About the project

It's time for trauma-informed public health

This research project will investigate the question; is it time for trauma-informed public health?

The objectives of this study are to:

  1. Conduct a systematic review of complex trauma and public health responses, with a focus on COVID-19 and emergency public health responses.
  2. Investigate associations between experiences of complex trauma-related distress and COVID-19 experiences among First Nations parents in three jurisdictions, to help inform strategies to mitigate distress.
  3. Conduct interviews with key stakeholders involved in the COVID-19 response to consider the evidence from (1) and (2) and develop a culturally-responsive trauma-informed public health emergency response framework.

To find out more about this research you can email us at hpnf-project@unimelb.edu.au

Project team

The Healing the Past by Nurturing the Future project team have been awarded research funding in a unique round that privileges First Nations voices in the global response to COVID-19.

This work also brings together researchers with public health expertise to the team, including:

  • Dr Michelle Kennedy, Thurru Indigenous Health Unit, Newcastle University
  • Dr Caroline Atkinson, We Al-li Foundation (HPNF Associate Investigator)
  • Dr Simon Graham, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Janine Mohamed, Chief Executive Officer, The Lowitja Institute
  • Dr Cindy Woods, Senior Research Fellow, Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University
  • Ms Christina Heris, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • Dr Shannon Bennetts, Research Fellow, Judith Lumley Centre, La Trobe University


The funding was announced on 14 October 2021 by the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies (APPRISE) Centre of Research Excellence, thanks to the $2 million donation from the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

APPRISE used a First Nations-led process to award the funding, with the APPRISE First Nations Council advising them on all aspects of the grant process. 11 projects from across Australia were awarded funding. You can read more about this funding on the APPRISE website.


The APPRISE Centre of Research Excellence is developing research to inform Australia’s emergency response to infectious diseases. APPRISE is an Australia-wide network of experts involved in medical, scientific, public health and ethics research. APPRISE is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.