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Women's Mental Health

Prof_J_Fisher_sProfessor Jane Fisher

Research Director, Jean Hailes
Jean Hailes Professor of Women's Health, Monash School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine

Jane Fisher is an academic and clinical psychologist with longstanding interests in the links between women’s reproductive health and mental health from adolescence to mid-life, in particular related to fertility, conception, pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. She has completed major epidemiological studies in clinical and community settings in Australia and Vietnam and nationally-funded intervention trials, and has supervised more than 30 research higher degree and postgraduate coursework projects to completion. She is an expert technical advisor to international agencies including the World Health Organization and the United Nations Population Fund.  

Professor Jane Fisher's publications here 

Dr Heather Rowe

Senior Research Fellowheather rowe_s

Heather Rowe is a health scientist with backgrounds in the biological and psychological sciences and expertise in health promotion in the perinatal period. Her program of research positions women's mental health in its social, economic, cultural and political contexts and recognises gender disadvantage as a key determinant. She conducts clinical and community-based trials of existing and innovative interventions. Outcomes of her work include development, evaluation, knowledge exchange and implementation of evidence-based mental health promotion programs. She has supervised more than twenty undergraduate and postgraduate student research projects to completion, serves on editorial boards and is a regular reviewer for international peer-reviewed journals. She is President of the Australian Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics and Gynaecology.


Dr Maggie Kirkman

Senior Research FellowDr Maggie Kirkman

Maggie is a psychologist whose research has been conducted in multi-disciplinary environments. She has applied her expertise in qualitative methods, including narrative theory, to the investigation of psychosocial aspects of reproduction such as infertility, donor-assisted conception, elective abortion, teenage pregnancy, and parent-adolescent communication about sexuality, as well as to children’s experiences of homelessness with their families. Her current research includes an NHMRC-funded project on women’s experience of a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment during the reproductive years and an ARC-funded project on fertility management in contemporary Australia.


Dr Sonia McCallum

Research FellowDr Sonia McCallum

Sonia is a Research Fellow with a background in medical science research. She completed her post-graduate studies focusing on the mechanisms contributing to the development and progression of leukaemia. Whilst in this field, Sonia gained an appreciation of the social determinants of health, which inspired her to complete further study in the area of public health. She is currently working on several research projects focusing on the health of women and their infants in the postpartum period, including maternal mental health, infant behaviour, health service use, and the evaluation of services supporting families during this time. Her research interests include women’s mental health including fatigue, health service use, cancer prevention and treatment, and program evaluation.


Dr Karen Wynter

Research FellowDr Karen Kynter

Karen has a background in psychology and applied statistics. Her recent research projects have focused on psychosocial determinants of women’s and men’s postnatal mental health; dyadic analysis of couple mental health following the birth of first infant; prenatal genetic screening in pregnant adolescents; antenatal attachment in pregnant adolescents and the effects of maternal age and ART conception on women’s pregnancy adjustment, birth experience and postnatal mental health. Her interests include perinatal anxiety in the context of the mother-father-infant triad, maternal fetal attachment and psychosocial consequences of infertility.


Dr Karin Hammarberg

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Karin has a background in clinical nursing and psychology. After 20 years as clinical coordinator of IVF programs, she joined a research team headed by Professor Jane Fisher at Melbourne University in 2000. Karin’s main areas of research interests are the psychosocial aspects of infertility and infertility treatment; health and development of children born as a result of assisted conception; the transition to parenthood; and parenting of children with disabilities. Her PhD research examined the experience of birth and mothering after assisted conception. She is currently involved in an investigation of barriers and promoters of social support in facilitated peer-support groups for carers of children with disabilities and contributing to the development of a national public education campaign relating to preconception health and the factors that affect fertility.


Dr Sara Holton

Postdoctoral Research FellowDr Sara Holton

Sara Holton has a background in psychology, gender studies, and human resource management. She is currently involved in a study funded by the Australian Research Council investigating how Australian women and men manage their fertility. Sara’s PhD research examined the salient factors in Australian women’s childbearing preferences and outcomes. She found that women are not always able to choose when and if they have a child, and that their childbearing outcomes are associated with diverse biological, psychological and social factors. The findings have implications for policy, and indicate that multiple approaches are required which are sensitive to and address the barriers women face in family formation.


Mr Thach Tran

PhD candidateThach Tran

Thach Tran has a background in epidemiology. He has had experience in all aspects of research design, implementation, analysis, and dissemination in resource-constrained settings. His current PhD research is to examine the effects of maternal common mental disorders and micronutrient deficiencies on infant development. His research interests include common mental disorders in women, including social factors and effect on their children in low- and middle-income countries.


Minh Thi Hong Le

Research Assistant

Minh Thi Hong Le has a background in pharmacy. She worked in the pharmacy department in Hanoi French Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam for more than three years before coming to Australia. She has recently completed her Masters in Public Health at Monash University. She is currently working on a study examining the effectiveness of a service for parents of unsettled infants, and another one investigating the prevalence of asthma and some respiratory diseases among a cohort of Victorian young adults. She is interested in the social determinants of health, especially mental health among adolescents in resource-constrained settings and the application of statistical methods in analysing data. 


Dr Jillian Graham

Research Assistant

Jillian Graham has a background in music, women's studies, oral history and business administration. Her PhD was a multidisciplinary, qualitative study involving an exploration of the experiences of four Australian women of different generations in blending motherhood with their careers as composers. She is assisting Dr Maggie Kirkman with qualitative interviews for two current projects.

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