Research team

The study has brought together a multidisciplinary team of leading international researchers with expertise in mental health, trauma, recovery, social networks, community and family health, child research, policy, and emergency services.

The research team includes:

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Team Member Organisation
Professor Elizabeth Waters Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program, Academic Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population Health The University of Melbourne
Professor Richard Bryant School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales
Professor Philippa Pattison Melbourne Students & Learning, The University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Lisa Gibbs Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program, Academic Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population Health The University of Melbourne
Professor David Forbes
Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, The University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Louise Harms Department of Social Work, The University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Colin MacDougall Public Health, Flinders University
Dr Dean Lusher Faculty of Business and Enterprise, Swinburne University of Technology
 Dr Colin Gallagher
 Social Networks Laboratory, The University of Melbourne
Dr Karen Block Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program, Academic Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population Health The University of Melbourne
Elyse Snowdon
Jack Brockhoff Child Health & Wellbeing Program, Academic Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population Health The University of Melbourne

Nested Higher Degree Studies

Title: "Anger is an energy": Anger responses in communities affected by the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

Connie Kellett

This research will examine anger discourses following the Black Saturday bushfires. Experiences of anger and how agencies supported these experiences will be examined taking into account how gender and a sense of control impacts experiences and support. This nested research study will utilise the quantitative and qualitative interviews of the main Beyond Bushfires study, as well as interviews with those affected by the bushfires and agencies that provided intervention and supported recovery.

For more information on this study you can contact: Connie Kellett

Title: Crisis Informatics from the Internet user's perspective - An exploratory study of individual online experiences following a disaster.

Marian Lok

Summary: The advances in technology has enabled individuals affected by a disaster event to proactively go beyond the geographical space of the disaster and seek what they require online. ‘Crisis informatics’ refers to disaster research that investigates the implications of technology in the context of the full disaster life cycle. The study aims to contribute in the articulation of the needs of individuals and communities affected by disasters. It proposes that the active creation and modification of thoughts, meanings and understandings related to the disaster are the result of personal and social experiences that occur within the socio-cultural context of the Internet.   The research design incorporated a web-based survey (n= 216) and open-ended blog entries (n=13) of Internet users affected by an Australian or New Zealand natural disaster recruited through Google Adwords and Facebook. The findings illuminate why self-motivated individuals enter the Internet’s online space in a post-disaster context.

For more information on this study you can contact: Marian Lok

Title: Identifying What Works Well in Disaster Recovery from the Perspective of Emergency Affected People

Kate Brady

This research will look at the effects of disasters on people and what helps when recovering from them. This project aims to gain a deeper understanding of the things that help recovery from the perspective of those personally impacted. Kate is the National Recovery Coordinator for Australian Red Cross Emergency Services, where she is responsible for coordinating the development of all recovery services and activities undertaken around the country. Prior to this role, Kate headed up the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Recovery team, which was developed to support community recovery following the 2009 Victorian bushfires.

For more information on this study you can contact: Kate Brady

Title: An exploration of the interventions perceived to influence the resilience of adult populations to the effects of natural disaster.

Gisela Van Kessel

This research examined the resilience of adults who experienced a natural disaster. The projected sought to learn how to deal with adversity from people who had been affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires or the 2010/11 Victorian floods, and  examined the process and context of resilience. Resilience to the effects of disaster occurs through a number of processes within a nested ecological system that includes the individual, their social network, their community and society at large. The findings suggest that public health planning and management to influence resilience outcomes should focus on interventions targeted at societal, community and individual levels, using processes that facilitate effective communication and empathy.

For more information on this study you can contact: Gisela Van Kessel