SPHERE brings together the premier Australian clinician and health services researchers in the area of women’s sexual and reproductive health, the international perspectives of highly esteemed, leading international researchers, and the critical insights of an experienced health economist and statistician. The breadth of the collaboration is strengthened by methodological expertise in primary care practice, health services research, knowledge translation and implementation, social and health psychology, and epidemiology.
PROFESSOR DANIELLE MAZZA
Chief Investigator and Director of SPHERE, Monash University
Professor Danielle Mazza is one of Australia's leading clinician researchers in general practice. She also holds the Chair of General Practice at Monash University where she has been Head of Department since 2010. Danielle has been highly influential in improving the quality of clinical care delivered in general practice through her contributions as a researcher and educator in the field of women’s sexual and reproductive health, preventive care and the early detection of cancer. She has acquired more than $24 million in competitive research funding as a Chief Investigator and has 163 peer-reviewed publications in refereed journals. She is the sole author of the textbook “Women’s health in general practice” and lead investigator of the NHMRC-funded ACCORd Study, which trialled a complex intervention aimed at increasing the uptake of long-acting reversible contraception. Her research in women’s health has characterised current practice by Australian GPs and identified evidence practice gaps in the areas of contraception and preconception care. A strong proponent of evidence-based care, Danielle has also led and contributed to the development and implementation of key general practice guidelines and regularly provides expert advice on implementation to professional, government and policy groups.
PROFESSOR JANE FISHER
Chief Investigator, Monash University
Professor Jane Fisher is an academic Clinical and Health Psychologist, a Finkel Professor of Global Public Health and Professor of Women’s Health in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University. She is the Immediate Past President (2018 – 2020) of the International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health. Jane has longstanding interests in gender-based risks for women’s reproductive health and mental health and how these can be addressed in psychologically-informed clinical practices and health promotion strategies. Her research on the social determinants of mental health problems among women and girls and their impact on participation is recognised internationally, particularly by WHO where she was recently appointed Chair of the Guideline Development Committee for Interventions to Promote Nurturing Care for Early Childhood Development. Jane's research has also led to enhanced assessment protocols and treatment programs in Australian early parenting services and infertility treatment services. Her "What Were We Thinking" psychoeducational primary care program to prevent postnatal depression and anxiety was included in the Australian Department of Health's national MumSpace e-mental health initiative.
PROFESSOR ANGELA TAFT
Chief Investigator, La Trobe University
Angela Taft is a Professor and Principal Research Fellow at the Judith Lumley Centre (JLC), La Trobe University, Australia and an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne. She is a social scientist who uses rigorous combinations of qualitative and epidemiological methods to answer urgent and complex questions about women's health. Over the last 18 years, she has led a major competitively-funded program of research at JLC on intimate partner/gender-based violence. This has included analysing the health impact of partner violence over time in the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health, Cochrane systematic reviews and multi-method randomised controlled trials of intimate partner violence interventions in general practice and maternal and child health nursing. She conducts studies to prevent unwanted pregnancies and abortion, including those evaluating emergency contraception, long-acting reversible contraception and medical abortion options for women whose contraception fails. Her research interests also include studies to improve women's health and the reduction of violence in migrant and refugee communities and in the Asia-Pacific, especially in Timor-Leste.
PROFESSOR KIRSTEN BLACK
Chief Investigator, University of Sydney
Kirsten Black is an academic gynaecologist at the University of Sydney where she is the Joint Head of the Discipline of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology. She has been a Chief Investigator on 12 successful grants and consultancies totalling more than $8 million. These include three NHMRC project grants and a large Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research grant. She has 76 peer reviewed publications. Kirsten’s publications have informed the practice of abortion providers regarding post-abortion contraception. Her work and publications in the area of LARCs has informed guideline recommendations and led to changes in policy and practice amongst gynaecologists and GPs.
PROFESSOR JAYNE LUCKE
Chief Investigator, La Trobe University
Jayne Lucke is a Professor at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University and Honorary Professor at the University of Queensland’s School of Public Health. Her background is in social and health psychology and she has published in the fields of sexual and reproductive health, women’s health, mental health, drug policy research and bioethics. Her main area of research interest is women's sexual and reproductive health, particularly contraceptive use, patterns of fertility and sexual health. Jayne's research has led to significant advances in understanding sexual and reproductive health for women, especially how women's contraceptive use changes over time as they move into relationships, try to conceive, have babies and complete their families. Her longitudinal analyses has led to conceptualisations of contraceptive use that changed thinking in the field. Her work on offering incentives to drug-using women to use long-acting reversible contraception resulted in the implementation of specialist contraceptive services within drug treatment facilities in Australia.
PROFESSOR MARION HAAS
Chief Investigator, University of Technology Sydney
Marion Haas is Professor of Health Economics in the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE) at the University of Technology Sydney. Her research interests are in the incorporation of economic analysis into clinical trials, applying the results of economic evaluation to health care programs and services and understanding the preferences of providers and consumers/patients for health services. She has a long-standing interest in women’s sexual and reproductive health, having been involved in an ARC Linkage Grant (Contraceptive Choices) and is a CI on the ACCORd study. She is also a CI on a number of trials incorporating economic evaluation (investigating long-term nerve damage in cancer survivors and the safety and efficacy, cost-effectiveness and immune potential of high precision lung radiotherapy) and preference studies (the preferences of patients for alternative treatments for lung cancer and the preferences of young cancer survivors for survivorship services). Marion has undertaken many commissioned projects for both State and federal governments.
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR SAFEERA HUSSAINY
Chief Investigator, Monash University
A/Prof Safeera Hussainy is a registered pharmacist and Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the Department of General Practice, Monash University. Safeera is recognised as the national pharmacy expert in emergency contraception (EC). In 2015, she was elected Executive Council member by the membership of International Pharmaceutical Federation’s (FIP) Academic Pharmacy Section, the premier organisation representing pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists worldwide. Her research is focused on defining and optimising pharmacists’ performance as key health care providers of EC. It has influenced policy and practice, twice prompting major revisions to the national pharmacy EC clinical guideline, resulting in a measured improvement in pharmacists’ practices. Safeera is also an Australian Government Office for Teaching and Learning awardee for her path-breaking work in pharmacy communication studies, and has authored a national education module on contraception and women’s health for pharmacists that has had over 2000 completions since release.
DR WENDY NORMAN
Chief Investigator, The University of British Columbia
Wendy Norman has established, resourced, and led national interdisciplinary research and capacity-building collaborations effectively integrating and applying a range of scholarly advancements in women's reproductive health care to improve health outcomes. She has engaged with policymakers and government leaders in all aspects of her research to ensure research relevance and value to improve health. She meets quarterly with the BC Provincial Health Officer and his Assistant Deputy Minister and engages with similar ministry officials in many Canadian provinces and territories, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada. CI Norman’s cost-effectiveness analysis of RCT data led to a BC Provincial Government policy change to provide all women at the time of abortion with free contraception in 2016. The integrated knowledge translation (IKT) strategy for her CIHR-funded research project on MTOP resulted in timely removal of barriers to MTOP, including the removal of federal requirements for mandatory observed dosing; practitioner training; practitioner registration; and the restriction on physician-only prescribing and dispensing of mifepristone.