Cluster for Resilience and Wellbeing

Central Queensland University Australia's Cluster for Resilience and Wellbeing (CReW) was formed to provide leadership and expertise in resilience and wellbeing research from the individual, occupational, and community levels, focusing on regional and rural issues.

Our goal is to undertake research within the communities we serve, to improve the resilience and wellbeing of all Australians. We will achieve this through extensive stakeholder consultation with industry, government and non-government agencies, communities, and individuals. This holistic approach will ensure the activities of the CReW meet the needs and expectations of our partners.

CReW will achieve more than simply measuring resilience and wellbeing. We will proactively work with our partners to undertake applied and translational research in different settings, which results in practical solutions to the challenges facing Australian communities.

CReW is part of Central Queensland University's Appleton Institute: a multidisciplinary research hub focusing on health and wellbeing at work, rest and play. It is internationally renowned for its high-quality research outputs; collaborative research culture; excellent infrastructure; capacity to develop research higher degree and early career researchers; engagement with government, industry, and the community; and translation of research outcomes.

CReW's work will support the strategic plan developed by the Appleton Institute and Central Queensland University to create knowledge for the benefit of our communities that will be embedded in the education and training of our students.


CReW aspires to positively impact our community through engaged research and education on resilience and wellbeing.

Strategic Priorities

CReW's priorities for engaged research include:

  1. Resilience at the individual, organisational, and community level
  2. Self-harming and suicidal behaviour
  3. Health-related behaviours that optimise physical and mental health
  4. First Nations' mental health
  5. The economic impact of improved mental health

To achieve CReW's vision and objectives, we will:

  • Focus on regional and rural areas where a greater need for resilience and wellbeing exist;
  • Design, implement and evaluate interventions aimed at improving resilience and wellbeing in multiple settings;
  • Improve individual, organisational, occupational, and community resilience and wellbeing through effective and sustainable activities;
  • Understand suicide, its predictors, and strategies that effectively reduce suicide rates;
  • Investigate how health-related behaviours can be optimised to benefit physical and mental health in ways that are acceptable and feasible to the end user;
  • Respond to changing social, political, economic, and community needs and expectations;
  • Provide a platform from which students can embrace research through the existing range of support programs;
  • Undertake capability-building activities by mentoring junior researchers, encouraging participation in staff development programs and other activities as identified over time;
  • Influence health policy and practice through research-informed statements;
  • Disseminate research findings to a broad audience through academic and non-academic channels.

Who we are?

CReW is co-led by Professor Chris Doran and Associate Professor Robert Stanton. CReW members pride themselves on conducting their research where it matters most by living and working in the communities they serve.

CReW members have specialist research skills in:

  • Physical activity
  • Mental health
  • Health economics
  • Public health
  • Healthcare systems
  • Health psychology
  • Behaviour change
  • Resilience
  • Indigenous health
  • Suicide prevention
  • Mental health literacy

Current Projects

  • Evaluation of the Australian Government's Investment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care through the Indigenous Australians' Health Programme.
  • The Regional Australia Mental Health Research and Training Institute: Building place-based research capacity to improve mental health in regional, rural, and remote Australia through the Regional Universities Network (RUN).
  • Strengthening Indigenous adolescent mental health and wellbeing.
  • NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Implementation for Community Chronic Disease Prevention.
  • Mental health literacy of health professionals.
  • Implementing exercise into routine healthcare for people with mental illness.
  • Physical health care coordination for people with mental illness.
  • Indigenous engagement and leadership in the evaluation of Indigenous health and wellbeing programs: Taking steps to improve government and non-government commissioning practices.
  • Evaluating institutional support for student and staff wellbeing.
  • Examining the ethical challenges of coercive practices by mental health nurses in community mental health settings.

Professor Chris Doran
Research Professor – Health Economics
07 3023 4245

Prof Doran holds a Bachelor of Economics (Honours), a PhD in Health Economics and is a recent graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. His main area of research is mental health with a focus on substance use and suicidal behaviour. Chris is a Professor of Health Economics in the Centre for Indigenous Health Equity Research, Central Queensland University (CQUniversity).

