The Health Social Science Research Group
Health and wellbeing are profoundly shaped by our social and physical environments. Increasingly, it is recognised that health is more than a product of genes or ‘luck’. Where we live, work and recreate can powerfully influence our life chances. While biomedical knowledge has brought improvements to our lives, we need to better understand how social contexts and social change shape healthy behaviours and illness experiences.
This research cluster encompasses a broad array of interests in the socio-cultural aspects of health, illness and wellbeing. It includes researchers who are working at the forefront of their fields, engaged in studies of issues such as chronic illness, ageing, sexual health, emergency care, and drug use. Research involves diverse populations, including young people, minority ethic groups, groups with particular conditions (e.g. HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C) Strong links have been established with the Faculty of Medicine and with clinicians working outside the University.
The cluster offers a point of contact and support network for colleagues and practitioners with an interest in this field. It aims to host events of wide interest, to help nurture research through higher degrees and other means, and to develop links between scholars and practitioners, including at the international level. It has established ties with a number of overseas’ institutions (e.g. King’s College, London, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Vienna) and welcomes visiting scholars from within Australia and overseas.
Dharma Arunachalam: morbidity, mortality and women’s health in Australia; quantitative analysis of hysterectomy in Australia; child malnutrition, child and reproductive health in developing countries with a particular focus on India.
Francesca Collins: dissociation and trauma responses in non-clinical populations; the psychological impact of appearance altering conditions, especially hair loss; and psychosocial factors affecting treatment seeking and compliance. I have advanced skills in quantitative methods and psychometrics. Francesca is a trained clinical psychologist.
Mark Davis: public health governance, especially with respect to HIV/AIDS; sexual health; the social aspects of health technologies; internet mediated psychosocial care, and qualitative methods. Mark is presently co-editing a book of case studies from Africa, Asia and Europe, regarding the links between HIV treatment and prevention.
Suzanne Fraser: the body, health, technology and gender. Current projects focus on the politics of health and disease, in particular, illicit drug use, blood-borne viruses and obesity. My training is in gender and cultural studies, and my PhD thesis analysed cosmetic surgery discourse as a technology of gender.
Luke Howie: terrorism and behavioural responses; terrorism and the consequences for workers and businesses; virtual medical training and patient simulators; opthamology and ageing
Jo Lindsay: health and young people’s social lives, specifically alcohol and drug consumption and sexual health. She takes a sociological approach and is interested in gender and class dynamics. Her most recent research is on the youth alcohol consumption and she is working on a project entitled ‘What a great night: The cultural drivers of alcohol consumption among young people’ with Dr Peter Kelly, Behavioural Studies PSI Monash University, Dr Lyn Harrison, Education Deakin University and Dr Chris Hickey, Education Deakin University. This project aims to gather important qualitative information about the cultural drivers of alcohol consumption by young people in Australia.
JaneMaree Maher: pregnancy and birthing (rethinking the pregnant body and birthing experience using theories of embodiment); qualitative research with birthing women and midwives focusing on ideas of pain and time as they shape contemporary Western birthing
Kirsten McLean: gay, lesbian and bisexual health; same-sex couples and families; and the intersections between sexuality and social health. Current research projects include an investigation of the human geography of Australian same-sex couple families (together with colleagues from the University of Wollongong) and a project investigating the relinquishment of bisexual and lesbian sexual identities by Australian women.
RoseAnne Misajon: the wellbeing of people with disability and chronic illness (particularly in South East Asia and migrant communities), the psychosocial aspects of quality of life and mental health, and the development of quality of life measures.
Alan Petersen: sociology of public health and health promotion; sociology of risk (particularly the media and the communication of risk); the body and society; gender and health (e.g. prostate cancer); the social context and implications of new technologies, particularly biotechnologies and nanotechnologies; the impact of the new genetics on public health and preventive medicine; genetic testing and counselling; biobanks; stem cell research and applications (especially issues of public engagement)
International collaborations (Members of PSI only):
University of East London: ‘HIV, technology and subjectivity’ An edited collection for Palgrave of case studies from Africa, Europe and Asia concerning HIV prevention in the era of anti-retroviral treatment. (Editors, Dr Mark Davis and Professor Corinne Squire, School of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studies, University of East London.)
