Congratulations In Order

Congratulations in order

  • News

It is my great pleasure to advise you that two of Phoenix Australia’s senior leadership team have been successful in recent applications for academic promotion within the University of Melbourne.


Head of Research, Meaghan O’Donnell is now Professor O’Donnell, and Deputy Director Andrea Phelps, is now Associate Professor Phelps.


This is confirmation of Meaghan and Andrea’s outstanding achievements both within academia as well as in their roles here at Phoenix Australia.


Professor O’Donnell has an international reputation in posttraumatic mental health research with a focus on improving recovery after trauma. Her major areas of research include early interventions after trauma exposure, phenomenology of traumatic stress responses, and disability after trauma. She has conducted a number of randomised controlled trials testing models of early psychological intervention after trauma, and has expertise in running longitudinal studies of trauma survivors. She has worked extensively with Commonwealth government departments including Veterans’ Affairs and Defence, both in a scientific advisory capacity and as principal investigator on research and evaluation projects. 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.


Meaghan has published over 100 peer reviewed articles in the area of posttraumatic mental health, including JAMA Psychiatry, British Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry and Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 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. She has also been a recipient of the prestigious Humboldt Experienced Researcher Fellowship to foster research collaborations with Germany.


Associate Professor Phelps, Deputy Director of Phoenix Australia, has held leadership positions in the field of posttraumatic mental health across clinical, research, teaching and service development domains over the past 20 years. Andrea has directly influenced the care provided to thousands of Australians with posttraumatic mental health problems through her leadership of the NHMRC-approved Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (2007 and 2013), endorsed by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, and the Australian Psychological Society. She has also influenced a generation of trauma clinicians through developing training in evidence-based treatments for trauma-affected individuals and providing training and supervision to many health practitioners from psychology, psychiatry, general practice and social work within Australia and the US. Andrea is an experienced consultant to a range of industry partners and government on research, service development and policy issues regarding organisational responses to psychological trauma. Industry partners include TrackSAFE Foundation, state rail organisations, police, fire and ambulance services; government departments include Veterans’ Affairs, Defence, the Australian Federal Police, Health and Human Services, Home Affairs, and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.


Despite Andrea’s primary focus on research translation and engagement, she has made a significant contribution to literature in the area of posttraumatic mental health, with 30 peer-reviewed papers, including first author publications in Psychological Medicine, Sleep and Clinical Psychology Review, and five book chapters. Her primary area of research is the phenomenology and treatment of posttraumatic nightmares in PTSD.


∼ Professor David Forbes