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Dr Adrienne Withall

Dr Adrienne Withall
+61 2 9385 9428

Research Interests:

Dr Withall is a Kurial-Yuin woman, holding a combined research and teaching role in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, where she leads the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Theme. She is an expert on ageing and mental health and her research focuses on promoting wellbeing, care and cognitive health for at-risk populations. She leads a sub-stream on Ageing at the Margins in the recently funded UNSW Ageing Futures Institute (

Adrienne is an early career researcher (<7 years post-PhD research FTE), and is author of 40 journal publications, an edited book Alcohol and the Adult Brain, and 5 book chapters. She currently has a h-index of 22 and 1660 citations. Her research focuses on young onset dementia, particularly vulnerable groups at risk of early cognitive decline (including those with drug and alcohol abuse, older offenders, and concussion), and she aims to address inequities through early intervention and access to optimal care. She is a Chief Investigator of the INSPIRED Study of young onset dementia and Lead Investigator on current studies examining risk factors for young onset dementia, health outcomes of older cannabis users, cognitive predictors of outcomes in the MERIT program (Magistrates Early Referral into Treatment program), and health, needs and care pathways for older offenders. She uses mixed methods to aid the translation of her epidemiological and health services research into policy and clinical practice.

Dr Withall teaches into Phases 1 and 2 of the undergraduate Medical Program, lecturing on diverse areas such as mental health, ageing, dementia, cultural competence and developing reflective practitioner and critical thinking skills. She convenes the postgraduate course Public Health Aspects of Mental Health (PHCM9761). Previously she taught at the University of Sydney through the Faculty of Health Sciences, teaching a diverse mix of allied health professionals about health psychology, research methods and neuropsychology. 

Dr Withall regularly reviews grants for national (e.g. NHMRC, ARC, Dementia Australia Research Foundation, Bupa Health Foundation) as well as international grant bodies (such as UK Medical Research Council, Alzheimer's Research UK, Wellcome Trust, Health Research Board Ireland and Netherlands Organisation of Health, Research and Development). She also regularly serves on NHMRC grant panels.

Adrienne is a Member of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Dual Diagnosis Substance Use & Neurocognitive Disorder Working Group. She has served as an Advocate for people with young onset dementia on various working parties and policy groups, as well as during the Senate Enquiry on Younger People in Residential Care. She was an Invited Plenary Speaker on “Young Onset Dementia: Diverse Disorders, Diverse Care” at the Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference in Kyoto in 2017. In 2015 Dr Withall was chosen to represent UNSW at the 2015 Kyoto Global Conference for Rising Public Health Researchers (Ageing theme) and in 2017 she was chosen as UNSW’s Early-Mid Career Nominee for the NHMRC project grant round and acted as Assistant Chair of the Immunity and Infectious Diseases Project Grant Panel.

Adrienne currently supervises PhD, DrPH, Masters, and Honours/ILP students. 

BSc (Hons) University of Sydney, 1997 (Majors: Psychology and Physiology)

PhD University of Sydney, 2006 (Neuropsychology)