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Professor Stephanie Brown
Professor Stephanie Brown is a social epidemiologist and health services researcher. Stephanie originally trained as a social historian and worked in policy and the community sector before completing a PhD in perinatal epidemiology. In 2007, she was invited to establish a research program in maternal health at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.
Over the past 15 years, Stephanie has developed a vibrant program of epidemiological and health services research, with a primary focus on reducing health inequalities. Her team are working with Aboriginal communities, refugee communities and women and children exposed to family violence to address gaps in evidence regarding effective intervention strategies to promote resilience and enable healing and recovery from the effects of trauma and family violence.
Stephanie has been highly successful in establishing and maintaining partnerships to support her group's collaborative programs in Aboriginal health, refugee and migrant health, intergenerational trauma and family violence. In her leadership roles, she combines high standards of scientific rigour with a strong commitment to integration of community and policy knowledge in the development of research questions, and design and conduct of research through to dissemination and knowledge translation.
In 2020, she was awarded NHMRC funding to establish and lead the Stronger Futures Centre of Research Excellence. The Centre is implementing a collaborative, multi-stakeholder program of translational research spanning four major priority areas: the impact of intergenerational trauma and family violence, trauma-informed approaches to health and social care, prevention and resilience, and healing and recovery from intergenerational trauma. Stephanie is also Co-Leader of MCRI's Aboriginal Health Program and a founding member of the Aboriginal Communities and Families Research Alliance.
- Honorary Professorial Fellow, Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne
- Honorary Professorial Fellow, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne
- Professorial Fellow, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
- NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (2016-2020)
- Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2012-2015)
- National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Fellowship (2008- 2011)
- VicHealth Public Health Research Fellowship (2002-2006)
- BMC Award for Excellence in Medicine (2007)
- 'Young Tall Poppy' Award (1999)
Professor Brown's research program combines strong platforms of epidemiological research focusing on common maternal physical and mental health problems, intimate partner violence and the health of vulnerable populations, with strategic engagement in effective collaboration with policy makers, health services and community organisations to support knowledge translation. Her research program is charting exciting new ground in participatory academic, community and policy partnership necessary for developing a stronger, more relevant evidence base for health system reform capable of making a difference to health outcomes for the most disadvantaged people in our community.
- The Maternal Health Study: prospective pregnancy cohort investigating the health of 1500 first time mothers and their firstborn children
- Aboriginal Families Study: closing the gap in Aboriginal maternal and child health outcomes (in partnership with the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia)
- Bridging the Gap: addressing refugee inequalities through primary health care service reform
- Group Pregnancy Care Study: implementing and evaluating a new approach to antenatal and postnatal care for families of refugee background that involves inter-agency collaboration between public maternity hospitals, refugee settlement agencies, and maternal and child health services
- Childhood Resilience Study: building the evidence to reduce health inequalities across the lifecourse
- Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study
Brown SJ, Conway LJ, FitzPatrick KM, Hegarty K, Mensah F. Physical and mental health of women exposed to intimate partner violence in the 10 years after having their first child: an Australian prospective cohort of first-time mothers. BMJ Open;2021;10(12):e034295. PubMed PMID: 33371030.
Brown S, Mensah F, Giallo R, Woolhouse H, Hegarty K, Nicholson JM, Gartland D. Intimate partner violence and maternal mental health ten years after a first birth: An Australian prospective cohort study of first-time mothers. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2020;262:247-257. PubMed PMID: 31732279.
Gartland D, Giallo R, Woolhouse H, Mensah F, Brown SJ. Intergenerational impacts of family violence - mothers and children in a large prospective pregnancy cohort study. EClinicalMedicine, 2019;15:51-61. PubMed PMID: 31709414.
Giallo R, Woolhouse H, Gartland D, Hiscock H, Brown SJ. The emotional-behavioural functioning of children exposed to maternal depressive symptoms across pregnancy and early childhood: a prospective Australian pregnancy cohort study. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2015 Jan 9. PubMed PMID: 25572869.
Woolhouse H, Gartland D, Mensah F, Brown SJ. Maternal depression from early pregnancy to 4 years postpartum in a prospective pregnancy cohort study: implications for primary health care. BJOG 2015 Feb;122(3):312-21. PubMed PMID: 24844913.
Woolhouse H, Gartland G, Hegarty K, Donath S, Brown S. Depressive symptoms and intimate partner violence in the 12 months after childbirth: A prospective pregnancy cohort study. BJOG 2012; 119(3):315-23. PubMed PMID: 22145631.
Gartland D, Riggs E, Muyeen S, Giallo R, O Afifi T, MacMillan H, Herrman H, Bulford E, Brown SJ. What factors are associated with resilient outcomes in children exposed to social adversity? A systematic review. BMJ Open 2019; 9(4):e024870. PubMed PMID: 30975671.
Yelland J, Mensah F, Riggs E, McDonald E, Szwarc J, Dawson W, Vanpraag D, Casey S, East C, Biro MA, Teale G, Willey S, Brown SJ. Evaluation of systems reform in public hospitals, Victoria, Australia, to improve access to antenatal care for women of refugee background: An interrupted time series design. PLoS Med 2020;17(7):e1003089. PubMed PMID: 32649668.
Yelland J, Riggs E, Szwarc J, Casey S, Dawson W, Vanpraag D, East C, Wallace E, Teale G, Harrison B, Petschel P, Furler J, Goldfeld S, Mensah F, Biro M, Willey, S, Chen I, Small R, Brown S. Bridging the Gap: using an interrupted time series design to evaluate systems reform addressing refugee maternal and child health inequalities. Implementation Science. 2015;10(1):62. PubMed PMID: 25924721.
Brown S, Gartland D, Weetra D, Leane C, Francis T, Mitchell A, Glover K. Health care experiences and birth outcomes: results of an Aboriginal birth cohort. Women and Birth, 2019;32(5):404-411. PubMed PMID: 31202584.
Brown SJ, Mensah F, Ah Kit J, Stuart-Butler D, Glover K, Leane C, Weetra D, Newbury J, Yelland J. Use of cannabis during pregnancy and birth outcomes in an Aboriginal birth cohort: a cross sectional population-based study. BMJ Open 2016;6(2), e010286. PubMed PMID: 26908527.
- National Health and Medical Research Council
- Australian Research Council
- Australian Rotary Health
- Geoff and Helen Handbury Foundation
- Myer Foundation
- Oak Foundation
- Royal Children’s Hospital Research Foundation
- North West Melbourne Primary Health Network
- Department of Human Services, South Australia
- Department of Health, Victoria
- Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria