Research Affiliates

Dr Laura Davy

Laura is a Research Fellow at the Public Service Research Group, UNSW Canberra. Her research focuses on Australian disability policy design and implementation, and the experiences of people with disability and their families in the context of large-scale change and reform of the disability policy and services environment. This research examines the policy factors that influence the health and wellbeing of people with disability, as well as issues of access and equity within mainstream service areas such as health. Current projects include collaborating with CRE-DH on the analysis of policy lab data, a book project about the concepts of personal autonomy that inform current disability policy and politics, and co-editing a book volume about the philosophical and policy implications of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD). 

Ms Alexandra Devine

Alex is a Senior Research Officer with the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne. Her local and international research and technical experience has a focus on disability inclusive development. Alexandra’s recent research activities include as lead researcher on a UNICEF funded situation analysis of children with disability in Cambodia. The project utilised participatory research techniques to include the voices of children with disability; lead researcher on study evaluating exploring sport for inclusive development programs in the Pacific; Co-investigator for an Australian Development Research Award aimed at improving access to quality Sexual and Reproductive Health for women with disability in the Philippines; and, Co-investigator on an Australian Government funded study to develop the Rapid Assessment of Disability – a toolkit to measure the effectiveness of development activities which target or include people with disabilities. Alex Devine is currently providing technical assistance to an Australian Government funded Skills for Development Program in Kiribati, as well as undertaking a PhD exploring access to employment for job seekers with psychosocial disability.

Dr Ariella Meltzer

Ariella is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact UNSW Sydney. Her research focuses on lived experience in disability services and support; the relationships between people with disability and their families, especially their siblings; inclusive practice; and accessible information, especially Easy Read materials for people with intellectual disability. Her disability research has crossed areas including health, employment and other forms of social and economic engagement, peer support, service implementation, advocacy, family and community relationships and social inclusion.

Dr Ashley McAllister

Ashley is a public policy researcher who investigates the role of stigma in high-level decision making. At present, she is a postdoctoral researcher at the Karolinska Institute on a visiting fellow position in the Disability and Health Unit at The University of Melbourne. Most recently, Ashley conducted the largest attitudes study of Swedish physicians about their attitudes towards persons with psychosocial disabilities needing a disability pension. Preliminary results highlight the inequalities that exist between the type of disability and gender. Ashley is committed to  producing policy-relevant research to reduce inequalities experience by people with psychosocial disability. Similar to the CRE-DH, Ashley aims to measure and quantify discrimination towards persons with disability, and is currently conducting a cross-national research project on the inequalities of employment among older persons with chronic health conditions and disability.

Ms Ivy Yen

Ivy is a PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney, undertaking a qualitative investigation into social care markets (disability and aged care), to understand the extent to which marketisation has impacted social care values that had been previously delivered by the not for profit sector. Prior to her PhD, Ivy worked at the University of Sydney on various projects that include evaluating the implementation of Partners in Recovery (PIR) in two regions in Western Sydney and most recently a national policy consultation project that resulted in the Mind the Gap report into the NDIS and psychosocial disability. Ivy has over 15 year’s experience working in the disability and aged care sector and has firsthand experience of the impact of significant social policy changes in both sectors.

Mid-Career /Senior Research Affiliates

Dr Sean Byars

Sean is a Data Science Research Fellow based in the Disability and Health Unit, The University of Melbourne. Sean has worked at Yale University on the Framingham Heart Study and as a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow at the University of Copenhagen while working on the national Danish Health registries. His work has investigated developmental origins of health and disease and risk factors for common diseases occurring in later life in various worldwide populations, and has utilised a range of computational and biostatistical methods on large-scale administrative, clinical and genetic datasets. Sean is currently working on a range of Work Program 2 data analyses on the social determinants of health.

Dr Michael Palmer

Michael is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Western Australia, and previously worked as a Research Fellow at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.  Michael’s research has focussed predominantly on disability, and in particular the economics of disability in an international context. His previous research has focussed on disability in Vietnam, specifically modelling health care utilisation and costs. He has worked for the World Health Organisation to undertake analysis of the health status and utilisation of health care of persons with disabilities in Cambodia and his more recent work has focussed on the modelling of the direct costs associated with disability more generally using a method known as the Standard of Living Approach.