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Program Head, Population Health


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

Francis is currently Program Head – Population Health, where he oversees population health themed research at Telethon Kids Institute, including Research Teams such as Biostatistics, Child Epidemiology, and Developmental Pathways and Social Policy. Alongside Professors Stephen Zubrick and Cate Taylor, Mr Mitrou is also Co-Head of the Human Capability Team at Telethon Kids Institute where he also has a Senior Research Fellow role in the ARC Life Course Centre.

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 work 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’ experience in the design, conduct and management of large scale population surveys of adults, children and Indigenous people. 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 human services and sits on the design committees of several national surveys of health and social wellbeing run by ABS. Francis leads the ARC Life Course Centre’s Data for Policy program which engages Commonwealth human services and data agencies in research activity. Francis is also a member of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s “Closing the Gap” technical advisory group which is focused on eliminating Indigenous disadvantage. 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.