Our staff have complementary skills and experience in research, clinical treatment, policy, service development, education and communication.

 

Our people include clinically trained researchers and specialist psychologists, who are supported by our professional services team. Our specialist practitioners maintain their clinical skills in their private psychology and psychiatry practices.

MANAGEMENT TEAM

Professor David Forbes

BA (Hons) MA (Clin Psych) PhD

Director

David Forbes is the Director of Phoenix Australia, and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, the University of Melbourne. David is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience in the assessment and treatment of mental health problems following trauma, and he has worked in both acute crisis and continuing care settings across the community mental health system. David is an international expert in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic stress, military, emergency and disaster mental health and the relationship between trauma and problematic anger with strong national and international links with other researchers and experts in the field. He was Chair of the Working Party for the inaugural National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) approved Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in 2007, co-chair of the steering group for the revised Guidelines in 2013, Vice Chair of the international PTSD Guidelines Committee (2018) developed by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), the newly appointed Chair of the next iteration of the international ISTSS PTSD Guidelines and lead editor on the seminal Effective Treatments for PTSD 3 Edition (2020). David has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and sits on the editorial boards of leading international journals. David is a member of many advisory committees for governments and other organisations, including the Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, and the Australian Psychological Society and co-chairs the Five- Eyes Military and Veteran Mental Health Research and Innovation Collaborative. He has a strong track record in leading initiatives to improve outcomes for people affected by trauma through the translation of research into effective policy and practice. David is a passionate advocate for the use of evidence-based responses following trauma in order to reduce the mental health effects on survivors, their families and communities.

Professor Andrea Phelps

BA (Hons) MPsych (Clin) PhD

Deputy Director

Professor Andrea Phelps is the Deputy Director of Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. In this role Andrea has strategic oversight of the Centre’s activities across research, service development and training and plays a key role in strategic planning and setting future directions. She has over 20 years of clinical experience in the assessment and treatment of posttraumatic mental health problems in veterans and was responsible for the accreditation of PTSD treatment programs for veterans across Australia for many years.

At Phoenix Australia, Andrea leads a number of major projects including the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Complex PTSD. She also consults to a range of Government departments and industry partners on research, service development and policy issues regarding organisational responses to psychological trauma. Government departments include Veterans’ Affairs, Defence, Health and Human Services, Australian Border Force, and Australian Federal Police; industry partners include state police, fire, ambulance and rail services.

Andrea’s research interests centre on the nature and treatment of posttraumatic stress with a particular focus on moral injury and posttraumatic nightmares.

Graham Hawke

BE (Hons), MEngSci, MBA, GAICD

Chief Operating Officer

Graham is the Chief Operating Officer, incorporating strategy and strategic initiatives, operational planning and operating model evolution, corporate governance, corporate services—finance, information technology, facilities, human resources—and the project management office. Graham is a highly experienced senior executive—traversing all tiers of government, small-medium enterprises and global corporations—leading strategy, engineering, interdisciplinary research and commercial ventures, and corporate services. His previous roles include Group Executive, Strategy and Performance and Chief Strategy Officer at the Bureau of Meteorology, simultaneously leading national operations through the extensive ‘Black Summer’ bushfires of 2019-20. He chaired an award-winning multi-year national research alliance with CSIRO. As an executive in a Victorian water corporation, he held leadership roles during major emergencies, including direct, personal community engagement in the aftermath of a record flood. Graham was recently appointed as a Non-Executive Director with Westernport Water and has held other Director roles at a Cooperative Research Centre and a national research infrastructure collaboration. He holds engineering and director qualifications including an MBA and is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Ms Lesley Podesta

Head, Government Relations

Lesley came into the not for profit sector after undertaking a number of senior roles in the Australian and Victorian governments – she worked in education, employment and the health portfolios as a senior executive. She was the head of the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health , Ageing and Aged Care Division and the head of Communicable Disease and Biosecurity. She helped to establish the National Incident Room and National Medicines Stockpile to enable Australia respond to serious events including the use of biological agents in terrorism, pandemics and serious natural disasters, she was also responsible for the National Dementia Strategy, the National Immunisation program and the National HIV Strategy.

Lesley worked with The Fred Hollows Foundation as their head of Global Partnerships and Advocacy where she developed a global partnership with the International Diabetes Federation to reduce blindness from diabetes and won the Google challenge award with a low cost camera to screen for blindness in remote and vulnerable populations. Lesley held the position of Chief Executive Officer with the Alannah & Madeline Foundation from 2016 – 2020 and was a Phoenix Australia Board Member, 2018 –2021.

Professor Meaghan O’Donnell

BAppSci BSci (Hons) MPsych (Clin) PhD

Head, Research

Professor Meaghan O’Donnell completed her postgraduate clinical psychology training at the University of Western Australia and her PhD at the University of Melbourne (under the supervision of Professor Mark Creamer). Meaghan has published widely in the area of posttraumatic mental health, holds a number of large research grants, and is involved in both national and international research collaborations. She is Immediate Past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), and is on the editorial board of the European Journal of Psychotraumatology. Meaghan is involved in a number of research projects that encompass a range of areas including epidemiology, phenomenology, intervention, and biology of posttraumatic mental health, and the mental health issues in military and veteran populations. She has been a recipient of the prestigious Humboldt Experienced Researcher Fellowship to foster research collaborations in Germany.

Nicole Sadler

MPsych (Clin)

Head, Policy and Practice

Through her 23-year career as a full-time Army psychology officer, Nicole has developed considerable expertise in military mental health, including in the issues and challenges for serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families, and the systems and services to improve and maintain mental health and wellbeing within high risk populations. Nicole has worked in psychology service provision, training, research, policy development and strategic planning, and has deployed in support of numerous Australian Defence Force operations. She held the senior psychology position within the Australian Army from August 2012 to January 2017. Nicole continues to serve as a Colonel in the Army Reserves and she is one of the Defence investigators on the joint Departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme. She is currently completing a PhD.

Anna Parkin

BSc(Hons), DipEd, MEd(IntEd), PGDipMgmt(Mkt)

Head, Training and Workforce Development

Anna Parkin has more than 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in higher education. As a consultant she has developed international strategies for Federation and Bond Universities and several private organisations. Prior to this, she was Faculty Dean International and Strategic Partnerships at Curtin University where she led marketing and recruitment, external engagement, and the delivery and performance of the Faculty’s transnational education programs including through the Singapore, Malaysia, Mauritius, and Dubai campuses, with franchised partners in HK and Vietnam, and joint programs in China and Indonesia.

Her ability to identify and respond to changing environmental influencers and emerging issues with strategic solutions and exemplary relationship management skills has led to many significant achievements including; the development of some of Australia’s earliest pathway courses and offshore transnational programs for international students as Principal of Foundation Studies and Diploma Programs at La Trobe University; improved recruitment outcomes and global profiling for Melbourne Business School as Director Global Development; organisational rebranding and successfully leading staff through large scale organisational changes as Director International and Development at TAFE SA; the development of Victoria’s first comprehensive international education strategy (also first in Australia) as Director International Education; and the establishment of substantial international institutional, government, and industry collaborations, quality improvements of offshore programs, increased mobility funding and opportunities, and the design of new online initiatives for Curtin University.

Dr John Cooper

MBBS MPM FRANZCP

Consultant Psychiatrist

John Cooper is a Consultant Psychiatrist who has worked part time at Phoenix Australia since 1999, providing psychiatry expertise across the policy and service development, training and education, and research domains. During this same period, John has held senior clinical and advisory positions in posttraumatic mental health at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (formerly VVCS), as well as maintaining a busy private practice specialising in the treatment of posttraumatic mental health problems. John’s particular expertise is in veterans’ mental health, assessment, pharmacotherapy, and service development. Recently, John has moved much of his clinical work into youth and community clinical settings where high rates of posttraumatic mental health disorders impact upon all aspects of patient care.

SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM

Dr Rahul Khanna

MBBS BA MPsychiatry FRANZCP

Director, Innovation & Medical Governance

Rahul is a practicing psychiatrist with a background in leadership, research, teaching and service delivery in the mental health, tertiary education, health-tech and non-profit sectors. His clinical work has focused on the assessment and treatment of victims of occupational trauma, mostly from high-risk populations presenting to the Psychological Trauma Recovery Service at Austin Health.

Rahul’s primary focus is on pushing the boundaries of mental healthcare. This includes the research, development & implementation of frontier technologies to care and training the next generation of clinician-scientists. A staunch anti-disciplinarian, he is a hobbyist coder and has formal training in machine learning, behavioural design, leadership, philosophy, and entrepreneurship. In his role as Director, innovation & medical governance, he uses his broad skills and experience to bridge the divide between the healthcare and innovation communities to deliver the future of clinical & adjacent services.

Anne-Laure Couineau

BA (Psych) MA (Psych) Grad Dip (Psych)

Director, Policy and Service Development

Anne-Laure is a psychologist with extensive experience in the treatment of posttraumatic mental health problems in hospital and community settings. She has specialised in the treatment of war veterans and emergency personnel diagnosed with PTSD and the effects of long-term childhood sexual abuse and neglect. Anne-Laure has a strong background in education and knowledge translation and has led several projects aimed at improving the uptake of evidence-based practice among mental health practitioners. Recent projects led by Anne-Laure include a Department of Veterans’ Affairs national training initiative to up-skill mental health practitioners, and an ADF national training program. Anne-Laure has also completed a fellowship with the National Institute of Clinical Studies focusing on the implementation of evidence-based treatment of PTSD.

Associate Professor Leanne Humphreys

BA (Hons) MPsych (Clin) PhD

Director, Training and Workforce Development

Leanne has almost 30 years’ experience as a clinical psychologist and has treated veterans and emergency services personnel, and survivors of childhood abuse, domestic violence and institutional abuse. She has developed and served as the foundation Program Coordinator for a number of in-patient and out-patient programs in NSW for veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress and other trauma-related disorders, which have been highly regarded for their utilisation of evidence-based practices, and their ability to achieve improved outcomes for veterans. Leanne has presented at conferences both locally and internationally on topics relating to the assessment and treatment of trauma-related disorders, and her PhD investigated issues relevant to the development and assessment of competence in professional psychologists. Prior to joining Phoenix Australia she worked as a Senior Lecturer and Program Director for the Master and Doctorate of Clinical Psychology at Charles Sturt University.

Jane Nursey

BBSc Grad Dip Child & Adol Psych MPsych (Clin Neuro)

Director of Clinical Services

With 25 years’ experience as a clinician and manager/director of programs and services in the public hospital acute and mental health sectors, across the lifespan, Jane brings a wealth of experience to her role at Phoenix Australia. Her clinical experience includes delivering evidence-based assessment, clinical treatment and secondary consultation to sufferers of trauma-related mental health disorders including children, adolescents, veterans, current serving members of the defence force, police and other emergency service personnel and disaster survivors. She has also worked in the alcohol and drug, traumatic brain injury, aged care and developmental disability sectors. Jane is an experienced trainer, developing and facilitating training workshops to health professionals on evidence-based neuropsychological and clinical assessments and treatments for trauma-related mental health disorders, as well educational workshops on trauma response and recovery. Since joining Phoenix Australia, Jane has led and contributed to a range of service development and training and research projects that focus on translating evidence into practice, improving community and industry’s knowledge of and capacity to manage the impact of traumatic events, and enhancing the capacity of mental health practitioners to deliver evidence-based treatments. Jane’s training in Clinical Neuropsychology and Developmental Psychology fuel her research interests in exploring the neurobiological and neuropsychological aspects of trauma and exploring innovative treatments that help to improve the clinical and cognitive symptoms of PTSD.

