Our People

Renata Kokanovic - Director

Renata Kokanovic, Professor of Sociology of Health and Illness, Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow, RMIT University and Adjunct Professor, Monash University, is Leader of the Social Research in Health Program at RMIT's Social & Global Studies Centre. The SRH Program is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research and knowledge-exchange initiative focused on exploring the intersections of social change, culture, medicine/psychiatry, disability, biotechnology, lived experiences of health and illness, informal care, and digital media and narrative in health communication. Our research uses innovative qualitative methods and contextualises subjective experiences within political and cultural processes. Renata is the lead researcher and author of six Healthtalk Australia online resources (Experiences of Depression and Recovery in Australia, Emotional Experiences of Early Parenthood, Mental Health and Supported Decision Making, Mental Health: Carers' Experiences, Early Menopause: Women's Experiences and Early Menopause: Health Practitioners' Perspectives) and was co-investigator on the Lives of Substance project. She also leads the qualitative research component of two new studies - an ARC Linkage Project exploring experiences of Borderline Personality Disorder and a study of experiences of infertility under the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Women's Health in Reproductive Life.

Renata's web profile

Lorraine Smith - Co-Director

Lorraine Smith is a Registered Psychologist and Professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Sydney University and Chair of DIPEx International. Her research interests focus on patient perspectives on self-management of chronic conditions. She is co-investigator on the Living with Multiple Medicines and Experiences of Ageing in Australia online resources and led the research underpinning the Experiences of Severe Asthma online resource conducted as part of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Severe Asthma. She conducts qualitative and quantitative research projects into patient self-management, and has studied patient perspectives on asthma, allergic rhinitis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and chronic low back pain.

Lorraine's web profile


Kate Johnston-Ataata - Co-Director

Dr Kate Johnston-Ataata is a Research Fellow in the Social Research in Health Program at the Social & Global Studies Centre, RMIT University. Kate brings her experience as a researcher and project coordinator on several Healthtalk Australia projects (Emotional Experiences of Early Parenthood, Mental Health and Supported Decision Making, Mental Health: Carers' Experiences, Early Menopause: Women's Experiences and Early Menopause: Health Practitioners' Perspectives) to her role as Healthtalk Australia Co-Director. Kate is also working on a study of experiences of infertility as part of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Women's Health in Reproductive Life. Her research interests include the social, cultural and emotional aspects of women's reproductive and gynaecological health experiences, and the links between individual health and illness experience and social relationships.

Lucy Brown - Coordinator

Lucy is the Project Manager for the Borderline Personality Disorder as Social Phenomena ARC Linkage Project and Healthtalk Australia Coordinator. She brings to both roles her experience in qualitative and quantitative social research and project management, with a particular focus within the public health and disability sectors. Lucy’s research management experience includes multiple projects exploring both consumer and carer experiences of publicly funded health services, including mental health services across Australia.


Professor Katherine Boydell UNSW

Katherine Boydell - Senior Academic Advisor, Mental Health & Knowledge Translation

Professor Katherine Boydell is Head of the AKT (Arts-based Knowledge Translation) Lab at the Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales. She has dedicated her career to exploring, in a participatory manner, the lived experience of individuals experiencing mental health issues. Her participatory, collaborative program of research uses the arts, broadly defined, in the research creation and dissemination process. Katherine uses installation art as a knowledge translation strategy which has resulted in increased mental health literacy, decreased stigma and enhanced help seeking. Katherine’s work has identified theoretical, methodological and ethical challenges of engaging in arts-based knowledge translation, described in her recent editorship of a special issue of the Journal of Applied Arts & Health. She has published more than 200 articles and book chapters and is editing a forthcoming book Body Mapping in Research. Katherine is the Mental Health Lead for The Big Anxiety: Art + Science + People.  In 2017, The Big Anxiety attracted 140,000 individuals from around the world to engage in exhibits, workshops, and immersive experiences and start conversations about mental health.

Katherine's web profile

Éidín Ní Shé - Academic Advisor, Health Systems and Consumer Involvement

Dr Éidín Ní Shé is a senior lecturer in health management at the School of Population Health at the University of New South Wales. She has expertise in leading projects in the areas of co-design, consumer engagement, evaluation and health systems. Before joining UNSW School of Population Health, Éidín worked as a research fellow in the University College Dublin Centre (UCD) for Interdisciplinary Research Education and Innovation in Health Systems in Ireland. Whilst in UCD, she completed her DIPEX training in 2019, delivered by colleagues from the University of Oxford. Her research projects have included assisted decision-making, frailty pathway co-design, and patient safety to support staff in speaking up. Éidín is interested in advancing Healthtalk Australia modules focused on health systems experiences, interprofessional collaboration and consumer involvement.

Éidín's web profile

Alex Broom - Senior Academic Advisor

Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology at the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Sydney. He is recognised as an international leader in sociology, utilising highly innovative qualitative methodologies and social theory to provide novel understandings of the social, cultural, political and economic underpinnings of the key health challenges of the 21st Century. Within this work he is particularly interested in issues related to human subjectivities, vulnerability, social justice and solidarity. His current focus is on developing critical analyses of the social dynamics of cancer, palliative and end-of-life care and the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance across contexts and cultures.

Alex's web profile

Helena Teede - Senior Clinical Advisor

Professor Helena Teede is an endocrinologist with a focus on women's metabolic and reproductive health and on obesity. She is the Director of the Monash Centre for Health Research Implementation (MCHRI), a collaborative partnership between Monash Health and Monash University. MCHRI’s vision is to create, synthesise, implement and translate clinical, health services and public health knowledge, underpinned by end user engagement, to deliver improved health care. Helena also holds the role of Executive Director of Monash Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre. Her research interests include women’s health across the lifespan, PCOS, pregnancy, healthy lifestyle, and menopause across diverse methodologies (qualitative, quantitative, large scale epidemiological, clinical, health services, and public health research). Helena has a strong commitment to public and patient involvement in research and innovation in healthcare and engages broadly across different sectors to inspire change. She is lead investigator of the Early Menopause: Experiences and Perspectives of Women and Health Professionals NHMRC Partnership Project.

Helena's web profile