CHASE has seven main research themes which are necessarily interconnected. 

Working with vulnerable populations

We investigate the physical and mental health and social wellbeing of people at risk of marginalisation and social exclusion due to factors such as sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural diversity, physical disabilities or socio-economic status. Our emphasis is on the development of social strategies to combat this exclusion. Work includes: rights based approaches and methods for participation in health development (Ann Taket, Sarah Pollock); promoting the health of refugees and asylum seekers (Fiona McKay and Kim Robinson); promoting inclusion of those with diverse sexualities, cultures and ethnicities (Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli); promoting health for drug users (Matthew Dunn).

Gender and gender diversity

We have a large group of researchers (led by Ann Taket, Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, and Beth Crisp) working on gender equity and the prevention of gender based violence. This includes work both inside and outside of Australia. One main focus in on the primary prevention of gender based violence and abuse including using innovative theatre based education programs and workplace gender equality. Cutting across this work is recognition of multiple diversities including, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and dis/ability.

Sexual and reproductive health

CHASE has a group of researchers actively working across the spectrum of sexual and reproductive health including: attitudes, knowledge, behaviours and experiences of women in developing countries (Elizabeth Hoban and Greer Lamaro-Haintz), culturally diverse population groups ( Greer Lamaro-Haintz, Melissa Graham, Hayley McKenzie), sexual diversities (Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli), women without children (Melissa Graham and Ann Taket), people with a disability (Patsie Frawley), intersections between mothering, social inclusion and ethnicity (Karen Lane), the role of policy, and reproductive choices and consequences (Melissa Graham, Hayley McKenzie and Greer Lamaro-Haintz). This body of research considers multiple intersectionalities along with positive and respectful approaches to relationships, sexuality and satisfying and pleasurable safe sexual experiences, the right to decide if, when and how many children to have, control over reproductive decisions including access to safe, effective and affordable contraception, health information, and health care services including termination of pregnancy, and the right to make sexual and reproductive health decisions free from discrimination, coercion and violence.

Disability and inclusion

Deakin has a long tradition of research and teaching in disability and inclusion and currently offers both post graduate and undergraduate programs in this area. Our research activity is diverse but has a focus on the practice and policies related to inclusion and the enactment of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Research projects have included a focus on strategies to increase the employment of people with disability by small to medium sized businesses (Kevin Murfitt); projects related to the engagement of people with psychosocial disability in the NDIS (Erin Wilson in collaboration with Mind and University of Melbourne); work to identify the human rights priorities of children with disability in the Pacific (HDR candidate Elena Jenkin, Erin Wilson, Kevin Murfitt; and colleagues in the School of Health and Social Development and School of Humanities and Social Sciences). Other current projects include a focus on Supported Decision Making (Joanne Watson and Erin Wilson), and work on the support needs of people with dual disability (Erin Wilson and Kate Anderson).  A major focus of all our work is the design and use of research methods that foster the self-report and participation of people with disability in our research projects. Members of our CHASE team and their colleagues were awarded the international Zero project award for Innovative Practice in 2016.

Health, social and welfare sector 

CHASE researchers work across health, social and welfare sectors in partnership with service providers on a variety of projects designed to makes services accessible and inclusive for all. Students undertaking practicums, major and minor masters research thesis and honours projects, support this work, supervised by CHASE members.

Professional practice in the tertiary sector

A major aim at Deakin University is the development of access and inclusion across the range of educational opportunities. CHASE members are involved in developing inclusive curricula and modes of delivery to meet the needs to our diverse student body. One important aspect of this is working with our international students. CHASE members in our social work program including Beth Crisp, Sarah Epstein, Norah Hosken, Sophie Goldingay and Sevi Vassos, are all engaged in ongoing research on various aspects of pedagogy and how best to provide effective learning for Cloud students, who have often experienced exclusion from traditional on campus higher education.  

Built and natural environments

Space and place are intricately connected to health. Where we live, our access to nature, our ability to move around a neighbourhood, connect with people and access services, can determine our state of health and wellbeing. Recent research by the team (Fiona Andrews, Teresa Capetola, Elyse Warner and Claire Henderson-Wilson) has investigated elements of neighbourhoods that enhance people’s health and wellbeing. Use of innovative methodologies are integral to elucidating concepts of space and place. For example, Fiona Andrews and Elyse Warner, in partnership with several local governments, have used photo voice to explore residents’ lived experiences of new housing developments. Teresa Capetola and Claire Henderson-Wilson have partnered with community health services and housing associations to explore the health benefits of community gardens.

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