Karen is Senior Research Fellow in the Public Service Research Group at the School of Business, UNSW Canberra. She has a background in sociology, a masters in population health and a PhD in primary health care. Before moving into academia, Karen worked in practice and policy roles in the non-government sector and in government in the areas of youth health and homelessness, and primary health care reform. This galvanised her interest in...view more
Karen is Senior Research Fellow in the Public Service Research Group at the School of Business, UNSW Canberra. She has a background in sociology, a masters in population health and a PhD in primary health care. Before moving into academia, Karen worked in practice and policy roles in the non-government sector and in government in the areas of youth health and homelessness, and primary health care reform. This galvanised her interest in studying policy and program implementation in complex real world settings, working in partnership with providers, policy makers and consumer stakeholders. Her work draws on sociological and evaluation theories to investigate how program design and implementation processes might better engage with and serve the interests of citizens. She has led large scale program evaluations, specialising in applying evaluation theory and qualitative approaches in mixed method designs. Recent projects include an evaluation of a systems based intervention for the elimination of crusted scabies in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; projects exploring the implementation and use of data in continuous quality improvement and primary care performance measurement programs, and consumer engagement in commissioning.
Karen has been a consultant to the Australian, ACT and NSW governments. She has more than 100 working papers, technical reports and peer reviewed publications and has published in the Mandarin and the Guardian.
Current research projects include:
- Gardner K, Glennie M, Campbell T. Final Evaluation, One Disease Project: Elimination of Crusted Scabies in Remote Communities in the NT
- Gardner K, Trueman J, Marsh S, Baldock E, Glennie M. Planned homebirth in the ACT: an archival study1976-2001
- Olney, S., Gardner, K, Carey, G, Hanrahan P. (2019). Data Governance and the NDIS. Disability Innovation Institute Grant. UNSW.
- Ward J, Lovett R, Gardner K, Nelson C, Coombe L, Brown R, Turner L, Butler D, Clifford A, Mathews S. Transforming access, relational care, and primary health care in an urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population through patient-centred medical homes: a prospective observational cohort study using mixed methods. MRFF Primary Health Care Research Grant, APP1200
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
I am interested in supervising Phd students in the following areas: Theory driven evaluation including the application of qualitative methods in mixed method program evaluations. Implementation of primary care programs and reforms, including performance management and continuous quality improvement programs and methods
- Tanya Massy, PhD Candidate. Transformative Evaluation Methods, UNSW
- Misha Kaur, Professional Doctorate Candidate. Complex systems for service redesign, UNSW
- Nastaran Tui. PhD Candidate. Use of antibiotics in a developing country, UNSW
- 2019-2021 Member, Health Care Homes Evaluation and Data Working Group, Australian Department of Health.
- Member, Research Advisory Group, Institute of Urban Indigenous Health.
- Topic editor, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health