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Melissa is an ARC DECRA Postdoctoral Research at the Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing. She has a background in psychology and is developing a significant track record in understanding the complex health and social outcomes for women, particularly those with chronic disease. Dr Harris has a particular interest in chronic disease management, including the impact of psychosocial factors on physical health and healthcare outcomes as well as the contraceptive practices for women with chronic disease. Her current program of work draws together Dr Harris’ research strengths in chronic disease and contraceptive use and access and research methods (e.g. longitudinal modelling, data linkage, cohort recruitment) by examining the contraceptive decision-making practices of Australian women of reproductive age with chronic disease to provide much needed information regarding reasons for unintended pregnancy in this population.



Anna has a midwifery background and is a holder of a Master of Applied Sciences. After five years of working in the research sector, she is currently a PhD candidate at the Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide and is a recipient of an Adelaide Scholarship International. Her research interest is on reproductive health and chronic non-communicable diseases. Her PhD is focusing on family planning and multiple sclerosis, with a particular interest on how to better support individuals with a chronic disease during their reproductive journey.

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Dr Luke Grzeskowiak is a registered pharmacist and Associate Professor (Practitioner Fellow) at Flinders University and the South Australian Health and Medical Research. Luke’s clinical and research interests lie in optimising medication management to improve the health and wellbeing of women and children. He is the Chair of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia Women’s and Newborn Health Specialty Practice Stream and serves as an expert advisor to the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines regarding medicines and women’s health. Luke is currently involved in research exploring the provision of sexual and reproductive health care services using national and primary health care data, with a particular focus on performing drug utilisation studies involving contraceptives and medicines for termination of pregnancy.

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Dr Leesa Hooker is a nurse/midwife academic and Senior Research Fellow at the La Trobe Rural Health School and the Judith Lumley Centre - La Trobe University, leading the Child, Family and Community Health research stream within the Centre. She has established expertise in the epidemiology of family violence, women’s mental and reproductive health and parenting. Her research includes intervention trials, observation studies and systematic reviews with a focus on improving maternal and child health outcomes, and the healthcare service response to abused women and children. Leesa is currently involved in research exploring the influence of geographic location on Australian women’s reproductive health.

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Deborah Street is a Professor and Head of the Discrete Choice Experiments Methods Programme at the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation at the University of Technology Sydney. She has extensive experience in the construction of discrete choice experiments which are a powerful tool used in health economics to investigate the preferences of consumers and providers for services and products. Deborah is a foundation fellow of the Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications, and is a member of the EuroQol group.

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Karen Freilich is a junior doctor who is passionate about sexual and reproductive health rights, access and equity. She has just completed a Masters of Reproductive and Sexual Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and is commencing GP training in 2021. Karen is a passionate medical educator, and created and hosts one of Australia’s top medical education podcasts, “Humerus Hacks”. She currently hosts The SPHERE Podcast, highlighting emerging research and policy regarding women’s sexual and reproductive health in Australia.



Sarah Ratcliffe is an early career researcher who strives to improve the health and healthcare of stigmatised and vulnerable groups. She holds a master’s in Health and Social Psychology from Maastricht University and is currently investigating abortion stigma for her PhD at the University of Sydney. Her involvement in social work and interdisciplinary research within Australia, Europe, and North America, have shaped Sarah’s research focus on the strengths of inclusion and reduction of stigma through evidence-based interventions. Through interdisciplinary, collaborative research, Sarah strives to understand the intertwined nature of power, gender, and health and develop evidence-based interventions which address inequities.



Sethini is a current Bachelor of Biomedical Science Honours student at the Global and Women’s Health Unit at Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. She is currently working alongside Dr Shelly Makleff and Professor Jane Fisher to explore abortion access in Australia. She will be spending this year working on a qualitative research project which aims to identify the numerous barriers and facilitators for access to abortion services. Sethini has a key interest in the area of sexual and reproductive health and plans to continue studying in this field and hopes to have a career in this area in the future. 

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Shelly Makleff is a Research Fellow in the Global and Women's Health Unit in the School Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University and a Research Affiliate with SPHERE. Her research focuses on abortion stigma and quality of care, intimate partner violence prevention, comprehensive sexuality education, the evaluation of gender-transformative programming, and gendered social norms. She has carried out collaborative research and evaluation projects in partnership with non-governmental, health services, and community-based partners around the world for over 15 years. Her PhD from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explored the pathways through which a comprehensive sexuality education program in Mexico City prevents intimate partner violence among young people.

 © SPHERE CRE 2019

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