Glasgow Caledonian University: ‘Health, wellbeing and the internet in Scotland and Victoria. Preparation of conjoint ARC DP and ESRC grant applications concerning a comparative, mixed methods study of the contribution of the internet to sexual health, mental health and physical fitness. (Mark Davis and Paul Flowers, Department of Psychology, Glasgow Caledonian University)
Lancaster University: Celia Roberts (Sociology)
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: Tim Rhodes
University of Plymouth (Honorary Visiting Professor): Alison Anderson (Sociology, School of Law and Social Sciences), Heather Skirton (School of Nursing and Community Studies, Plymouth University)
Bournemouth University: Stuart Allan (The Media School)
Royal College of Arts, London: Dale Harrow, Rob Thompson
Loughborough University: Sue Hignett (Department of Human Sciences)
University of West of England: Jonathan Benger (and United Bristol Healthcare Trust)
City University (Honorary Visiting Professor): Anthony Pryce (School of Health Sciences)
University of Kent: Iain Wilkinson (Sociology, Social Policy and Social Research)
University of Vienna: Herbert Gottweis (University of Political Science)
Norwegian University of Technology and Science: John-Arne Skolbekeen (Department of Social Work and Health Science), Lars Ursin (Philosophy Department)
King’s College London (Honorary Visiting Professor): Professor Clare Williams and Professor Steven Wainwright (Centre for Biomedicine & Society)
Current and ongoing projects (Members of PSI only):
2008- ‘Aussies online: health, wellbeing and social relations in the age of the internet’ Qualitative interviews conceptualised as ‘technobiographies’ of the internet and related technologies with special reference to subjectivity and health. (Funded by Faculty of Arts, New Researchers Grant.)
Ongoing ‘The technological determinants of gambling-related harms in Australia’ NHMRC grant application for 2009. (Mark Davis, Suzanne Fraser, Alan Petersen and Shane Thomas (Primary Care Research, Faculty of Medicine)).
‘Under construction: the social and cultural
politics of hepatitis C in Australia’ (Suzanne Fraser, Carla Treloar, David Moore)
‘Childhood obesity: mothers, children and public health, 2009 – 2011′ (Suzanne Fraser, JaneMaree Maher)
‘Substitution, enhancement, autonomy: making treatment regimes with
methadone and HRT, 2006-2009′ (Suzanne Fraser, Kylie Valentine, Celia Roberts)
‘Intimate injectors: Injecting practice among heterosexual hepatitis C
sero-discordant couples’ (Suzanne Fraser, Carla Treloar, Joanne
Bryant, Lisa Maher and Tim Rhodes)
‘Childhood obesity, agency and responsibility: the challenge to
contemporary public health’ (Research Team: Suzanne Fraser, Jan Wright (UNSW), JaneMaree Maher, Alan Petersen) ARC Discovery to be submitted (2010-2012)
New Configurations of Work and Family: Nurses and Builders Working and
Caring (Research Team: JaneMaree Maher, Jo Lindsay, Anne Bardoel).
Funding: PSI/ACREW $20, 000).
Globalisation of Motherhood (Research Team: JaneMaree Maher, Wendy Chavkin, Columbia University)
Interim Outcomes: Symposium convened, October 2008; London, Book
How we talk about birth: women and babies in contemporary Australia (comprising several projects):
- Medical Narratives in Birth Experience (Funding: Faculty of Arts $7193)
- Giving Birth Manuscript in development.
‘Nanotechnologies, risk and communication’ Includes an ESRC proposal: ‘News reporting of nanotechnologies: a comparative study of UK and Australian print and online coverage’ (with Alison Anderson (University of Plymouth, UK) and Stuart Allan (University of Bournemouth, UK). This builds on an earlier ESRC funded project, ‘Nanotechnologies and news production: a study of scientists’, journalists’ and editors’ views’ (2003-2005) Recent book: Nanotechnology, Risk and Communication (Palgrave, 2009) (with Alison Anderson, Stuart Allan and Clare Wilkinson)
‘Science, policy and public representations on nanotechnologies’ (British Academy funded project 2006-2007; 2008 Symposium (jointly funded by PSI, Law and Monash Institute of Nanosciences, Materials and Manufacture. See NanoVisions website: http://lauthiamkok.net/tmp/nanovisions/tmpls/nanovisions.php?pid=1)
‘Socio-political implications of the new genetics’ This has included a series of projects, focusing on the impacts of genetics on public health and health promotion (e.g. The New Genetics and the Public’s Health (Routledge, 2002 (with Robin Bunton); Genetic Governance: Health, Risk and Ethics in the Biotech Era (2005) (Edited with Robin Bunton)); the portrayal of genetics and medicine in the print news media and other media; the discourses and practices of genetic counselling and genetic testing; and the ethics and governance of biobanks (Biobanks: Governance in Comparative Perspective (Routledge, 2008) (edited with Herbert Gottweis)
‘Smart pods to reconfigure urgent healthcare delivery’ (Co-Investigator with Sue Hignett (PI) (Loughborough University), Jonathan Benger (CI) UWE, and Nigel Caldwell (CI) (Bath University)) £502,757 (excl. FEC) – EPSRC,
‘Review of literature on social and economic implications of nanotechnologies’ Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. (With Kate Seear (PSI) and Diana Bowman (Law, Monash)
‘Stem cell technologies: how scientists , policymakers, and other stakeholders engage with the public’ (with Kate Seear, PSI)
‘Ethical aspects of academic publishing in the health sciences: problems and practical strategies’ (with Kate Seear (PSI), Paul Komesaroff and Samantha Thomas (Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society) Arts/Medicine Collaborative Grant.
‘The politics of bioethics’ (Book contract, Routledge, London and New York)
Associate members and international collaborations
Rosalie Aroni is Senior Lecturer in Health Sociology, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Department of Health Science, School of Primary Health Care, Monash Institute of Health Services Research. She is interested in the management of chronic illness in primary care.
Bianca Brijnath is a PhD student in the Faculty of Medicine, Monash University. Her interests include formal and informal care systems for chronic degenerative diseases; power, identity and society; health-seeking behaviours in cross-cultural settings in Australia, Asia and Africa. Past projects include HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination in Asia and Africa and management of anaphylaxis in Australian schools. Current work is on dementia care and barriers to accessing services in India.
Colette Browning is Director of the Healthy Ageing Research Unit and Monash Research for an Ageing Society. Her research focuses on healthy ageing and improving quality of life for older people, cultural factors in ageing, chronic disease self-management and consumer involvement in health care decision-making. She is Co-Director of the Melbourne Longitudinal Studies on Healthy Ageing program, and Convener of the Healthy Ageing theme and Management Committee member of the Australian ARC/NHMRC Research Network in Ageing Well (2005-present) (http://www.ageingwell.edu.au/). She has a strong interest and experience in translating research evidence into practice and policy to improve the lives of older Australians.
Rachel Canaway is Research Fellow & Project Manager, Social Sciences and Health Research Unit School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Monash University. She is involved in a project with Lenore Manderson involving the use of complementary medicine (particularly via practitioners) by people with chronic conditions (namely CVD and or type 2 diabetes) – the drivers, costs and benefits.
Janice Chesters is Senior Lecturer in the School of Rural Health, Monash University. He interests encompass mental health and illness, especially mental illness services and the interface between mental and physical health, interprofessional education, learning and practice and most aspects of rural, regional and sub regional health
Simon Cooper is Associate Professor (Acute Care), School of Nursing and Midwifery Gippsland Campus, Monash University. His interests include emergency and acute care including out of hospital emergency care; interprofessional collaboration; interprofessional learning; simulation; teaching and learning games; leadership, teamwork and situation awareness.
Linda Dawson is Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University. Her interests include the application of mobile and wireless technologies in healthcare organisations.
Cameron Duff is Monash Fellow in the Social Sciences and Health Research Unit (School of School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine) at Monash University, Melbourne Australia. Duff’s research at Monash explores the application of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze to the study of health and human development. This work examines embodiment, space, affect and relationality and their impact on the course and process of human development in various settings. Duff has explored these research interests in studies of youth development, substance use and mental health in both Canada and Australia, drawing on a range of qualitative and ethnographic methods and approaches. Between 2005 and late 2008, Dr Duff was the Manager of Prevention Services for Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and a Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. Dr Duff was awarded his PhD in Political Theory from the University of Queensland in 2002. This thesis sought to develop a novel political and experiential ethics from the later works of Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze.
Susan Feldman is Senior Research Fellow, Healthy Ageing Research Unit, Primary Care Research Unit, Monash University. Her interests include qualitative, multidisciplinary research focusing on gender, health and wellbeing issues across the life span; multicultural communities and multigenerational interests particularly the relationships for women and men between generations and the impact that these have on the quality of life for individuals as they age, their family and community; widowhood and its impact on the psychosocial health and wellbeing of older women.
