Dr Melanie Andersen

Dr Melanie Andersen

Adjunct Lecturer

PhD, The University of New South Wales

Bachelor of Health Science, Occupational Therapy (Hons 1), The University of Newcastle

Medicine & Health
School of Population Health

Dr Melanie Andersen is a Research Fellow at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at The George Institute for Global Health.

Melanie has expertise in the social and environmental determinants of health across the life course. She uses qualitative and quantitative research methods to answer policy-relevant questions. Her focus is on collaborative, interdisciplinary work grounded in public health and epidemiology but informed by fields including sociology, urban planning and cultural studies. Much of Melanie’s work involves working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to address community priorities.

Melanie’s research builds on her clinical experience as an Occupational Therapist in hospital and community health settings. She brings a unique combination of sound epidemiological skills, clinical experience, understanding of health systems and a strong track record building community-led programs of research.

+61 2 8052 4359
Samuels Building
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Anderst A; Hunter K; Andersen M; Walker N; Coombes J; Raman S; Moore M; Ryan L; Jersky M; MacKenzie A; Stephensen J; Williams C; Timbery L; Doyle K; Lingam R; Zwi K; Sheppard-Law S; Erskine C; Clapham K; Woolfenden S, 2022, 'Screening and social prescribing in healthcare and social services to address housing issues among children and families: a systematic review', BMJ Open, 12, pp. e054338, http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054338
    Journal articles | 2022
    Yashadhana A; Howie A; Veber M; Cullen P; Withall A; Lewis E; McCausland R; Macniven R; Andersen M, 2022, 'Experiences and perceptions of ageing among older First Nations Australians: A rapid review', Australasian Journal on Ageing, 41, pp. 8 - 19, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajag.13031

  • Andersen M, Ivers R, Nigel Lovell N, McCausland R, MacGillivray P, Lewis E, Poulos R, Macniven R, Pollard-Wharton N, Poulos C, Eades A, Spencer W, Yashadhana A. “Supporting Aboriginal People to Age Well in Remote Settings: The Dharriwaa Elders Group”, UNSW Ageing Futures Institute, 2019. ​



  • Cullen P, Medlow S, Kang M, Liu B, Dinh M, Scott D, Steinbeck K, Perry L, Skinner R, Nathan S, Mackean T, Andersen M, Zolfaghari E, Wand T. Adolescent mental health presentations to emergency departments: Pilot study for a large-scale implementation science research project to improve adolescent health care. SPHCM Research Support Scheme 2019.


  • Andersen M, Hunter K, Woolfenden S, Lingham R, Clapham K, Mazza S et al. “Healthy housing: developing an integrated care pathway through partnerships with families, child health, social and housing services to improve Aboriginal child health and wellbeing”.  SPHERE Early life determinants of health seed funding, 2018.


  • Hunter K, Andersen M, Woolfenden S, Maza S, Williams C, Clapham K, Coote R, Lingham R, Zwi K. “Healthy housing: improving communication pathways between health, social and housing services for Aboriginal families in South East Sydney”,   The George Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health seed funding, 2018.


  • Cullen P, Mackean T, Longbottom M, Ivers R, Clapham K, Coombes J, Porykali B, Hackett M, Redfern J, Andersen M, Redfern J, Moore R. First response: Integrating trauma-informed care within primary healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing violence. The Lowitja Institute Project Grant, 2018.


  • Hunter K,  Ivers R, Sarrami P, Lassen C, Clapham K, Williams H, Andersen M, Balogh Z, et al. “Understanding serious injury and burn patient transfer processes, patient experiences and models of care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Emergency Departments in New South Wales.” NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation, ITIM. 2017.


  • Young Investigator of the year 2019, School of Public Health & Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney.

  • UNSW Research Excellence Award Top-up Scholarship
  • University Medal, University of Newcastle
  • NSW Association of Occupational Therapists Prize for Occupational Therapy Practice (Highest overall grade for fourth year of Occupational Therapy)   

  • Suzanne Lyons Memorial Prize for Excellence (Highest grade for Honours research project in Occupational Therapy)
  • Smith & Nephew Prize for Achievement  (Highest grade point average over first three years of Occupational Therapy)

Melanie has expertise in the links between housing and health for Aboriginal people in urban NSW. She co-leads a community-initiated partnership project to co-design a housing screening tool and integrated care pathway for agencies providing housing, health and social services to Aboriginal children and families in Sydney. She also leads research about household crowding and urban Aboriginal child health in collaboration with the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health (SEARCH) at the Sax Institute. Melanie is an Investigator on several studies, including an Aboriginal community-led child injury prevention project in remote NSW, a study of hospital care for seriously injured Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and a study of trauma-informed care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experiencing violence. She is also leading a Technical Report on Falls Prevention commissioned by the World Health Organisation, building on her previous work on hip fracture care in low and middle-income countries.

My Research Supervision

Melanie currently co-supervises a postgraduate research student on a project involving the co-design, implementation and evaluation of a parenting program in partnership with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations in remote NSW.  She has also supervised undergraduate Bachelor of Public Health interns on projects involving systematic literature reviews.