Alexandra Howard

BPsych (Hons) MPsych (Clin)

Director, Disaster and Public Health Emergencies

Alexandra has more than ten years’ experience working in the field of posttraumatic mental health – as a clinical psychologist, educator and specialist in policy and service development. She has worked with disaster-impacted communities, emergency service and military personnel, and traumatic injury patients, as well the professionals who support them. Alexandra’s particular interests lie in understanding and improving psychosocial outcomes for those impacted by disasters and public health emergencies, with a particular focus on marginalised populations. At Phoenix Australia, Alexandra has led a range of service development and training projects for a wide range of private, NGO and government stakeholders; her work focusses on translating evidence into practice, and disseminating best practice through policy and training frameworks that best suit the needs of each organisation. She has published in the field of posttraumatic mental health, and has presented her work at national and international conferences.

Professor Patricia Watson

Director of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Emergency Worker Mental Health

Professor Patricia Watson is the Director of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Emergency Worker Mental Health for Phoenix Australia, and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, the University of Melbourne. Patricia is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience in science-into-practice translation and intervention development for those responding to disasters and for those working in military and emergency worker jobs. She was a U.S. Navy clinical psychologist with a specialty in pediatric psychology prior to working at the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (NCPTSD) for 22 years. Patricia is an international expert in posttraumatic stress, early intervention, self-care and peer support, military and first responder cultural competence, and disaster mental health. She has collaborated with other experts in the field across her career at NCPTSD and serves as a founding behavioral health board member for the First Responder Center for Excellence in the United States, and the Early Intervention Special Interest Group Chair of the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). She has published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, as well as manuals, toolkits, guidance documents, and online courses on topics such as disaster mental health, military culture, first responder operational stress, early intervention, treatment of trauma-related conditions, and resilience. She has a strong track record in leading initiatives to improve the mental health of emergency workers and has a passion for educating organisational leaders and clinicians about effective responses for emergency worker stress, so as to reduce mental health effects on emergency workers and their families.

ACADEMIC STAFF

Dr Renée Armstrong

BA (Women’s Studies) GDip Psych BA (Psych) (Hons) PhD

Research Fellow I

Renée joined Phoenix Australia in 2012 on the Trauma and Homelessness Initiative, both as a Research Assistant and a PhD candidate. Her PhD investigated the ICD-11 Complex PTSD diagnostic guidelines in a sample of people experiencing long-term homelessness. Prior to her degree in psychology, Renée was a case manager in the homeless sector for seven years. At Phoenix Australia, she works on the clinical data collection project for the DVA-funded Trauma Recovery Program.

Jenelle Baur

BPsych (Hons) GCertCompSci

Research Assistant

Courtney Bowd

BPsySc (Hons)

Research Assistant

Courtney completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science with Honours at the University of Queensland. Her honours thesis examined the predictors of parenting self-efficacy during the transition to parenthood. Prior to joining Phoenix Australia, Courtney worked as a change management consultant for a professional services firm. In her current role as a Research Assistant she works across a range of projects, as well as within the Centenary of Anzac Centre’s Practitioner Support Service. She has an interest in periods of transition, as well as the impact of trauma on families.

Dr Katherine Chisholm

BA (Hons) DPsych (Health)

Research Fellow I

Katherine is a psychologist and has completed a DPsych (Health) at Deakin University. She has clinical experience working with traumatic injury survivors. Katherine’s research interests extend to this area at Phoenix Australia, where she currently works on an NHMRC-funded randomised controlled trial in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne Hospital. This trial aims to evaluate the efficacy of a transdiagnostic therapeutic approach for people who have experienced anxiety, depression or posttraumatic stress following traumatic injury.

Dr Sean Cowlishaw

BA (Psych) (Hons) PhD

Senior Research Fellow

Sean completed his PhD at La Trobe University in 2009, which addressed the impacts of occupational and traumatic stressors on families of volunteer emergency service workers. He has held positions at Monash University and Lancaster University (UK), and most recently within the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol. Sean has expertise in gambling problems and addictive behaviours, including treatments and comorbidities, early identification and interventions, as well as industry influences on research and policy. He has further interests in family dynamics and posttraumatic stress, as well as organisational and health services (e.g., primary care) research. Sean has methodological expertise incorporating experimental and observational designs (cross-sectional, prospective and multi-informant methodologies), and with advanced statistical analyses of primary and secondary data sources. Sean is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Bristol Medical School at the University of Bristol.

Tilly Crozier

BBSc PGDipPsych MPsych (Clin)

Senior Clinical Specialist

Currently on leave. Tilly is an experienced clinical psychologist who specialises in working with individuals, organisations and the community to understand, prevent, and recover from the impact of trauma. Tilly applies leading edge research and knowledge translation in a delivery context, and has worked in strategic planning, research, the development and delivery of education and training, and policy and service development in both project leadership and consultant roles. Tilly has worked extensively with police officers, emergency service personnel, veterans, Defence Force personnel, staff in forensic, legal, and health care settings, the general public, as well as adults who have experienced developmental trauma. Tilly provides assessment and treatment to individuals impacted by trauma-related mental health difficulties in her private practice. Previously, Tilly worked at a state-wide trauma service for young people and adults. Tilly is an AHPRA Board Approved Supervisor and provides clinical supervision and consultation advice to allied health practitioners, ex-service organisations and individuals who provide a helping role to those impacted by mental health difficulties.

Dr Lisa Dell

BAppSci (Hons) PhD

Senior Research Fellow

Lisa has a background in psychology and completed her PhD in the area of workplace stress and emotional intelligence. She specialises in working with military and high risk industries, with over 15 years’ experience in leading research and evaluation projects in this area. Of note, Lisa led the 10-year Longitudinal ADF Study Evaluating Resilience in current serving members, the design of a Mental Health Screening program for all military members, and has contributed extensively to the Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Currently Lisa is responsible for leading the National Health and Medical Research Council partnership grant study of Intensive Prolonged Exposure therapy, the international consortium developing an outcome scale for moral injury, and an evaluation into a national suicide prevention program.

Nina Ding

PGDip (Psych) MPsych (Clin)

Research Assistant

Nina is a registered psychologist with experience working with adult and older adult populations in the private and public sectors. She also has research experience in conducting literature reviews, statistical analysis, and preparing research for publication. At Phoenix Australia, Nina is involved in the Centenary of Anzac Centre’s Practitioner Support Service.

Dr Julia Fredrickson - On leave

BSci (Hons) DPsych (Health)

Clinical Research Specialist

Julia is a psychologist with a background in cognitive and health psychology, and over nine years of research experience. She previously worked in a clinical setting, assessing and treating individuals who had experienced a traumatic event in their workplace. Julia is experienced in conducting literature reviews, statistical analysis, and preparing research for publication. She has a particular interest in translating evidence to practice. At Phoenix Australia, Julia is involved in projects in the area of veteran mental health.

Isabella Freijah

BA BPsychSci (Hons)

Research Assistant

Isabella completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, and Honours in Psychology at Australian Catholic University, and aspires to pursue a PhD in the future. Her honours thesis investigated the maintaining mechanisms of eating disorders, which included a systematic literature review, a meta-analysis and an experimental study. She gained additional experience through a research assistant internship with the Cardiology Research department at Austin Health. At Phoenix Australia, Isabella works as a research assistant across various research projects in areas including veteran mental health and knowledge translation for organisations and communities.

Dr Kari Gibson - On leave

BA (Hons) MPsych (Clin) PhD

Research Fellow

Kari is a registered psychologist with a background in international development and refugee mental health. Her previous work in clinical settings has involved working with individuals to assess and treat varied mental health conditions, including working with people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds with complex PTSD. Kari’s research investigates the intersections of climate change and environmental disaster, displacement, and mental health. Her recent work with Phoenix Australia focusses on the cultural adaptation, implementation, and effectiveness of post-trauma psychosocial programs delivered internationally.

Dr Tarni Jennings

BA (Hons) DPsych (Clin)

Clinical Specialist

Tarni is a clinical psychologist with 13 years’ experience in the evidence-based treatment of posttraumatic mental health problems across a diverse group of populations including military and emergency service personnel, victims of natural disasters, adult survivors of childhood abuse and victims of domestic violence. Prior to joining Phoenix Australia Tarni worked as a Senior Psychologist with Queensland Police Service, delivering a range of psychology services aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of employees, including evidence-based treatment, peer support, critical incident interventions, resilience and wellbeing training, and policy and program development. Tarni worked for 10 years with the specialist trauma treatment service at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne. As part of this specialist service she worked in disaster recovery after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, providing treatment, specialist supervision, secondary consultation, and training.

Lucinda Johnson

BSc (Hons) BCom MPH

Research Fellow

Lucinda has a background in genetics and completed her Master of Public Health at the University of Melbourne. She has worked in research, government, and non-profit organisations for over 15 years. Before joining Phoenix Australia, she worked as an evaluation specialist and researcher in the US Government Department of Health and Human Services at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. She has global health experience in refractive error, school health and nutrition, and infectious diseases. Lucinda has skills in research, evaluation design and implementation, project management, conducting literature reviews, epidemiology, statistical analysis, and preparing manuscripts for publication.

Dr Kim Jones

BBiomedSc (Hons) MIPH PhD

Research Fellow I

Kim completed undergraduate studies in biomedical science and a PhD in Neuroscience at University of Newcastle studying the effect of stress-related immune responses in the brain during stroke recovery. Kim’s background includes work in health behaviour research, knowledge translation, clinical trials, and chronic illness research. She completed a Master of International Public Health at UNSW in 2018. At Phoenix Australia, Kim is involved in guideline development, evidence synthesis, and research support for a range of research projects aimed at improving outcomes for people with trauma-related mental health conditions.

Dr Dzenana Kartal

BSocSc PGDip (Psych) PhD

Research Fellow

Dzenana has over 15 years’ experience working in public and university mental health research specialising in posttraumatic mental health problems among refugees and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. She completed her PhD investigating the influence of war-related traumatic exposure, acculturative stress, and acculturation on the mental health of long-term resettled refugees in Australia and Austria. At Phoenix Australia, Dzenana specialises in mental health service delivery and research including implementation and evaluation of evidence-based treatments and knowledge translation.

Juhi Khatri

BA BAppSc (Psych) (Hons)

Research Assistant

Juhi completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Melbourne and RMIT University and has a background in research regarding cognitive function and assessment. Her honours thesis was based on the assessment of executive function in clinical paediatric and adult populations. At Phoenix Australia, she works as a Research Assistant across a range of projects in areas including veteran mental health.

Dr Winnie Lau

BBSC (Hons) MPsych (Clin) PhD

Senior Clinical Research Specialist

Winnie is a psychologist who has worked across academic, clinical and community settings. Having spent much time in the public child and adolescent mental health sector, she joined Phoenix Australia to work as a clinical specialist and project manager. Winnie has been involved in projects investigating the impact of trauma on injury survivors; the development of a treatment manual for use in the aftermath of the Victorian bushfires; and clinical intervention trials for traumatic injury patients. She has broad interests in trauma-focussed cognitive behavioural therapies, child and adolescent mental health, refugee trauma, complex trauma, and trauma-informed care.

Dr Ellie Lawrence-Wood

BBScPsych (Hons) PhD

Research Fellow

Dr Ros Lethbridge

BA (Hons) LLB (Hons) DPsych (Clin)

Clinical Specialist

Ros is a clinical psychologist with 14 years’ experience working in private, public and university mental health settings. Ros was formerly a lawyer and has worked with the judiciary as a trauma specialist. She has developed and delivered substantive educative projects for the judiciary on family violence, mentoring, wellbeing, and systemic change within the courts. She also provides ‘reflective practice’ to individual judges. Ros has extensive clinical experience in the evidence-based treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. As a senior psychologist for eight years at Austin Health she treated veterans and emergency service workers who experienced psychological trauma. Previously she worked as a consultant to the beyondblue National Workplace Program, coordinated and facilitated the anxiety outpatient programs at The Melbourne Clinic, and lectured in postgraduate clinical psychology.

