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Dr Fiona Mensah
Dr Fiona Mensah is a Senior Research Fellow in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and team leader in the Intergenerational Health Group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
Her research focuses on the social health of families and children and evaluation of health and social care programs to promote health equity. Centered in pregnancy and early childhood her research seeks to redress the impacts of social adversity for families via provision of strengths-based whole of family approaches to health care.
Dr Mensah is experienced in working with complex epidemiological and health systems data. Her experience includes longitudinal cohort studies of families and data linkages with health and educational systems including the Victorian Perinatal Data System, Medicare, Australian Early Development Census and National Academic Program Language and Numeracy.
She co-leads community based studies including longitudinal cohort studies, randomized controlled trials, and whole of system evaluations of policy and quality improvement. She is experienced in leading analytic teams supporting an extensive program of Australian research studies in design, implementation and quantitative methodologies.
Dr Mensah collaborates with academic research groups nationally including The University of Melbourne, Deakin University, La Trobe University and Griffith University, and internationally including the Universities of Newcastle, Warwick and York, UK. Dr Mensah works collaboratively with a network of community health care organisations and government departments in study implementation and knowledge translation.
Her research supports key NHMRC funded projects supporting the promotion of health, well-being and equity including: The Aboriginal Families Study, Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future, and the Safer Families Centre of Research Excellence.
- Honorary Research Affiliate, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne
- PhD by Publication (2011): The family environment, parenting behaviours and children’s health and development over the life course. Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, UK.
- British Educational Research Journal prize for paper of the year: Kathleen Kiernan, Fiona Mensah. (2011) Poverty, Family Resources and Children's Early Educational Attainment: The Mediating Role of Parenting. British Educational Research Journal 37(2), 317-336.
- NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (2012-2015): Quantitative methods for new insights into children's health inequalities from longitudinal cohorts.
- Ten of the best NHMRC research projects: Gehan Roberts, Jon Quach, Megan Spencer Smith, Peter Anderson, Susan Gathercole, Lisa Gold, Kah-Ling Sia, Fiona Mensah, Field Rickards, John Ainley, Melissa Wake. (2016) Academic outcomes two years after working memory training in children with low working memory: A school-based population randomized controlled trial. JAMA Pediatrics. 170 (5): e154568.
- NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (2016-2020): Building Resilience to Support Healthy Families and Children.
Dr Mensah's research is about understanding children's development from early life through adolescence. She uses longitudinal family cohort studies to examine children's health and developmental pathways and how these may be influenced by their experiences in childhood and their family and community environments while they are growing up.
Her research considers how family and community strengths, adversity and resilience each affect children's development, assessing a breadth of aspects of children's health and development including language and cognitive development, socio-emotional well-being, mental health and behaviour, physical health conditions, and obesity.
Her research findings are used as the basis to inform the co-design and evaluation of programs to promote family well-being and children's health and development. Dr Mensah is working on community based trials including right@home Evaluation of Nurse Home Visiting which evaluates home nurse visiting during pregnancy and early childhood; the Bridging the Gapand Healthy Happy Beginnings programs which promote the quality of maternity and early childhood health care for families of refugee background; and the Aboriginal Families Study projects which support families within Aboriginal-led antenatal and maternal and child health programs supporting integrated health and social care.
- Generation Victoria
- More than a Landlord
- Healthy Happy Beginnings
- Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future
- Improving Nutrition and Birth Outcomes for Women and Babies in the Aboriginal Birthing Program
- Safer Families Centre of Research Excellence
- The Aboriginal Families Study
- The Early Home Learning Study (EHLS) at School
- Changing Children’s Chances
- The Childhood Resilience Study
- Bridging the Gap
- The Early Language in Victoria Study (ELVS)
- Maternal Health Study
- Longitudinal Study of Australian Children's Child Health CheckPoint
- right@home Evaluation of Nurse Home Visiting
- Centre of Research Excellence in Child Language
Jane Yelland, Fiona Mensah, Elisha Riggs, Ellie McDonald, Josef Szwarc, Wendy Dawson, Dannielle Vanpraag, Sue Casey, Chris E East, Mary Anne Biro, Glyn Teale, Sue Willey, Stephanie J Brown. (2020) Evaluation of systems reform in Victoria, Australia, public hospitals to improve access to antenatal care for women of refugee background: an interrupted time series design. PLOS Medicine [in press].
Ha Le, Fiona Mensah, Patricia Eadie, Cristina McKean, Emma Sciberras, Edith L. Bavin, Sheena Reilly, Lisa Gold. (2020) Health-related quality of life of children with low language from early childhood to adolescence: results from an Australian longitudinal population-based study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry [in press].
Elizabeth Westrupp, Fabrizio D’Esposito, Jane Freemantle, Fiona Mensah, Jan Nicholson. (2019) Health outcomes for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children born preterm, low birthweight or small for gestational age: A nationwide cohort study. PLOS ONE. 14 (2): e0212130.
Sharon Goldfeld, Sarah Gray, Francisco Azpitarte, Daniel Cloney, Fiona Mensah, Gerry Redmond, Katrina Williams, Susan Woolfenden, Meredith O'Connor. (2019) Driving precision policy responses to child health and developmental inequities. Health Equity, 3(1), 489-494.