Juanita Fernando is Academic Convenor BMedSc (International Cohort) Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences & Mobile Health Research Group, Faculty of Information Technology. Her interests include clinical informatics, bioinformatic data exchange, standards, health privacy legal frameworks and information security with a particular emphasis on e-health tools and their contribution to workflow methodologies in the health sector.
Pauline Gwatirisa is a PhD student in the Key Centre for Women’s Health, The University of Melbourne. Her interests include tropical Diseases Research; Health Systems Research – with a special interest in social aspects of schistosomiasis, malaria and HIV/AIDS; PhD focused on HIV/AIDS and food insecurity in the context of structural disadvantage and systemic social dislocation; Disaster response; Current work is on immigrant and refugee women’s health and well-being.
Gil-Soo Han is Associate Professor,Communications & Media Studies School of English, Communications and Performance Studies, Monash University. He has researched the health status and the provision of health services for disenfranchised population groups, including non-English speaking background migrants and small rural and remote residents. Gil’s particular contribution to understanding health status and appropriately addressing health services policy for minorities is his rigorous pursuit of unveiling socio-economic underlying factors of health conditions of the socially disadvantaged populations including rural population and migrants. Gil’s current areas of research interest include: Health communication; Migrant communities in Australia; Rural health; Media, religion and ethnicity; International medical graduates; The digital divide.His research findings have been published in influential journals such as /Ethnicity & Health/, /Journal of Sociology/ and /Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine.
Lisa Hanna joined Deakin University’s School of Health and Social Development as a Lecturer after several years of research at Edinburgh University, Scotland. Her interests include e-health and the use of information and communication technologies in primary care; culture, ethnicity and health; cross-cultural research methods; the social context of chronic disease management; community-driven social inclusion practice; and parental and child perspectives on physical activity and motor skill development.
Dilinie Herbert is a PhD, in the Faculty of Medicine, Monash University. His interests include the social and ethical dimensions of genetic testing, involving a longitudinal study of the haemophilia community. The project explores how people in the haemophilia community negotiate decisions around genetic testing and the role for genetic counselling.
Annette Houlihan is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of New South Wales. Previously, she taught in the Murdoch Law School, in Criminal Justice at Monash University, in Criminology at the University of Queensland and in Law at Griffith University. She has also worked on various research projects through the School of Law, Griffith University, Centre for Work, Organisation and Well-being, Griffith University, Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre, University of Queensland, National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales and Department of Criminology, University of Melbourne. Further to this, she has worked with various community organisations including the Abused Child Trust, AIDS Line/Hepatitis C Line, ALSO Foundation, Queensland AIDS Council and domestic/family violence support services.
Asuntha Karunaratne is a PhD Student and Research Assistant, Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society, Department of Medicine at Monash University. His research interests lie in the field of social research in medicine. My specific interests are informed consent in human subject research, monitoring ethics compliance in research (advocating the participants’ voice), and social aspects of obesity.
Renata Kokanovic is Senior Research Fellow Mental Health, Primary Care Research Unit, Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne. Her interests include cross cultural analysis of experiences of mental health and illness, patients experience of primary care mental health services, and chronic illness and depression. Other current research interests include lay epidemiology and professional knowledge and sociological analysis of old and new forms of treatment; development of new methodologies to enhance meaningful participation of community members in the health research; a sociological analysis of the political/policy processes involved in primary care being depicted as the main site for managing depression, medicalization of depression and a sociological analysis of the therapeutic discourses incorporated in ordinary practices of self-help.
Paul Komesaroff is Director, Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society. His work is interdisciplinary spanning clinical medicine, biomedical research, social research, philosophy and ethical theory, clinical ethics and policy development with respect to ethics and clinical practice. As a physician, his field of specialty is endocrinology. He is Director of the Monash Centre for Ethics in Medicine and Society, the Clinical Ethics Service at the Alfred Hospital, and the Health Ethics Archive. He is also responsible for the clinical Obesity Service at the Alfred Hospital.
Emma Kowal is a NHRMC research fellow in Anthropology at the School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry, the University of Melbourne. Emma is a cultural and medical anthropologist with research interests in white anti-racism and Indigenous governance in Australia, as well as the politics of race and genetics. Her background is in clinical medicine and public health research, mostly working with Indigenous people in the Northern Territory. Her two major ethnographic projects concern white people who work in Indigenous health, and genetic researchers who work in Indigenous communities. She is also co-presents the annual short course ‘Race, Culture, Indigeneity and the Politics of Public Health’ aimed at applying social science theory to practical problems in Indigenous affairs. She is the co-editor of Moving Anthropology: Critical Indigenous Studies and her work has been published in journals including American Anthropologist, Social Science and Medicine, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, and in national and international medical journals.
