Prior to becoming an academic I was a Country Program Director and advisor in international development in organisations such as the UN Development Programme, UNICEF and the Ministry of Labour Social Welfare, Laos. My role was to help improve the lives of those whose health and livelihoods were damaged by war. Increasingly, I was asked to evaluate programs and to show that what we did worked. With a desire to provide the highest quality evidence base for such important work so that it could inform other programs, I came to academia.
Now as a teacher, researcher and evaluator at the University of Queensland, I bring this background to my work with governments, development agencies and communities to find practical solutions for reducing health inequities. I am particularly interested in working collaboratively with all stakeholders to find innovative solutions to complex or "wicked" problems in global public health that are often considered just "too hard". Some of my partners in research and practice include the University of Health Sciences, Laos (Lao PDR), the UN Development Programme, European Union National Office, Laos, MANA Community Mentoring and the Ethnic Communities Council Queensland.
I bring my real-world, contemporary experience into my coordination of the Health and Development and Health Aspects of Disasters courses in the Masters of Public Health (Global). The focus of my teaching in these courses is to link practice with theory to address current global health issues, such as universal health care, chronic diseases, food security and injuries and disability as a result of violent conflict. I am as equally passionate about reducing health inequality as I am about helping to equip the next generation of evidence-based practitioners with the skills they will need to continue this necessary work.