About the study team

The Aboriginal Families Study (AFS) is a research initiative of the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Research Group, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia Inc (AHCSA), the University of Adelaide and the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). 

The Aboriginal Families Study governance and team structure includes:

Lead investigator

Professor Stephanie Brown (pictured below, left) is head of the Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Research Group at Murdoch Children's Research Institute. She is a maternal and perinatal epidemiologist with expertise in the conduct of large scale epidemiological studies, and community-based participatory approaches to research involving socially disadvantaged and ‘hard to reach’ populations.

Research team

Stephanie Brown and Donna Weetra
  • Ms Tania Axleby-Blake, Study Manager
  • Ms Roxanne Miller, Senior Project Officer
  • Ms Donna Weetra, Senior Project Officer
  • Ms Rikki Wilson, Project Assistant 
  • Dr Ellie McDonald, Data Manager
  • Ms Petrea Cahir, Research Co-ordinator

Other AFS study investigators

  • Ms Karen Glover, South Australian Health and Medical Research Council (SAHMRI)
  • Ms Donna Weetra, Senior Project Officer, MCRI
  • Dr Fiona Mensah, Senior Research Fellow, MCRI
  • Dr Rebecca Giallo, Senior Research Fellow, MCRI
  • Dr Deirdre Gartland, Research Fellow, MCRI
  • Professor Jonathan Newbury, University of Adelaide
  • A/Professor Phillippa Middleton, SAHMRI
  • Professor Sheena Reilly, Griffith University
  • Professor Maria Makrides, SAHMRI
  • Ms Amanda Mitchell, Deputy CEO, AHCSA
  • Professor Alex Brown, SAHMRI
  • Ms Jackie Ah Kit, Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Professor Peter Anderson, Monash University
  • Dr Peter Azzopardi, MCRI
  • Dr Jane Yelland, Senior Research Fellow, MCRI

Aboriginal Advisory Group

  • Ms Amanda Mitchell, AHCSA (Chairperson)
  • Ms Karen Glover, SAHMRI
  • Ms Jackie Ah Kit, Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Ms Glenise Coulthard, Community representative
  • Ms Cathy Leane, Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Ms Deanna Stuart-Butler, Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Ms May Turner, Council of Aboriginal Elders of South Australia
  • Ms Theresa Francis, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Ms Janiene Deverix, Child and Family Health Service
  • Ms Sharron Williams, Aboriginal Family Support Service

Policy Implementation Partnership

  • Ms Cathy Leane, Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Ms Mel Bradley, Women’s and Children’s Health Network
  • Ms April Lawrie-Smith, Department of Education and Child Development
  • Ms Tanya McGregor, SA Health
  • Ms Lynne Cowan, SA Health
  • Mr Jonathan Main, Department of Education and Child Development
  • Ms Kim Morey, Wardliparringa Aboriginal Health Unit, SAHMRI
  • Ms Amanda Mitchell, AHCSA
  • Ms Deanna Stuart-Butler, Women's and Children's Health Network
  • Ms Nola Whyman, Southern Area Local Health Network
  • Mr Kurt Towers, Northern Adelaide Local Health Network
  • Ms Bernie Cummins, Women’s and Children’s Hospital
  • Ms Meredith Hobbs, Lyell McEwin Hospital
  • Ms Jo O’Connor, Flinders Medical Centre
  • Professor Stephanie Brown, MCRI
  • Professor Jonathan Newbury, University of Adelaide
  • Ms Ann-Marie Hayes, Department of Education and Child Development

The Aboriginal Families Study Policy Implementation Partnership was formed in 2008 to facilitate translation of the research findings into policy development and service improvement.

Aboriginal Family Study Fieldwork Team

AFS Fieldwork Team

A team of 12 Aboriginal research interviewers invited women from urban, regional and remote areas of South Australia to take part in the study. Donna Weetra (Field work Co-ordinator) and Stephanie Brown (Lead Investigator) are shown here with some of the members of the team at Murray Bridge in South Australia.

We are very grateful to all the members of the fieldwork team for huge amount of work they put into community engagement and supporting women to take part.

Fieldwork team members: (2011-2013): Roxanne Miller, Eunice Aston, Emily Jaworek, Deborah Fuschtei, Jess Reid, Denise Thomas, Jess King, Deelia Richards, Jannaya Wilson, Rikki Wilson, Hayley Wilson, Karyn McCue    

AFS Research Agreement

A research agreement was signed by representatives of the AHCSA, the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, the University of Adelaide and individual study investigators at the commencement of the research phase of the study. This agreement includes terms of reference for the Aboriginal Advisory Group as the key body providing advice and guidance to the study investigators on the conduct and interpretation of the research, feedback to communities and broader dissemination of the study findings. This agreement is currently being updated to include partnerships in the next phase of the study.