Our Mission

The key health challenge of our time is to address the changing health needs of children and young people in our population. Chronic, non-communicable disease accounts for the vast majority of all disability adjusted life years lost (DALYS) among children and  young people in high income countries, with obesity, respiratory diseases (mainly asthma) and neuropsychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression, among the most common causes of morbidity.


Population Child Health Research Group at UNSW aims to understand the determinants of poor health in children and young people; co-develop integrated scalable intervention packages that can be delivered by existing practitioners; evaluate these packages at scale and integrate them into clinical practice. We have a focus on translational research that will have a direct impact on the everyday lives of children, especially children and young people whose voices often go unheard, such as those from Aboriginal, refugee and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and those living in socioeconomic disadvantage or out of home care.


Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network is committed to upholding, respecting and valuing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experience and history in order to provide high quality health care services to Aboriginal children, families and communities and achieve optimal health, development and wellbeing. SCHN recognises Aboriginal communities as the first peoples of Australia with a long standing culture that remains a principal part of the Australian identity, and as such a culture that is respected, valued and celebrated by our staff, services and in our surroundings. As a provider responsible for delivering healthcare services locally,  state-wide, and inter-state, we are committed to ensuring Aboriginal families and communities have access to services that are culturally responsive, holistic and comprehensive, engaging, well-resourced and flexible.

The Team


Prof Raghu Lingam

Lead Population Child Health

Raghu Lingam is Professor of Paediatric Population Health at the University of New South Wales, Honorary Senior Researcher at the University of Newcastle, UK and a Consultant Community Paediatrician within the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network. He has set up and leads the Population and Child Health Services Research group at UNSW and co-leads of the Kids to Adults clinical academic group as part of Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE).

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A/Prof Sue Woolfenden

Deputy Group Lead of Healthy Beginnings theme

Sue is a NH&MRC funded Senior Research Fellow and a senior staff specialist in the Department of Community Child Health ,Sydney Children’s Hospital Network. She leads research that investigates the impact of inequitable health and health care for children in the early years of childhood in Australia and globally, in particular those who are at risk of or have a neurodevelopmental disorder.

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Prof Karen Zwi

Lead of Priority Populations theme

Karen is head of the Department of Community Child Health, Clinical Director of Priority Populations across Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and Refugee Clinical Lead. Her research interests include the service development for refugee health, Aboriginal health, child protection, mental health and adolescent services. 

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Dr Nan Hu


Nan is an epidemiologist and bio-statistician by training, and has more than 10 years of professional and academic experience in public health research. Nan has a great interest in child health, with particular interests in mental health and behavioural problems, social disadvantage and vulnerability, early intervention strategies and polices, and clinical integration and innovation.


Michael Hodgins


Michael Hodgins is a research associate within the Population Child Health Research Group. He has worked as a research assistant at Western Sydney University and the Hospital for Sick Children on a number of research projects. Michael holds a Master of Qualitative Health Research degree and Doctorate of Philosophy exploring emotion and knowledge translation in community based palliative care.

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Dr Jade Burley


Jade Burley is a research fellow at UNSW. She is passionate about improving the health and well-being of children, with a research interest in physical activity and sedentary behaviour, health inequality, early intervention strategies and policy change. Jade is passionate about research innovation, translation, and accessibility. 


Dr Yalem Gelaw


Yalem is a Research Associate in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the UNSW Faculty of Medicine Discipline of Paediatrics. He has a strong public health and epidemiology background with considerable research experience, evidenced by an impressive publication record for such an early career stage. 


Nora Samir

Research Assistant

Nora is currently the coordinator of a refugee health research study and is also working on setting up and running children and young people’s research advisory groups at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and in a local school. Her research interests include improving access to health care services in refugee and migrant populations, particularly through community-based interventions.

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Christine Smith

Research Assistant

Christine manages the research projects of the population child health group at UNSW. She has experience in various research settings including health systems for low and middle income countries and nutrition research. She has developed a keen interest in communicating research using digital platforms and has gained experience in managing academic research outputs and strategies to maximise research impact.