About the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies
The recent Australian National Mental Health Prevalence Study found that posttraumatic stress disorder is the most common psychiatric disorder in the Australian community affecting 6.4% of the population in the last 12 months. Traumatic stress is also a major cause of all psychiatric disorders and contributes to alcohol and drug abuse.
The Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies (CTSS) was established in April 2009 to address this significant community health issue. The CTSS seeks to improve evidence-based practice by creating, applying and informing scientific knowledge in the field of traumatic stress, particularly the epidemiology and neurobiology of posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as psychiatric disorder and wellbeing more broadly.
The core research program is examining traumatic stress through the impact of military service, disasters and motor vehicle accidents.
CTSS embodies expertise in prevalence, longitudinal health, disaster, neuro-biological and neuro-cognitive studies as well as occupational mental health. Beyond its core research agenda, the Centre offers consultancy, professional development and training, higher education supervision and assessment and referral services.
Professor Sandy McFarlane AO, Director CTSS
Currently the Director of the University of Adelaide Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor McFarlane's area of particular specialty has been the effects of traumatic stress and is an international expert in the field of the impact of disasters and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). His research has focused on the epidemiology and longitudinal course of PTSD as well as the neuroimaging of the cognitive deficits in this disorder. He has published over 250 articles and chapters in various refereed journals and has co-edited three books.
In the medico-legal arena he has long standing experience, including writing a report for the United Nations about the Compensation Commission for the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and has also been engaged by the Ministry of Defence in the United Kingdom in the matters relating to the Falkland Island, Gulf War and Northern Ireland Veterans. Professor McFarlane has acted as special advisor to the Department of Veterans' Affairs, including the Scientific Advisory committee examining the health and psychological status of Gulf War Veterans. A Past President of both the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and a recipient of the Robert Laufer Award for outstanding scientific achievement in the field of traumatic stress. In 2008, I was awarded the Organon Senior Research Award of the RANZCP for the most outstanding contribution to psychiatric research in the last five years. Also the recipient of the Founders' Medal of the Australasian Society for Psychiatric Research awarded to individuals who have made a contribution of significance to psychiatric research over their entire career.
For full biography, please click here.
Dr. Miranda Van Hooff, CTSS Research Director
Dr Van Hooff is currently the Director of Research at the University of Adelaide's Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies. She qualified from her Honours degree in Psychology in 1998 and in 2011 was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Medicine for her research into the longitudinal outcomes of childhood disaster exposure.
Over the last 15 years she has conducted a number of large-scale longitudinal studies of traumatized and at-risk populations, in particular paediatric burn victims, childhood disaster survivors and children exposed to neurotoxins such as lead. Most recently Dr Van Hooff, together with Professor Alexander McFarlane, Dr Stephanie Hodson and other colleagues at the Department of Defence, completed the 2010 ADF Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study Report; the first published study to examine the prevalence of Mental Health Disorder in the entire Australian Defence Force.
Dr Van Hooff is currently Chief Investigator on a large-scale national study examining the prevalence of mental health disorder in contemporary veterans, which includes the neurobiological outcomes of combat exposure. In addition, in 2014 she was awarded a 3-year NHMRC Partnership Grant with the Metropolitan Fire Service, examining the resilience, health and wellbeing of Australian firefighters.
Associate Professor Susan Neuhaus CSC, Conflict Medicine
Associate Professor Susan Neuhaus works as a Consultant Surgeon in both public and private surgical practice. Ass. Prof Neuhaus holds a Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in General Surgery and is appointed as Clinical Associate Professor to the Department of Surgery, University of Adelaide, in addition to her appointment as Associate Professor in Conflict Medicine. Susan has completed a PhD and is actively engaged in teaching, research and clinical trials.
Susan holds a number of academic, advisory and Board roles and has published widely, served as a reviewer and editor and written multiple book chapters, journal articles and a book ‘Radiology in Surgical Practice'.
Susan has also completed an Army career spanning over 20 years, in both the Regular Army and Army Reserve in a number of roles including command, clinical and administrative appointments. She is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College (Res) where she was recognized with the inaugural Deputy Chief of the Australian Defence Force Reserves Prize. She has held command at sub-unit and unit levels and was the Commanding Officer of 3 Health Support Battalion 2007-9. Her military service was recognized with the award of the Conspicuous Service Cross in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2009.
Susan remains actively involved in Veterans health issues and is widely published on issues of strategic and Defence health. Susan has been a Director, and is the current Chairman, of The Repat Foundation (formerly Foundation Daw Park) and was appointed to the inaugural Veterans Health Advisory Council, South Australia. She is also a previous Ambassador for the Defence Reserves Support Council, South Australia. She has particular interests in the specific health effects of military service within the servicewomen and female veteran cohort. In 2012, Susan was South Australian finalist for Australian of the Year.
(Photo courtesy of Maggie Elliott)