Q) What’s your link to Townsville?
I was born and grew up in Townsville. I also did my undergraduate degree in the Anthropology Department at James Cook University.
Q) Where are you now?
I just started a great new role at Macquarie University in Sydney so that’s very exciting. As a medical anthropologist, I work for universities and international development agencies analysing the social processes that influence people’s health. One of the great parts of the job is that I get to spend a lot of time in Indonesia, interviewing people about their lives and getting to understand their perspectives on health and illness. Then I put these individual stories into the big picture, to show how the broader social and political context shapes public health. I love Indonesia and I really enjoy being able to bring human stories to health research and policy.
Q) What’s your next project?
I’m starting a new project working with Indonesian midwives. In addition to helping to deliver babies, Indonesian midwives take on all sorts of other roles to care for their communities. I’ll be taking the life histories of midwives to better understand the expanded roles that midwives play within their communities and the kinds of challenges they face in their day-to-day work. Indonesia still has a high rate of infant and maternal mortality, so it’s really important to understand how social dynamics can have serious health implications and to find new ways to address these barriers to better health.
Q) How did your time in Townsville set you up for success?
I look back now and realise how lucky I was to have such great lecturers at JCU. They really were world-class teachers and they were also kind and inspiring.
Q) Do you still come ‘home’ to Townsville to visit?
Yes my mother and older brother still live in Townsville, so I still come home to spend time with family and old friends at least once a year. I miss the North Queensland landscape and I try to get in a swim at Crystal Creek or Magnetic Island whenever I’m home.