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Program Head, Developmental Origins of Child Health

BA (Hons) PhD

Program Manager, Developmental Origins of Health and Development
Head, Aboriginal Maternal Health and Child Development
Principal Research Fellow, Making FASD History in the Pilbara, NHMRC Project Grant Lead, Aboriginal Community Engagement and Capacity Building Hedland FASD Project funded by BHP Billiton

Associate Professor Roz Walker, Head of Aboriginal Maternal Health and Child Development is working on several projects which in combination aim to address the social and cultural determinants that impact on Aboriginal maternal, child and adolescent outcomes. She has been involved in research, evaluation and education with Aboriginal communities building local capacity within both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations for thirty years. Roz is a Principal Investigator with both the University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute. She is a Chief Investigator on several national ARC Indigenous Discovery and NHMRC Project grants, and other competitive grants totalling more than $7 million. Her key areas of interest include developing transformative and decolonising strategies to enhance maternal, child and adolescent health and wellbeing at individual, organisational and community levels as well as promoting system level change. Roz serves on a number of high level steering committees and national Indigenous research networks.

Her expertise and experience in Aboriginal education encompasses teaching, curriculum development, academic coordination at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Aboriginal community management and development and early years education in remote areas across Australia. Roz developed an innovative Post graduate program for General Practitioners conducting research and evaluation through the Community Health Research Training Unit at UWA as well as  supervising International postgraduate students in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Vietnam.She has extensive experience in applying Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) methods and ethical  conduct in translating research into policy and practice and to achieve health and wellbeing outcomes.   Over the past decade Roz has been involved in work in the Pilbara largely funded by BHP Billiton that has resulted significant progress in improving early years outcomes. In particular the ‘Starting on Track’ project, which involved implementing the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) survey across the Pilbara in 2007 and the Indigenous Adaptation of the AEDI in 2008 and the 2010 joint partnership between the Telethon Kids Institute, BHP Billiton and World Vision Australia to make early investments to improve maternal and child health and increase opportunities and experiences for children in East Pilbara communities has resulted in measurable improvements in the emotional, intellectual, physical and social development of Aboriginal children at the start of school.

Roz co-edited the first and second editions of the ground-breaking book: Working Together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing and led the highly effective communication and dissemination strategy which has seen over 150,000 hard and online copies of the book distributed in Australia and internationally. In the last ten years Roz has published 18 peer reviewed articles, 5 books, 14 Chapters and 25 research reports (commissioned and peer reviewed) in Aboriginal maternal and child health and mental health and wellbeing,  A report Young People’s Experiences with Health Services – Final Report (2014) commsissioned by the Commissioner of Children and Young People is informing  the WA Youth Health Policy due to be finalised in the near future. Most recently she has lead the Insitute’s contribution to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Evaluation Project Report, contributed to the historical issues associated with Royal Commission into Child Abuse.

Additional projects also include Solid Kids, which is about locally relevant and culturally secure positive relationship building and management in the Mid West Education District of Western Australia.