Lenore Manderson is ARC Federation Fellow and Professor, School of Psychology, Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University. Her interests include sociology and public health; anthropology of chronic conditions and disability, infectious disease in resource- poor settings; gender and sexuality, and questions of embodiment and identity; research on chronic illness, disability, social relationships and well-being, including an inter-disciplinary multi-country study on social and cultural impact of chronic illness and disability in Australia and Southeast Asia; public health and medical social sciences, in immigrant, Indigenous and majority communities in Australia, and in diverse settings in Asia and Africa.
Liz Manton is a PhD student in the Faculty of Medicine, Monash University. Her thesis focuses on “Health, wellbeing and weight in late-middle-aged Australians”. Her interests include health sociology, social construction of risk, public health and the ‘obesity epidemic’.
Priscilla Pyet: I am a sociologist and public health researcher with over 9 years experience conducting collaborative research with Victorian Aboriginal communities. I have over 20 years experience in public health research across a range of sensitive topics and working specifically with disadvantaged and marginalised population groups. My role at MUDRIH is to work under the leadership of Associate Professor Marlene Drysdale to build our research capacity around Indigenous health. My research interests include: Indigenous health; Collaborative and participatory research methodology; Research ethics; Social and economic determinants of health; Nutrition and physical activity for Indigenous communities; Capacity building for Indigenous health researchers My current research projects are focussing on nutrition and physical activity in Indigenous communities, and improving mainstream diabetes care for Indigenous Australians.
Tamasin Ramsay is a PhD Candidate, Social Sciences and Health Research Unit, Monash University. His interests include anthropology of consciousness, mysticism and religion. Matters of faith, existentialism, phenomenology. Emic/ etic stances in social science research. Grounded spirituality: the way in which spirituality, hope and transcendental experiences manifest in circumstances of disaster, unrest, suffering and chaos.
Gyorgy Scrinis is an Honorary Fellow in the School of Philosophy, Anthropology and Social Inquiry, Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne. The sociology of food, agriculture and nutrition; nutritional reductionism (nutritionism); nutritionally-engineered and nutritionally-marketed foods (ie.functional foods); biomarker reductionism; BMI reductionism and the “obesity epidemic” discourse; nutri-centric forms of identity; the functional body; technological forms of food and agricultural production; the ecological, health and socioeconomic implications of GM foods and nano-foods; corporate concentration across the agri-food system.
Claudia Slegers is Research Fellow at the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University. Dr Slegers is interested in health sociology, language socialisation, deafness, research methodology, and mental health. Claudia was awarded her PhD in sociology from La Trobe University in 2008. Her thesis, on identity and attitudes toward sign language among deaf people, was entitled ‘Signing in: A socio-cultural study of deaf people in Melbourne. Post-doctorally she worked with Deaf Children Australia and Professor Evan Willis on a study of parents’ experiences of newborn hearing screening programs. Currently, Claudia is coordinating a three-year NHMRC project on what Australians think about privacy and participation in epidemiological research.
Lyn Turney is a senior lecturer in Sociology at Swinburne University of Technology. Her research interests are in the sociology of health, genetics and the body. Lyn has recently conducted an ARC funded project into genetic paternity testing. She has published articles on people’s experience of paternity testing and why they have a paternity test, attitudes to paternity testing and the ethics of revealing non-paternity discovered through genetic carrier screening. She has also published or co-published articles on attitudes to stem cell research, the use of virtual focus groups in qualitative research, mental health and workplace bullying. She teaches in the areas genetics and society, the sociology of health, sociology of the body and qualitative methods. Her PhD and early publications were on women’s experience of medical technology, in particular surgical sterilization.
Mary-Anne Young is Senior Genetic Counsellor, Familial Cancer Centre Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute, Melbourne. He interests include translational research about the practice and process of genetic counseling; decision making regarding genetic technologies; family communication about genetic information
Julie Ann Zabinski is based in the Monash Institute of Health Services Research, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University Clayton Victoria Australia. Her research interests include health sociology, especially public health perspectives and mental health, theories of community, body theory, war and civil society, meaning and gender construction. Her recently submitted PhD thesis is entitled Casualties of peace: social aspects of the health of the younger Australian war veteran community.