Hannah Bryson, Sharon Goldfeld, Anna Price, Fiona Mensah. (2019) Hair cortisol as a measure of the stress response to social adversity in young children. Developmental Psychobiology. 61 (4): 525-542.
Sharon Goldfeld, Kate Francis, Monsurul Hoq, Loc Do, Elodie O’Connor, Fiona Mensah. (2019) The Impact of Policy Modifiable Factors on Inequalities in Rates of Child Dental Caries in Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 16 (11): 1970.
Catherine Chamberlain, Graham Gee, Stephanie Brown, Judith Atkinson, Helen Herrman, Deirdre Gartland, Karen Glover, Yvonne Clark, Sandra Campbell, Fiona Mensah, Caroline Atkinson, Sue Brennan, Helen McLachlan, Tanja Hirvonen, Danielle Dyall, Naomi Ralph, Stacey Hokke, Jan Nicholson. (2018) Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future—co-designing perinatal strategies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents experiencing complex trauma: framework and protocol for a community-based participatory action research study. BMJ Open. 9 (6): e028397.
Constantine E Gasser, Fiona Mensah, Susan A Clifford, Jessica A Kerr, Melissa Wake. (2018) Parental health behaviour predictors of childhood and adolescent dietary trajectories. Public Health Nutrition. 21 (10): 1-12.
Sharon Goldfeld, Meredith O'Connor, Elodie O'Connor, Shiau Chong, Hannah Badland, Sue Woolfenden, Gerry Redmond, Katrina Williams, Francisco Azpitarte, Dan Cloney, Fiona Mensah. (2018) More than a snapshot in time: pathways of disadvantage over childhood. International Journal of Epidemiology. 47 (4).
Tracy Liu, Raghu Lingam, Kate Lycett, Fiona Mensah, Joshua Muller, Harriet Hiscock, Md Hamidul Huque, Melissa Wake. (2018) Parent-reported prevalence and persistence of 19 common child health conditions. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 103 (6): 548-556.
Cristina Mckean, Sheena Reilly, Edith L. Bavin, Lesley Bretherton, Eileen Cini, Laura Conway, Fallon Cook, Patricia Eadie, Margot Prior, Melissa Wake, Fiona Mensah. (2017) Language Outcomes at 7 Years: Early Predictors and Co-Occurring Difficulties. Pediatrics. 139 (3): e20161684.
Richard S Liu, Fiona Mensah, John Carlin, Ben Edwards, Sarath Ranganathan, Michael Cheung, Terence Dwyer, Richard Saffery, Costan Magnussen, Markus Juonala, Melissa Wake, David P Burgner. (2017) Socioeconomic Position Is Associated With Carotid Intima–Media Thickness in Mid-Childhood: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Journal of the American Heart Association. 6: e005925(8).
Anita D'Aprano, Sven Silburn, Vanessa Johnston, Ross Bailie, Fiona Mensah, Frank Oberklaid, Gary Robinson. (2016) Challenges in monitoring the development of young children in remote Aboriginal health services: Clinical audit findings and recommendations for improving practice. Rural and remote health. 16 (3): 3852.
Stephanie Brown, Fiona Mensah, Jackie Ah Kit, Deanna Stuart-Butler, Karen Glover, Cathy Leane, Donna Weetra, Deirdre Gartland, Jonathan Newbury, Jane Yelland. (2016) Use of cannabis during pregnancy and birth outcomes in an Aboriginal birth cohort: a cross-sectional, population-based study. BMJ Open. 6: e010286.
Kate Lycett, Emma Sciberras, Harriet Hiscock, Fiona Mensah. (2016) Sleep problem trajectories and well-being in children with ADHD: a prospective cohort study. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 37 (5): 405-414.
Sharon Goldfeld, Amanda Kvalsvig, Emily Incledon, Meredith O’Connor, Fiona Mensah. (2014) Predictors of Mental Health Competence in a Population Cohort of Australian Children. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 68 (5): 431-437.
Pauline Jansen, Fiona Mensah, Jan Nicholson, Melissa Wake. (2013) Family and neighbourhood socioeconomic inequalities in childhood trajectories of BMI and overweight: Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Plos ONE. 8(7): e69676.
Fiona Mensah, Jordana Bayer, Melissa Wake, John Carlin, Nicholas Allen, George Patton. (2013) Early puberty and childhood social and behavioral adjustment. Journal of Adolescent Health. 53 (1): 118-124.
Elizabeth Westrupp, Fiona Mensah, Rebecca Giallo, Amanda Cooklin, Jan Nicholson. (2012) Mental Health in Low-to-Moderate Risk Preterm, Low Birth Weight, and Small for Gestational Age Children at 4 to 5 Years: The Role of Early Maternal Parenting. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 51 (3): 313-323.
Kathleen Kiernan, Fiona Mensah. (2011) Poverty, Family Resources and Children’s Early Educational Attainment: The Mediating Role of Parenting. British Educational Research Journal. 37 (2): 317-336.
- Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
- Australian Research Council
- Australian Rotary Health
- Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY)
- Ian Potter Foundation
- Lowitja Institute
- Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI)
- Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF)
- RCH Foundation
- The University of Melbourne
- Victorian Government (Department of Health & Human Services)