Geraldine McKay

BSW MSW AMHSW

Clinical Specialist

Geraldine is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker and an experienced trainer, clinical supervisor and individual, couple and family therapist. She has provided clinical services to people in high risk organisations including personnel affected by exposure to trauma and workplace stress. Prior to joining Phoenix Australia, Geraldine worked in the Department of Defence, Australia Customs, Department of Immigration and Border Protection and Home Affairs, undertaking a range of roles in support of personnel and their families. In her work with Defence members and families, she provided relationship and family counselling, group programs and education briefs. Geraldine has developed and delivered education and training programs in both government and non-government agencies. Geraldine also works in private practice and is an educator for the Australian College of Applied Psychology in Bachelor and Master of Social Work (Qualifying) degrees.

Dr Olivia Metcalf

BA BSc (Hons) PhD

Clinical Research Specialist

Olivia has a background in cognitive and experimental psychology, as well as training in science communication. She is passionate about translating research findings to a wide audience, including trauma professionals and the general public. Olivia’s work at Phoenix Australia involves educating mental health professionals about the unique experiences of military and veteran populations and synthesising best-practice research for the treatment of mental health conditions resulting from trauma.

Dr Kim Murray

BSc (Hons) DClinPsy

Clinical Research Specialist

Kim trained in the UK as a clinical psychologist. Prior to working at Phoenix Australia, he worked in public mental health services in the UK and conducted research into the mental health and psychosocial impacts of modern slavery in Nepal. At Phoenix Australia Kim is involved in clinical research and service development projects. Kim’s broad interests are in global and refugee mental health, mindfulness-based approaches, and trauma-focussed clinical research.

Amanda Pearce

BPsych (Hons)

Research Assistant

Amanda completed her undergraduate studies in Adelaide and has since gained experience working in injury management and clinical research, in areas such as mental health following traumatic injury and assisting with rehabilitation and return to work. She is currently completing her Clinical Masters in Psychology with a particular interest in posttraumatic stress and health psychology. At Phoenix Australia, Amanda works as a Research Assistant on the SPRITE trial in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne and Alfred hospitals, evaluating a transdiagnostic therapy for traumatic injury survivors. Amanda’s Master’s thesis explores the relationship between PTSD, chronic pain, and sleep following traumatic injury.

Dr David Pedder

BA (Hons) MPsych (Clin) PhD

Clinical Specialist

David is a clinical psychologist with experience working with young people and adults across a number of sectors and treatment interventions. His PhD examined emotion regulation and he has an interest in trauma, complex trauma, youth mental health, LGBTQI+ populations, and high-risk industries. At Phoenix Australia, David is primarily involved in projects with emergency services, government, and compensation agencies, which aim to increase understanding and strengthen policy and initiatives for trauma-related mental health conditions. This includes conducting organisational service and policy reviews, strategic planning, research, knowledge translation, training development, quality assurance, tailoring clinical interventions, and project management. David is also involved in long-term service development and delivery projects, which includes BlueHub, a mental health service for police members receiving streamlined assessment and evidence-based treatment from a network of specialised clinicians.

Anita Savic

BSc (Hons) MPsych MCoupRelCouns MAPS FCCLP FCCOUNP

Senior Clinical Specialist

Anita is a clinical and counselling psychologist with extensive experience as a clinician, as well as in training development and delivery, consultation, policy and practice development, management, and strategic planning. She has led the development of organisational mental health strategies and large workplace projects. She has expertise in the mental health and wellbeing of high risk populations, including 10 years’ experience working within the police and emergency services sector. Her clinical experience includes delivering evidence-based mental health interventions to those impacted by trauma. Anita is an experienced trainer, developing and facilitating training on a range of topics including resilience, mental health training for managers, and trauma response and recovery. At Phoenix Australia, Anita works across service development and training projects that focus on translating evidence into practice, and improving capacity to manage the impact of traumatic events.

