Research Advisory Committee

Research Advisory Committee

Veteran Sport Australia supports all veterans and their families to improve their health and wellbeing through sport.  

To ensure that our program is evidence-led and as effective as it can be, Veteran Sport Australia formed a Research Advisory Committee. 

Our objectives 

The Research Advisory Committee: 

  1. Helps refine and endorse Veteran Sport Australia’s research strategy and research goals
  2. Helps collate and review relevant existing and ongoing research
  3. Shapes Veteran Sport Australia’s approach to collecting data and reporting 
  4. Identifies research opportunities 
  5. Drives quality research outcomes and application of research findings 

Dr Miranda Van Hooff  

Director of Research, Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies, Adelaide University 

Dr Miranda Van Hooff is the Director of Research at The University of Adelaide's Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies. Over the course of her career, Dr Van Hooff has conducted several large-scale longitudinal studies of childhood survivors of the 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires, children hospitalised for a significant burn injury, children exposed to the neurotoxic effects of lead in childhood and adults exposed to the 2006 Black Tuesday Bushfires. Since 2009, her research has focused on the mental health of current and ex-serving Australian military and emergency service personnel, as the lead researcher on the 2015 Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme, the 2010 Military Health Outcomes Programme and the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service Health and Wellbeing Study. These studies were the first in Australia to ascertain the prevalence of ICD-10 Mental Disorder in current and ex-serving ADF members and South Australian Firefighters and have been strong drivers of change in relation to policy and service provision. Dr Van Hooff’s excellent history of NHMRC, Cat 2 and contract research funding has involved widespread and long-standing collaboration with numerous external stakeholders including DVA, the Department of Defence, the SA Metropolitan Fire Service, The Road Home, the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, The Royal Society for the Blind and Assistance Dogs Australia. Dr Van Hooff has authored 43 peer-reviewed journal articles, 1 book chapter and 31 commissioned reports for the Departments of Defence and Veterans Affairs. Dr Van Hooff has received research grant funding of over $9.1M since 2013. 

Dr Anne Grunseit

Senior Research Fellow at the Prevention Research Collaboration and the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre located at the University of Sydney

Anne has over 20 years’ experience and technical skills in quantitative and qualitative research in health and social research, and currently specialises in the evaluation of scaled-up preventive health programs. She has conducted evaluations studies of government-led non-communicable disease prevention programs including several statewide mass communication obesity prevention campaigns, and a number of large scale programs for the general population, workers and Aboriginal populations including ACT Healthy Weight Initiative, Get Healthy at Work, and the NSW Aboriginal Knockout Challenge. She leads the Australian arm of an international collaboration examining knee health among recreational runners and is on the evaluation advisory groups for a community-based program to improve chronic pain management in rural and regional communities and a policy-based initiative to raise the minimum legal age for the purchase of tobacco products in Tasmania. She is currently the coordinator and teacher of the University of Sydney Public Health Program Evaluation unit of study in the Masters of Public Health and regularly conducts evaluation workshops for the NSW Ministry of Health and its pillars.

Dr Simon Rosenbaum  

Senior Research Fellow, School of Psychiatry and Director, Exercise Sports Science Australia, UNSW 

Associate Professor Dr Simon Rosenbaum is a Scientia Fellow in the School of Psychiatry, UNSW Sydney and the Black Dog Institute. Simon has published over 170 peer-reviewed publications, including a textbook on the role of exercise in the treatment of mental illness. Simon serves as an elected national director of Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA), is the Vice-President of the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress (ASTSS) and has worked with a variety of groups including emergency service workers, contemporary veterans and refugees.   

Julie Pert

Director NSW/ACT, Open Arms

Julie Pert is the NSW/ACT State Director of Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counseling. Julie is also a reservist with over 20 years in the Army and a clinically trained psychologist. She has also worked with embassy staff overseas and emergency services more recently as the Occupational Psychologist for FRNSW.  As a result of working with staff on the frontline, her areas of interest and specialty include: trauma management, training, counselling, assessment and selection.

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (formerly VVCS) is Australia’s leading provider of high-quality mental health assessment and clinical counselling services for Australian veterans and their families. Open Arms is focused on meeting client needs through a combination of proven clinical practices and new and emerging evidence-based approaches.

Karen May  

Associate Director, Australian Centre of Excellence for PTS, The Road Home 

Karen May is the Associate Director, Australian Centre of Excellence for Post-Traumatic Stress, for The Road Home and also currently working on her PhD at Adelaide University focussing on a therapeutic model for children of a parent with service related post-traumatic stress. Karen’s background is psychotherapy, participatory action research and community development. The Road Home researchers also work closely with a service delivery arm engaging veterans, first responders and their families, addressing their support needs. Karen has worked with many communities who have experienced trauma in Australia and also in developing countries. Karen enjoys her current role in research to impact and improve the health and wellbeing of veteran and emergency service families. Karen and her veteran partner have four kids – Maddy, Ben, Evalyn and Huon –ranging 16 to 8 years old. 

