DR SAMANTHA CHAKRABORTY
Samantha is a Senior Research Fellow with the SPHERE Centre of Research Excellence. She is an implementation scientist and primary care researcher with expertise in primary care trials and clinical guideline development and implementation. Over her career, Samantha has worked across academia, policy and non-government organisations to inform practice and policy changes to improve health outcomes for people receiving primary health care. Samantha holds a PhD in Neuroscience. She enjoys a good novel, spending time with family and friends and being outdoors.
DR ASVINI SUBASINGHE
After completing her PhD in public health, Asvini developed a passion for improving the health of vulnerable populations with a particular focus on sexual and reproductive health in young women. Her research at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and The Royal Women's Hospital involved using validated sexual and reproductive health surveys and self-collection protocols to investigate the burden of unwanted sexual experiences and sexually transmitted infections in adolescent and young Australian women. She also has experience in developing cervical cancer screening protocols for women in India and Sri Lanka.
DR JODY CHURCH
Jody is a Research Fellow (Health Economics) at Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE), University of Technology Sydney. She has an Honours Bachelor degree in Management Economics in Industry and Finance from Guelph University and a Master's degree in Economics (with an emphasis in Health Economics) from McMaster University. Prior to joining CHERE she worked as a policy analyst in the health department at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, funded through Health Canada. She also gained experience in risk management while working as a business analyst for TELUS Corporation in Canada and in business development when she was nominated for an internship in México by AIESEC and the Canadian International Development Agency. She was also a research assistant for the economics department and a teaching assistant to undergraduate students while studying at McMaster University in Canada.
DR KARIN HAMMARBERG
Karin is a Registered Nurse with 20 years’ experience as clinical co-ordinator of IVF programs. She completed a PhD in 2006 is now Senior Research Fellow at Monash University and Senior Research Officer at the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority. Her main areas of research interests are health promotion relating to fertility and preconception health; the psychosocial aspects of infertility and infertility treatment; and the health and development of children born as a result of assisted conception.
DR KATE CHENEY
Kate is a nurse and a midwife. Her background is clinical work in the area of Midwifery and Sexual Health. She has specialised for the past 12 years in the area of early pregnancy care and loss, working as a Clinical Midwife Consultant. Kate has been a member of the Family Planning NSW Ethics committee since 2014 and is a board member of the professional regulator. Since completing her PhD, Kate has focused on being an academic midwife. Her research focuses on pregnancy intention and reproductive planning and she is author and co-author on a number of publications. Within SPHERE, Kate will be working on research projects focusing on postpartum contraception use and barriers.
DR SHARON JAMES
Sharon is an experienced primary health care nurse and primary care researcher. Her PhD, awarded by the University of Wollongong in 2020, explored lifestyle risk communication between nurses and consumers in general practice and was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship and the NTEU Joan Hardy Scholarship. Sharon’s focus as a SPHERE Research Fellow and the interim Project Manager of the Australian Contraception and Abortion Primary Care Practitioner Support (AusCAPPS) Network will be on supporting general practitioners to be able to deliver women’s sexual and reproductive health services.
DR JESSICA BOTFIELD
Jessica joined SPHERE as a Research Fellow in February 2021. At SPHERE, Jessica will be focused on supporting nurses and nurse practitioners. She is involved in the ORIENT study (ImprOving Rural and regIonal accEss to long acting reversible contraceptioN and medical abortion through nurse-led models of care, Tasksharing and telehealth), the AusCAPPS (Australian Contraception and Abortion Primary Care Practitioner Support) Network, and coordinating the Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health COVID-19 Coalition. Jessica is also a Senior Research Officer and Registered Nurse at Family Planning NSW and an Adjunct Lecturer at the Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW. Jessica was awarded her PhD in February 2019. It explored the engagement of young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds with sexual and reproductive health care. She is a qualitative and mixed methods researcher, and has experience working in academic, NGO and clinical settings.
DR ANISA ASSIFI
Anisa joins SPHERE as a Research Fellow (Pharmacy-focused). Her PhD at the University of Technology Sydney examined adolescents’ access to abortion services in New South Wales. She has a Bachelor of Science (Anatomy, Reproduction and Development) and Masters in Public Health from the University of Melbourne. Anisa has worked in safe abortion research at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, in health promotion with Country Health South Australia and as a research assistant with Karolinska Institute and the University of Technology Sydney. Anisa works in the public health space, focusing on sexual and reproductive health research in the areas of adolescent health, abortion safety and access. Anisa grew up living in different countries across the Asia and Pacific region and this experience instilled a passion and desire to advocate for the needs of adolescents and women when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and services.
DR KRISTINA EDVARDSSON
Kristina is a Primary Health Care Nurse with a Master’s degree in Nursing and a PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health. In 2013, she was awarded a Marie Curie International Postdoc Fellowship from the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare to work on a project on the use of ultrasound in pregnancy management in low, middle, and high-income countries. Kristina currently works as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University, a role that she combines with being a Research Fellow at the Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University. With SPHERE, her research involves projects on screening for reproductive coercion in maternal and child health care settings and the influence of geographic location on Australian women’s reproductive health.
DR MRIDULA SHANKAR
Mridula is a PhD candidate in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her current research focuses on two overlapping areas: the first is studying epidemiology and measurement of various aspects of induced abortion—including incidence, safety, and quality of care – in countries where abortion is legally restricted and/or access to care within the formal health sector is limited. The second is an exploration of women’s pathways and experiences of using medication abortion drugs sourced through the informal health sector, to inform opportunities for and barriers to improving the safety and experience of medication abortion self-care. Mridula’s previous research collaborations include projects in maternal and reproductive health and rights in India and equity in abortion access in Australia.