Dr Alyssa Sbisa

BAppSocSc (Counselling) (Hons) GDip (Psych) PhD

Research Fellow I

Alyssa is a mental health researcher with a background in psychology and behavioural neuroscience. She has previously worked in clinical settings, counselling and assessing victims of crime, drink-drivers, and high-risk individuals. Alyssa is experienced in conducting literature reviews, statistical analyses, and publication of research, and has broad interests in sexual and military-related trauma. At Phoenix Australia, Alyssa is involved in the RESTORE trial, investigating intensive delivery of prolonged exposure therapy for military personnel and veterans with PTSD.

Dr Tracey Varker

BSc (Hons) PGDip (Statistics) PhD

Senior Research Fellow

Tracey has over 12 years’ experience in posttraumatic mental health, and has worked with emergency services and military personnel, traumatic injury patients, and survivors of disaster, including the 2009 Victorian bushfires. She is a trial methodology expert, having worked on and consulted to, a number of prevention and intervention trials. Tracey is also an expert in evidence synthesis and is experienced in review methodologies including rapid evidence assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analysis, as well as general literature reviews. She is experienced in working with clients to develop reviews that best suit their needs and has published systematic reviews and papers on review methodology. Tracey has published over 35 articles on posttraumatic mental health and has presented her work at national and international conferences.

Loretta Watson

BBus (Acc) GDipPsychAdv

Research Assistant

Loretta is a PhD candidate and Research Assistant. Prior to completing her psychology undergraduate studies she was a Certified Practicing Accountant and worked for many years as a Financial Controller in the hospitality industry. At Phoenix Australia, Loretta is involved in a wide variety of projects in such areas as police and veteran mental health, and workplace violence. Her PhD is on promoting healthy ageing in Australian Vietnam Veterans.

PROFESSIONAL STAFF

Suzie Firth

Executive Assistant

Suzie joined Phoenix Australia in 2010. She is Executive Assistant to Nicole Sadler, Head, Policy and Practice and Professor Meaghan O’Donnell, Head, Research. She is responsible for providing executive support to both Professors and assisting with the oversight and support of activities across both the Policy and Practice and Research portfolios.  During her time at Phoenix she has provided high level executive support to a number of Directors, C-suite level executives and the Board. She also held the position of Acting Centre Manager for 2 years during a period of restructure. Part of her responsibilities as Centre Manager included HR management and ensuring organisational compliance with the University’s HR policies and processes. She continues to provide advice and support to members of the Senior Leadership Team on HR matters.

Jaiganesh G Swamy

BCom MPA

Finance Manager

Jaiganesh joined Phoenix Australia in 2009, having worked with a number of accounting professionals for many years. He has previously worked in another area of the University of Melbourne’s Department of Psychiatry as Accounts Officer. Jaiganesh is responsible for managing Phoenix Australia’s day-to-day finances, year-end audit, project support and other administration-related work.

Lee Merzel

Company Secretary / Executive Assistant

With a passion for front line service delivery, a commitment to continuous improvement and an eagle eye for detail, Lee is a champion of the principles of good corporate governance.  Lee has built an enviable reputation in executive support and as a trusted adviser, providing executive assistant support to Professor David Forbes and Professor Andrea Phelps. Lee’s career has included experience in the disciplines of human resources, corporate and external affairs and investor relations in public and private companies and the not-for-profit sector. Prior to joining Phoenix Australia, Lee and her husband operated a boutique professional services firm.

Veronica Ong

DipAcc

Corporate Services Administrator

Veronica has over a decade’s experience in administration, analysis, and customer service roles. At Phoenix Australia she works closely with the Finance Manager to provide support in financial matters and the production of month end financial reports. She is also responsible for assisting the Centre Manager with HR administration.

HONORARY APPOINTMENTS

 

Professor Mark Creamer

Professor Alexander McFarlane

Dr Peter Elliott

Professor Tracy Smart AO

Professor Derrick Silove AM

Professor Richard Bryant AC