Prof Doran's research has contributed to the field of health economics and strengthened the evidence base for effective policy action. In recent years, his focus on priority setting has been complemented with the development of tools and frameworks to facilitate translational research. His translational research has contributed to the development, implementation and evaluation of national and international substance abuse and mental health policies.

Professor Chris Doran CQUniversity Staff Profile

Dr Robert Stanton
Senior Lecturer – Muscular and Skeletal
07 4923 2275

Robert has over 25 years of experience working with the sport, health, fitness and rehabilitation sectors. He has conducted professional development workshops on topics including core stabilisation, recovery techniques and coach development. He has tutored and lectured in exercise physiology and biomechanics and has a keen interest in coach education, particularly in the regional areas. Robert commenced with the Institute for Health and Social Science Research in August 2012 after 10 years in private practice as an Exercise Physiologist and found the work both challenging and rewarding. Working with a co-operative high-quality team enables Robert to develop research projects which will make a difference in clinical practice and enhance the lives of others.

Dr Robert Stanton CQUniversity Staff Profile

Associate Professor Talitha Best
Associate Professor / Head of Course Psychology Honours
07 3295 1131

As a registered psychologist, adjunct research fellow (UniSA) and senior lecturer in psychology, Talitha's research and clinical interests focus on the effects of nutrition and bioactive food components to improve mood and neurocognitive function across the lifespan. In particular, Talitha's research has investigated the effects of plant polysaccharides (plant sugars) on everyday cognitive abilities and well-being in middle-aged adults. With experience in research, clinical practice and industry research and development, Talitha is passionate about bringing science, people and business together to facilitate knowledge transfer and innovation in the research and industry sectors.

Recently, Talitha has developed and co-edited a book around the role of nutrition in brain health and cognitive performance.

The book aims to make available to health professionals, food and nutraceutical industry personnel, teachers and researchers and interested public readers valuable information about nutritional and lifestyle choices for cognitive health.

Associate Professor Talitha Best CQUniversity Staff Profile

Associate Professor Karena Burke
Associate Professor in Psychology; Head of Department of Psychology and Public Health
08 83784566

Karena completed her doctoral studies at the University of Tasmania in Launceston where she also held positions as an Associate Lecturer and Junior Research Fellow within the School of Psychology. Her PhD project examined the adjustments made by police officers when they enter the police profession. Karena's primary research interests are in the areas of preventive health, adjustment, and well-being at both individual and organisational levels and the development of health concepts in children. Karena has a keen interest in the role of food and food choices in health, well-being and development, and is currently conducting a range of projects examining the factors that influence food choices, and the difficulties faced by those with food intolerances and food allergies.

Karena started as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in August 2011 and is currently Head of Department of Psychology and Public Health.

Associate Professor Karena Burke CQUniversity Staff Profile

Dr Louise Byrne
Lecturer – Live Experience Mental Health

Since 2005 Louise has been employed in a range of government, non-government and tertiary organisations to provide a lived experience perspective of mental health challenge and Recovery. Louise is currently employed by CQUniversity as a lived experience mental health academic. This was only the second position of its kind in Australia and the first known full-time position in the world.

Dr Louise Byrne CQUniversity Staff Profile

Professor Jenni Judd
Professor – Health Promotion
07 4150 7130

Jenni's extensive practical and applied research experience in a broad range of environments including urban, rural, tropical and remote Indigenous communities and with health care providers in the NT, WA, QLD and NSW. Her research has been applied and focused on capacity building and changing practice and policy in: Mental Health; Chronic Disease Management; Health promotion and public health practice in Primary Health care providers; Pandemic Influenza; Hendra virus risks with Equine Vets; and Strongyloidiasis in Indigenous communities.

Professor Jenni Judd CQUniversity Staff Profile

Professor Margaret McAllister
Professor – Nursing
07 5440 7082

Margaret is an experienced researcher, with particular expertise in critical and narrative methods. Research scales she has developed are used throughout the world and include the attitude to deliberate self-harm questionnaire (ADSHQ) and the Capabilities of the Nurse Educator Scale (CONE). She has published over 170 refereed journal articles and have been honoured to receive five awards for excellence in teaching, including in 2010 a national citation for outstanding contributions to nursing education. Margaret has completed terms as Associate Editor for the UK journal, Nurse Education in Practice (2012–14) and has been a long-standing member (now fellow) of the Australian College of Nursing and the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses. In the latter organisation, she has served many years on research and education committees as well as one term as a board director.

Since joining CQU, Margaret has pursued a program of cross-disciplinary research in nursing and the humanities, aiming to contribute to the health-humanities. She continues to teach higher degree students in coursework and doctoral studies. Margaret mentors academics in research, teaching and community engagement. In 2019, she was awarded Research Supervisor of the Year.

Professor Margaret McAllister CQUniversity Staff Profile

Professor Pamela Meredith
Professor – Occupational Therapy
07 4930 9497

Pamela Meredith is Professor and Head of Occupational Therapy in the School of Health Medical and Applied Sciences at Central Queensland University. Pamela has an extensive clinical background as an occupational therapist, having worked clinically with infants children and adults in Intellectual Handicap Services (now Disability Services), Child Guidance/ Child and Youth Mental Health Services, and Catholic Education. She then worked at The University of Queensland for more than 20 years, where she retains an honorary position, and commenced at CQU in 2018. As well as being an occupational therapist, Pamela is a registered psychologist, and has a PhD in occupational therapy focusing on chronic pain outcomes for adults with childhood experiences predisposing them to insecure attachment patterns.

Her current research involves investigating the physical and mental health implications of insecure attachment and atypical sensory processing patterns. Pamela has national and international collaborations in this field. She has a demonstrated track record in the publication and dissemination of her research activity, with more than 70 publications, and is also regularly invited to review papers for international journals. She has presented extensively at conferences, including invited presentations and keynotes, presents to community and professional organisations, and is also regularly invited to present workshops through the occupational therapy professional body, Occupational Therapy Australia Ltd.

In her research mentoring role Pamela currently advises ten PhD students, four MPhil students, and three Graduate Entry Masters research students, with additional students seeking enrolment.

Professor Pamela Meredith CQUniversity Staff Profile

Professor Tania Signal
Professor - Psychology
07 4923 2303

Professor Tania Signal is originally from New Zealand where she received her PhD in Psychology from Waikato University working within the Animal Behaviour and Welfare Research Centre. In 2003 she moved to Australia and took up a Lectureship at CQUniversity. Now a Professor, she has developed a comprehensive research program broadly investigating Human-Animal Interaction covering topics such as potential links between personality factors (especially empathy), interpersonal violence and the treatment of animals through to community attitudes regarding farm animal welfare and suitable penalties for individuals convicted of animal cruelty offences. As well as publishing in academic outlets, Tania is committed to delivering 'real world' outcomes from her research and regularly speaks at community events for the RSPCA (Qld) and is part of the 'Voices of Influence' campaign for WSPA (Aus).

Professor Tania Signal CQUniversity Staff Profile

Associate Professor Anthony Welch
Associate Professor Mental Health
07 5440 7035

Anthony has held a number of positions in the discipline of nursing in both the private and public sectors of the healthcare industry (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Hong Kong). Such positions have included Hospital Manager, Director of Nursing, Deputy Director of Nursing, Senior Supervisor, Unit Manager, Principal Educator, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies, and Director of Post-Graduate Studies. He has also been a foundation member of two Schools of Nursing in Australia.

Thirty years of teaching in the tertiary sector have included Professional Development, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing, Creative Arts Therapy, Counselling, Spirituality, Men's Health, Qualitative Research Methods, Evidence-based Practice, Trans-cultural Nursing, Indigenous Health, Community Health, and Philosophic Inquiry.

Other professional activities have included invited International Scholar/Professor, Invited Keynote Speaker, Member of an Aged Care Consultancy Team to China under the auspices of the Myer Foundation, and Ministerial appointments.

Associate Professor Anthony Welch CQUniversity Staff Profile

Dr Adam Gerace
Senior Lecturer – Positive Psychology
08 8378 4537

Adam is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences. He is Head of Course for the Graduate Certificate in Positive Psychology, Graduate Diploma of Positive Psychology, and Master of Applied Positive Psychology.

Adam's background is in social psychology, and his research interests are in the areas of perspective-taking and empathy, and inpatient psychiatric hospitalisation and therapeutic relationships.

Dr Adam Gerace CQUniversity Staff Profile