Dr Lindsey Reece  

Senior Research Fellow, Prevention Research Collaboration, USYD  

Dr Lindsey Reece has extensive experience in applied research and evaluation, specialising in Physical Activity, Sport and Public Health.  Her primary interest is in reducing physical inactivity - a global problem leading to long term chronic disease, and support more people to become physically active to achieve positive health, wellbeing and economic outcomes. Within her current role as Research Fellow at the University of Sydney’s Prevention Research Collaboration, she is the Academic lead of the SPRINTER (Sport and Active Recreation Intervention & Epidemiology Research) group - an innovative research partnership with the Office of Sport, NSW government. Previously, Lindsey managed a broad range of research and evaluation initiatives with Public Health England and Sport England to implement their national physical activity and sport strategies. Her portfolio included evaluation work for: city-wide physical activity pathway for people affected by cancer; Child and Adolescent Obesity regional public health program; whole systems approach to obesity control; physical activity programme aimed at integrating physical activity within clinical care pathways. Lindsey also sits on the global research board for parkrun and is the Academic lead for parkrun au. 

Dr Anna Lewis 

Squadron Leader, Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve, Principal Research Investigator ADF Adaptive Sports Program

Dr Anna Lewis is an RAAF Reserve Physiotherapist with a strong research and clinical background. Her research experience includes a doctoral research study investigating clinical pilates as a treatment for chronic low back pain in the Australian Defence Force. This work was recognised with the Sir Edward Weary Dunlop Award at the Australasian Military Medicine Association Conference in 2010. Anna has a strong focus on assisting people to improve function and pain through exercise. Currently Anna is leading a research study evaluating the effect of participating in exercise programs to improve physical and mental health for Wounded, Injured and Ill (WII) ADF members. In public health roles, Anna has led production and development of health system reports in areas of access, safety and quality and efficiency of health services. She has proven experience in leading a team through scoping, research and literature reviews and analysis of data to report on appropriate health system utilisation to assist clinical practice improvements. Recently Anna was seconded to the NSW Ministry of Health to support the COVID-19 response. Anna works as a physiotherapist at Sports Focus Physiotherapy maintaining her strong interest in clinical pilates and rehabilitation programs utilising exercise.

Steve Milanese  

Director of Research, Invictus Pathway Program, University South Australia.

Associate Professor Steve Milanese is the Director of research of the Invictus Pathways Program at University of South Australia. Steve is also Program Director of the Masters of Advanced Clinical Physiotherapy and a researcher in the International Centre for Allied Health Evidence, a self-funded research group at  UniSA. He is a physiotherapist with postgraduate qualifications in sports physiotherapy, manual therapy and ergonomics and holds adjunct positions in universities in India, Philippines, Malaysia and Japan. He has over 90 peer reviewed publications and has supervised a number of DSTG funded PhD projects. Steve has broad research experience, having undertaken funded research and supervised PhD students using a range of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods methodologies.

Ellie Lawrence-Wood

Senior Research Specialist, Phoenix Australia 

Ellie Lawrence-Wood, PhD, BBSc (psyc hons) is a senior research fellow at Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, and an adjunct fellow in the Discipline of Psychiatry at the University of Adelaide. She specialises in the area of military and high-risk occupation mental health and wellbeing, with a current focus on performance optimisation, risk mitigation and early intervention for Veterans and first responders exposed to stress and potentially traumatic events through their occupations. She has extensive experience in assessment and monitoring of the health impacts of service among military and first responder populations, and has specific expertise in the prospective longitudinal assessment and monitoring of mental, physical and neurobiological impacts of stress exposure. She has been an investigator on several project grants and consultancies, including the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme, and was the lead Investigator on the Impact of Combat Study specifically.  Other military projects she has led include the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) Prospective Study (the precursor to the Impact of Combat Study), a large-scale project focusing on the psychological, physical and neurobiological impacts of deployment to the MEAO among ADF personnel; and the Mothers in the MEAO study, a follow-up to the Military Health Outcomes Program (MilHOP) Health Studies, aimed at understanding the specific health and psychosocial wellbeing impacts of deployment, for Australian mothers deployed to the MEAO. In addition to her research, she is the current Chair of the Clinical Advisory Committee, and a Director on the Board of Management, for the Operation Flinders Foundation, a South Australian based charitable organisation that runs a world leading wilderness adventure program for young people at risk.