I returned to the University of Sydney (my alma mater) by way of the George Institute of Global Health as a Research Associate within the Injury Division and World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Injury Prevention and Trauma Care under Professor Julie Brown. There, I gained vast exposure to diverse quantitative, qualitative, and evidence synthesis research methods in injury prevention, road traffic injury, and drowning.
Through these good times I realised my passion for addressing health inequities through targeted prevention among underserved youth cohorts, especially gender and sexuality diverse (LGBTQ+) youth. I had heard of the Matilda Centre and its expertise in mental ill-health, substance use, and school-based prevention, so in late 2021 I got in contact with Associate Professor Emma Barrett and Professor Nicola Newton (who invited the fabulous Dr Yael Perry from Telethon Kids Institute to join the party too) and after a successful 2021 Matilda Centre PhD Scholarship application I enrolled at the start of 2022.
My PhD uses large-scale epidemiological analyses, qualitative methods, and intervention research methods to better understand disparities in mental ill-health and (co-occurring) substance use among gender and sexuality diverse (LGBTQ+) young people with the view to co-producing, adapting, and evaluating new and existing school-based interventions addressing these disparities. This work is being guided and advised by a LGBTQ+ Youth Advisory Committee of eight brilliant experts from across NSW, passionate about the health and rights of rainbow youth.
Presenting at the Trauma Aware Schooling Conference 2022 in Brisbane, Queensland with my amazing primary PhD supervisor, Asscociate Professor Emma Barrett, was a very memorable weekend. The Conference comprised highly passionate teachers advocating for whole-of-school trauma-aware approaches and privileged the voices of advocates and practitioners with lived experience.
The Conference provided insight into school-level policy levers for school-based mental health prevention and, moreover, gave me a bigger picture perspective about what trauma-informed prevention looks like and for whom.
Another amazing time was when with Professor Nicola Newton, I got to meet Dr Yael Perry in person in Sydney for the first time!
I don’t get cute I get drop dead gorgeous.
I may not be funny, and I might not be a singer, or a damn seamstress, but I am a fierce queen.