Research in progress

Grants awarded 2019

  • Profiling injuries suffered by female soldiers of the Australian Defence Force

    $39,467 – Dr Ben Schram – Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University

    Due to anatomical, biomechanical, physiological or anthropometric differences, female Defence members may suffer different – or more severe – injuries than their male counterparts. If these differences can be identified, evidence-based strategies can be put into place to help mitigate injuries. Using ADF injury surveillance data, a detailed investigation of injuries affecting female Defence members will further inform selection and implementation of interventions to minimise the incidence and severity of female injury in the ADF.

  • Evaluate the relationship between anger, aggression and suicidality in serving and ex-serving ADF members

    $50,000 – Senior Research Fellow Dr Tracey Varker – Phoenix Australia, Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health

    Research has already shown the transition from military to civilian life is one of the most significant and stressful stages in the career trajectory of military members. Transition results in significant changes to identity, community, social ties, status, finances, routines, occupational and family roles. Emerging research indicates that difficulties with anger and aggression are common problems reported by contemporary veterans. This study will examine the frequency of problematic anger, aggression and suicidality, as well as their interconnections, among serving and transitioned ADF personnel. Distinctions will be drawn between male and female currently-serving and transitioned members.

  • Understanding and enhancing responses to suicide crises involving current serving and ex-serving ADF members

    $143,750 – Associate Professor Ed Heffernan – Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research

    While there has been growth in research on suicide among ADF and ex-ADF members, there has been comparably little focus on suicide crisis events. Understanding suicide crisis events is critical to enhancing crisis responses that reduce suffering and save lives. This research will examine linked health records of Defence-related personnel who have experienced a suicide crisis, with the view to translating findings into meaningful service responses. The aim is to improve mental health and psychosocial outcomes for serving and ex-serving ADF members and their families.

  • Birth outcomes for women in the ADF: the impact of models of care

    $96,622 – Associate Professor Emily Callander – Centre for Applied Health Economics, Griffith University

    Research has identified that women serving in the ADF may be experiencing higher rates of intervention in the birth of their babies, with 56% delivering via caesarean section (compared with 35% of civilian women). Until 2018, pregnant women in the ADF only had access to private obstetrician-led care. A change to Health Directive No 235 means it is now possible for pregnant ADF women to access other models of care (which may have lower rates of intervention). This research will examine the differences in outcomes and out-of-pocket costs between civilian and ADF mothers; and identify whether the policy change allowing alternative models of care has resulted in any change in outcomes and cost.

Grants awarded 2018

  • Improving responses to Intimate Partner Violence in the veteran community

    $49,990 – Dr Sean Cowlishaw, Senior Research Fellow, Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health

    High levels of IPV are expected among military personnel suffering post-traumatic mental health problems. While there is growing evidence from the US regarding IPV prevalence and interventions in military populations, there is no comparable research from Australia. This project will examine the frequency of IPV among Australian veterans and their families as reported by mental health service providers, and evaluate the readiness of services to respond. This project will provide preliminary evidence of the need for systematic responses to IPV in veteran and family support services in Australia.

  • Women serving in the ADF: an exploration of genitourinary health issues

    $34,905 – Dr Simone O’Shea, Lecturer in Physiotherapy, School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University

    Serving women are increasingly performing more physically-demanding and diverse roles in the ADF. And a larger female workforce requires broader consideration of female health care. The unique physical work requirements of many military roles mean service women may be placed at higher risk of genitourinary health issues (such as incontinence, urinary tract infections and pelvic organ prolapse). A better understanding of these issues will guide interventions for better female genitourinary health, occupational health, safety and performance.

  • A clinical trial to measure the success of integrative approaches for musculoskeletal health, chronic pain and associated conditions in military personnel and veterans

    $49,500 – Dr Jon Wardle, Associate Professor of Public Health, NHRMC Translating Research into Practice Fellow, Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of technology Sydney

    Despite significant military integration of complementary medicine (CM) in other countries, there appears to have been little integration of CM in the treatment of Australian military personnel, despite high use by that population. Most use of CM by serving personnel and veterans in Australia is self-administered rather than practitioner-assisted. This project will examine the clinical and societal impact of incorporating evidence-based CM into the care of serving and ex-serving personnel, and assess clinical improvements, resource or costs savings, or other benefits for patients.

Grants awarded 2017

  • A trial of N-acetylcysteine for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that hasn’t improved with normal treatment.

    $192,816 -  Professor Richard Kanaan, Chair of Psychiatry, Austin Health University of Melbourne

    This study aims to investigate the efficacy of NAC as an adjunct to first line treatment in treatment-resistant PTSD in a definitive randomised, placebo-controlled trial. The primary outcome measures will be the core PTSD symptoms, measured by the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). Secondary outcomes will include depressive symptoms, substance use, functioning, and quality of life.


  • Diagnosis and follow-up of concussion after mild traumatic brain injury

    $49,688 - Professor Biswadev Mitra, Head Clinical Research, National Trauma Research Institute

    The objective of this study is to assess the novel bio-markers in conjunction with routinely used cognitive tests to evaluate participants who suffered an injury to the head and are at risk of concussion or post-concussion syndrome. The secondary aim is to assess these biomarkers along with cognitive testing over 4 weeks to correlate changes in biomarker levels to cognitive tests.