Clinical & Community Health

Clinical and Community Health

Promote healthy community

The Clinical & Community Health Research Unit conducts leading edge, collaborative research that:

  • addresses important healthcare challenges 
  • improves and promotes health and wellbeing
  • enhances clinical and community care
  • enriches quality of life
  • provides culturally sensitive care, and
  • utilises the latest advancements in health information technology.

The work of our qualified academic researchers is focused on three important research programs:

  1. mental health
  2. pregnancy
  3. acute and chronic illness.

Mental Health research

Mental Health Volunteer

Mental health volunteer

Mental health has fast become an area of national priority, and in recognition of the importance of research in this field, our team is currently focused on:

  • prevention and early intervention in young people with mental health problems, including substance misuse issues
  • promotion of recovery in people with severe and enduring mental illness, and
  • raising awareness of primary caregiver/family coping and promoting their wellbeing.

Research projects

  • Mindwise: Preventing mental health problems in young people through better mental health literacy.
  • Exploring needs - examining barriers to service access: Youth with depression, anxiety and substance use issues.
  • The experience and needs of primary caregivers of elderly family members/ friends with mental illness.
  • Evaluating the use of restraint and seclusion in inpatient aged psychiatry units.
  • A peer support program for enhancing medication adherence in mental health consumers with schizophrenia.
  • Publication of a problem-solving based self-help manual for caregivers of family members with first-episode psychosis.

Pregnancy research

Pregnant woman preparing an injection

Pregnancy and diabetes

Pregnancy health has lifelong implications for both mother and baby, and our research is focused on the many factors that impact on the health and wellbeing of women, children and families. Our research encompasses:

  • women's pregnancy experiences
  • cultural and ethnic factors
  • adverse outcomes and risk in pregnancy
  • stress, perinatal health and morbidity
  • gestational diabetes, and
  • older maternal age.

Research projects

  • Gestational diabetes among multiethnic groups in the Western Region of Melbourne.
  • Having a baby in Australia: African women's experience.
  • Anxious waiting: soft markers and high risk pregnancy.
  • Perinatal morbidity among Australian women aged 35 years and older.
  • Limerick Lullaby project: An intervention to relieve stress in pregnancy.
  • Promoting normal birthing: Endeavouring to develop a midwifery focused scope of practice.

Acute and Chronic Illness research

Serum treatment

Serum treatment

Research in this area explores interventions which enhance standards of community and hospital care in collaboration with health service providers, in particular, evaluation of current practice and the generation and use of evidence to improve patient outcomes.

Research projects

  • Intranasal fentanyl for women in childbirth.
  • Effectiveness of bedside handover.
  • Evaluation of medication endorsement for Division 2 Registered Nurses.
  • Intranasal naloxone for heroin overdose.
  • The use of health data to improve nursing services and the quality of nursing practice.


Our researchers have an excellent record in successful grant applications. Recent achievements include:

  • National Stroke Foundation: $20,000 for "Effects of early motivational interviewing on post-stroke depressive symptoms: Randomised controlled trial of the Good Mood Intervention program".
  • Diabetes Australia: $59,000 - Food for thought: Eating for your baby
  • Ian Potter Foundation: $50,000 - Developing an innovative educational program for high risk women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) Phase 2
  • BeyondBlue/The Movember Foundation: $145,000 - Enhancing help-seeking for depression, anxiety and substance misuse among young migrants from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds by empowering family members to be facilitators of help-seeking
  • Victoria University (post-doctoral funding) - Developing an innovative educational program for high risk women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) Phase 1
  • Nurses Board of Victoria Legacy Limited Grant: $19,729: Standardised handover to improve nursing care in the Emergency Department.
  • VU Early Career Research Development Grant Scheme: $25,000: Acceptability of a new form of shift-to-shift bedside nursing handover for patients and nurses.


As well as our team comprising researchers with extensive qualifications, our staff's considerable experience has developed strong national and international reputations, with notable expertise in:

  • research ethics
  • mental health nursing
  • midwifery
  • high risk pregnancy
  • gestational diabetes
  • coronary care nursing
  • acute and chronic nursing care
  • intranasal medication delivery
  • quantitative clinical research
  • qualitative methodology
  • thematic analysis
  • cultural diversity.

Our team

Name Phone and email Research interests
Professor Terence McCann (Dr)
Director, Research & Research Training
+61 3 9919 2325
Mental health
Professor Mary Carolan (Dr)
Unit Leader
+61 3 9919 2585
Dr Deb Kerr
Deputy Leader
+61 3 9919 2053
Acute & chronic illness
Mridula Bandyopadyay +61 3 9919 2017
Gestational diabetes, Public health & policy
Vera Brown +61 3 9919 2420
Gina Kruger +61 3 9919 2697
Dorota Frankowska +61 3 9919 2820
Acute & chronic illness
Dr Gayelene Boardman +61 3 9919 2396
Mental health
Karen Lawrence +61 3 9919 2462
Acute & chronic illness

Our students

We have, and continue to, supervise several Australian and international research students undertaking PhD (by thesis or by publication), and Masters by Research. Recent students include:

Name Thesis topic
Susan Cipolla Exercise and wellbeing after breast cancer treatment.
Ghada Elias Prevalence of falls for hospitalised elderly patients in sub-acute care.
Bernice Davies Exploring postgraduate research students' understanding of ethical issues in undertaking qualitative research.
Megan Poth Exploring the knowledge of pregnant women about lifestyle and diet to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM): A qualitative study.
Gayelene Boardman A time series intervention study of a peer support program for enhancing medication adherence in consumers with schizophrenia (completed).
Gina Kruger Clinical Decision-Making by Midwives During Women's Labour and Birth Experiences.
Ladawan Panpanit Striving to maintain well-being: Self-management of chronic pain by elderly people living in rural communities in North-East Thailand (completed).
Wallapa Songprakan Evaluation of a cognitive behavioural bibliotherapy self-help intervention program on the promotion of resilience in individuals with depression (completed).
Elvira Brown Understanding Childbirth Education: A Phenomenological Case Study (completed).
Astri Madjid Determinants of Six-Month Exclusive Breastfeeding Perseverance in Bandung, Indonesia.
Minerva Kyei-nimakoh Management and Referral of Obstetric Complications: A Comparative Study of Public and Private Midwives in a rural district of Ghana.
Denise Cornall Osteopathic care of babies with breastfeeding difficulties.
Robyn Fairhall Operationalising the clinical role of the nurse practitioner.

Our partners

The Clinical & Community Health Research Unit undertakes a wide range of collaborative research with many renowned and leading organisations, including:

  • Western Centre for Health Research and Education (WCHRE)
  • Diabetes Australia
  • Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
  • BeyondBlue – the National Depression Initiative
  • NorthWestern Mental Health and NorthWestern Mental Health Aged Persons' Mental Health Program; Consultative
  • Australian Community Centre for Diabetes (ACCD)
  • Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Clinic.


Members of the Clinical & Community Health Research Unit regularly publish their work in a comprehensive number of high ranking scholarly journals, books, book chapters, as well as providing extensive presentations at leading international and national conferences.

Please view our most recent Clinical & Community Health research publications.

Capabilities statement

Please view our Clinical & Community Health Capabilities Statement for a brief overview of our research unit, vision, facilities, resources and key achievements.

Contact us

Professor Mary Carolan
Unit Leader, Clinical & Community Health
Phone: +61 3 9919 2585

Dr Deb Kerr
Deputy Leader, Clinical & Community Health
Phone: +61 3 9919 2325