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Program Head, Population Health, and Team Head, Human Development and Community Wellbeing


Areas of research knowledge: Indigenous life course outcomes, child and adolescent mental health, economics of disadvantage, program evaluation, public health, survey design

Associate Professor Francis Mitrou is currently Program Head – Population Health, where he oversees population health themed research occurring under several research teams at Telethon Kids Institute. He is also Team Head of the Human Capability Team.  

Francis has followed a non-traditional research career path, coming to academia via a 14-year career in the Commonwealth Public Service which intersected with high level consulting to the academic sector via his employer. He is an economist initially trained at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in the 1990s on a range of economic and social survey vehicles before entering research full-time in the early 2000s via an ABS consultancy to Telethon Kids Institute. He has many years of experience in the design, conduct and management of large-scale population surveys of adults, children and their families, including Indigenous families. He has expertise in the use of linked administrative data for research, Indigenous health and wellbeing, and economic evaluation, with a focus on child and adolescent mental health, social disadvantage, and life course trajectories.

Francis has close involvement in the national discussion around use of Commonwealth data for research and policy across the health and human services and has sat on the design committees of several national surveys of health and social wellbeing run by ABS. Francis Chairs the Telethon Kids Institute Linked Data Committee and has a leading role in the ARC Life Course Centre’s Data for Policy program which engages Commonwealth human services and data agencies in research activity. Francis was a member of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Closing the Gap Refresh Technical Advisory Group, which reset the parameters around Closing the Gap for the next decade. His research goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of disadvantaged children and families through the application of a life course approach to human capability research, whereby targeted, evidence-based population intervention can help prevent entrenchment of costly disadvantage.