Congratulations to our Women's Excellence in Research Award winner for 2023

This Award recognises and celebrates excellence of research achievement by women working in the field of developmental health.

A/Professor Melissa O’Donnell is Deputy Director Research at the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia.

Melissa is internationally recognised for her leading research in the area of child maltreatment and vulnerable children and families, bringing new approaches for applying population-based linked administrative data to contribute new knowledge and evidence.

Her partnered research on children and young people involved in child protection and out-of-home care has been instrumental in improving outcomes for children, young people and their families. With over 60 papers examining child, family and community factors associated with child abuse and neglect and the outcomes for children who have experienced it, her work has been published in leading national and international journals including the Lancet, Pediatrics, Medical Journal of Australia, and Child Abuse and Neglect.

Melissa’s research has provided implementable evidence on how child abuse and neglect can be prevented to policy makers and practitioners, as well as how earlier intervention improves the health and wellbeing outcomes of children and young people. Melissa’s research has directly informed the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children and the development of the first Youth Health Policy in WA.

Melissa’s work also takes leading new approaches for better understanding and supporting Aboriginal children, mothers and families. Melissa collaborates with Aboriginal researchers across a number of projects in developing evidence-based recommendations for reducing Aboriginal over-representation in care.

A/Professor Melissa O’Donnell will receive $1,000 and an award certificate and will present her research work at an upcoming HDA event.'Donnell

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