Researcher

Dr Kathleen Falster

Fields of Research (FoR)

Epidemiology, Public Health and Health Services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Biography

I am an epidemiologist leading research to inform and evaluate policy and service delivery initiatives to improve child population health. I also contribute to building population health workforce capacity by teaching epidemiological methods to postgraduate students. 

I work closely with policy makers in the health, child protection, education and social sectors to design epidemiological studies to answer policy and practice questions and to...view more

I am an epidemiologist leading research to inform and evaluate policy and service delivery initiatives to improve child population health. I also contribute to building population health workforce capacity by teaching epidemiological methods to postgraduate students. 

I work closely with policy makers in the health, child protection, education and social sectors to design epidemiological studies to answer policy and practice questions and to translate complex research findings into policy and practice. 

I lead and collaborate on projects that build and analyse linked health and social data infrastructure to create the ‘intelligence’ needed to inform health system responses to public health problems affecting children, with a focus on disadvantaged children and inequities. My research program currently focuses on children involved with child protection services, evaluation of a sustained nurse-home visiting program and contributing population-level evidence on Aboriginal child health to mixed methods projects led by Aboriginal academics and/or Aboriginal Community Controlled Service collaborations. 

I have expertise in epidemiological methods, data linkage, building analysis-ready linked datasets, cohort studies and advanced statistical methods to execute policy and practice revelant research. 


My Grants

  • 2020-2024  Transforming the health system response to child maltreatment: the need for cross-jurisdictional e-cohorts. NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grant ($1,248,388), CIA.
  • 2021-2024  Aboriginal child restoration from out-of-home care: pathways for success. ARC Discovery Indigenous Grant ($427,685), CIC (Lead, data linkage component of project).
  • 2020-2024. ACCESS: Aboriginal Community Controlled Ear health Support System: developing, embedding and evaluating best practice models of care. MRFF Grant ($887,186), CIF (Lead, data linkage component of project).
  • 2021-2023  Evaluation of Sustaining NSW Families, NSW Health tender ($400,000), CI (Lead, outcomes evaluation using data linkage). 

My Qualifications

PhD, MPH, BAppSc(Hons).


My Research Activities

I currently lead an NHMRC-funded multi-jurisdictional electronic cohort (e-cohort) study of child maltreatment in Australia. I am also a Chief Investigator on several other research grants and an evaluation where I lead the data linkage component of the research, including: (1) an ARC Indigenous Discovery grant led by Dr BJ Newton (UNSW Social Policy Research Centre; SPRC) focused on Aboriginal child removals and restoration in NSW; (2) an MRFF grant led by A/Prof. Hasantha Gunasekera at the University of Sydney focused on enhanced models of care to improve the ear health of Aboriginal children in NSW; and (3) a NSW Health evaluation of the Sustaining NSW Families program led by Prof. Ilan Katz (UNSW SPRC). 

During my NHMRC Early Career Fellowship, I was a Chief Investigator and the Study Director of the NHMRC-funded 'Seeding Success' study that set out to identify factors that promote positive early childhood health and development in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in NSW. I also collaborated with the Indigenous Health Outcomes Patient Evaluation (IHOPE) study where I led or supervised research investigating health inequalities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in NSW, including potentially avoidable hospitalisations, the receipt of surgical procedures for middle ear disease, and hospitalisations for unintentional injuries. The IHOPE study was recognised as one of the NHMRC's 'Ten of the Best' in 2015. For more than a decade, I have also collaborated with the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) at the Sax Institute, contributing to research on injuries, asthma, ear health and hospitalisations in urban Aboriginal children. 

In July 2021, I was invited to present at the Dept. of Communities and Justice Research Strategy launch; this video recording of the presentation provides an overview of some of the research that my colleagues and I have produced in recent years. 


My Research Supervision


Supervision keywords


Areas of supervision

I am available to supervise postgraduate students with developing quantitative research skills and an interest in using health and human services data to generate policy relevant research.

As a supervisor, I offer expertise and experience applying epidemiological and biostatistical methods to large, complex data to answer policy relevant questions. I primarily use data linkage and cohort study data in my research.

 


Currently supervising

2022: Co-supervisor, Masters student research project. 

2021-ongoing: Primary supervisor, PhD candidate. Parental drug and alcohol problems and child protection involvement: a population data linkage study to inform the health system response.

2019-ongoing: Joint supervisor, PhD candidate. Systematic review and an evaluation of family preservation and restoration programs in NSW.

2013-2017: Co-supervisor, PhD. Inequalities in injury hospitalisations between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in NSW. 


My Teaching

I strive to contribute to population health workforce capacity in my teaching. I teach epidemiological methods in two postgraduate courses:

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Location

School of Population Health,
Room 317, Level 3, Samuels Building, Kensington Campus,
UNSW SYDNEY NSW 2052 AUSTRALIA

Contact

+61-2-9065 9652