kristina Edvardsson, Leesa Hooker and Angela Taft

Elnora Greenwood

Autism coming to hospital: Optimising care for patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Amanda Cooklin, Josie Barbaro (School of Psychology and Public Health) and Charne Miller (University of Melbourne)

Fiona Burgemeister

Evaluation of area-based initiatives to improve outcomes in children from disadvantaged families

Jan Nicholson, Lisa Amir, Sharinne Crawford, Stacey Hokke and Naomi Hackworth (Parenting Research Centre)

Fiona Faulks

The impact of caseload midwifery (continuity of care) on the perinatal outcomes of vulnerable women in a regional centre

Touran Shafiei, Kristina Edvardsson and Méabh Cullinane

Fiona McLardie-Hore

RUBY – Ringing up about breastfeeding early: A randomised controlled trial

Della Forster, Helen McLachlan and Touran Shafiei

Heather Grimes

Pass it on: Implementing a breastfeeding peer support program

Della Forster, Helen McLachlan and Touran Shafiei

Helen Lees

How does the Victorian Maternal and Child Health Service demonstrate it is making a difference to the health outcomes of children

Leesa Hooker and Kristina Edvardsson

Jessica Bee

Exploring volunteers’ experience of and motivations for providing peer support in the DAISY (Depression and AnxIety peer Support studY) randomised controlled trial

Della Forster, Helen McLachlan and Touran Shafiei

Kate McCredie

The long arm of the job: Exploring parents’ jobs and children’s development

Amanda Cooklin, Stacey Hokke and Liana Leach (Australian National University)

Kerryn O’Rourke

Volunteer doula support for women experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage in Melbourne: A realist evaluation

Touran Shafiei, Michelle Newton and Jane Yelland (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Kim Howland

An exploration of tele practice in the Victorian Maternal and Child Health Services

Jan Nicholson and Leesa Hooker

Lael Ridgway

Victorian Maternal and Child Health Service provision: What, when and how?

Jan Nicholson, Stacey Hokke, Lisa McKenna (School of Nursing and Midwifery) and Naomi Hackworth (Parenting Research Centre)

Mercy Henry

Family violence support systems for South East Asian Community

Kristina Edvardsson, Touran Shafiei and Joyce Jiang (Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health)

Meriem Perona

Pre hospital management of atypical Acute Coronary Syndrome by Victorian Emergency Ambulance Paramedics

Amanda Cooklin, Aziz Rahman (Federation University), Peter O’Meara (Monash University) and Omar Farouque (Austin Health)
Mini Varughese

Improving breastmilk feeding and breastfeeding in preterm infants in neonatal units

Lisa Amir and Melissa Buultjens (School of Psychology and Public Health)

Molly Allen-Leap

What are the experiences of migrant and refugee women when seeking support for family violence from their GP?

Angela Taft, Leesa Hooker, Kayli Wild and Ingrid Wilson
Noushin Arefadib

Examining the postnatal depression and anxiety screening and management practices of MCH nurses in Victoria: A mixed methods study

Touran Shafiei, Amanda Cooklin and Jan Nicholson
Ranmali Rodrigo

Storage and transport of expressed breast milk for infants in two Neonatal Intensive Care Units: Exploratory studies in Australia and Sri Lanka

Lisa Amir and Della Forster
Rebecca Hyde

Your views matter – Exploring families experience of care in the Newborn Intensive Care

Della Forster, Helen McLachlan, Touran Shafiei and Sue Jacobs (Royal Women’s Hospital)

Renee Kam

Breast hypoplasia and insufficient milk production: An exploration

Lisa Amir and Méabh Cullinane
Res McCalman

What are the views and experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women having a baby in Victoria?

Helen McLachlan, Della Forster and Michelle Newton
Robyn Matthews

EXPert study – Exploring midwives’ perceptions of ‘expertise’ and experiences of work

Della Forster, Michelle Newton, Touran Shafiei and Fleur Llewellyn (Royal Women’s Hospital)
Sarah Hay

Evaluating a new Parenting Kit designed by the Royal Women's Hospital: A mixed methods study

Helen McLachlan, Michelle Newton, Della Forster and Touran Shafiei

Sharon Mumford

FUCHSIA: Future proofing the midwifery workforce in Victoria: A statewide cross-sectional survey exploring health, wellbeing and sustainability

Michelle Newton and Helen McLachlan
Stefanie Zugna

Evaluation of the impact of the Maternity and Newborn Emergencies (MANE) education program on safety culture in health organisations

Helen McLachlan, Della Forster and Méabh Cullinane
Tanisha Springall

Exploring breastfeeding initiation and maintenance for First Nations women and infants in Victoria, Australia.

Helen McLachlan and Della Forster