Dr Megan Williams is Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing at the Graduate School of Health. She has over 20 years’ experience combining health service delivery and research, particularly focusing on Aboriginal peoples’ leadership to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the criminal justice system and post-prison release. Megan is a Wiradjuri descendent, and also has Anglo-Celtic heritage.
Megan is a research partner of the First Peoples Disability Network and Mibbinbah Men’s Spaces health promotion charity. Megan has had her work endorsed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health under the umbrella of the Lowitja Institute. She contributes to the NHMRC-funded Centre for Research Excellence on Offender Health at UNSW and an ARC-funded partnership between Ted Noffs Foundation and UNSW. Through the new Sydney Partnership for Health, Education and Research Enterprise and Croakey.org Megan also focusses on translating research into policy, practice and education. Megan was an award-winning Aboriginal health lecturer at UNSW and UQ, and a recent finalist in the 2017 National Indigenous Human Rights Awards.
Megan's community involvement has included:
#JustJustice social journalism for health project through Croakey.org
Lowitja Institute Link Person for UQ and UNSW
Resource development working group Chairperson, Mental Health - Children and Young People, NSW Ministry of Health
Mibbinbah Mad Bastards Working Group and Be the Best You Can Be program
Project 10% Research Partner, with Murri Watch Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, ANTaR Qld and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal and Advisory Service
Megan's awards include:
2017 Finalist, National Indigenous Human Rights Awards
2015 UNSW Vice Chancellor's Award for Learning and Teaching
2013 UNSW Medicine Dean's Rising Star Award
2012 National Child Abuse Network Prevention Awards - Mad Bastards Working Group community outreach program
2011 Queensland Premier's Reconciliation Award - Partnerships winner, Project 10%
2011 Community Action Network Award - Project 10%
2010 UQ School of Population Health Teaching Excellence Award winner
2010 Lowitja Institute International Travel Award.
Megan's current research projects include:
Barraminya: Role of social support to reduce re-incarceration among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
Positive life pathways for vulnerable adolescents, ARC partnership project, Ted Noffs Foundation and UNSW
Living Our Ways Community-driven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disability research program led by First Peoples Disability Network
Sydney Partnerships for Health, Education and Research Enterprise Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Stream, Team Investigator
Ngadhuri-nya care for:Intergenerational effects of incarceration on social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal children and young people in partnership with NSW Child Development Study UNSW ndMibbinbah health promotion charity
Previous research projects have included:
Commonwealth funded-evaluation of 3 Returning Home pilot programs supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women exiting correctional facilities, Muru Marri UNSW Team Investigator
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation-funded documentation of strategies for collective healing for Stolen Generations, Muru Marri UNSW Team Investigator
Megan was also involved with:
NHMRC Capacity Building Grant, Indigenous Offender Health Programme, Team Investigator
Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Opiate Treatment Outcomes Study, Reference Group Member, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW
Connective Services: Post-prison release support among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people research
Guidelines for Hepatitis C Education Targeting Young People who Inject Drugs project, Queensland Alcohol and Drug Research and Education Centre, UQ
Young People's Initiation into Injecting Drug Use Project, Queensland Intravenous AIDS Association (QuIVAA) Inc
Megan specialises in teaching and learning about Aboriginal health and wellbeing. She has experience in:
Course/subject and program development; vertical and horizontal alignment of curriculum
Face-to-face, external and online postgraduate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing coursework team teaching
Co-facilitation of the NSW Ministry of Health Public Health Officer Training Program and UNSW Future Health Leaders Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing workshops
Co-supervising and mentoring post-graduate research students in research design and data collection
Co-facilitation of the Critical Friends Circle post-graduate research support, including with a UNSW Learning and Teaching Unit grant.
Print on Demand version
Blignault, I. & Williams, M.M. 2017, 'Challenges in evaluating Aboriginal healing programs: definitions, diversity and data', Evaluation Journal of Australasia, vol. 17, pp. 4-10.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Williams, M. 2016, 'Arresting Incarceration: Pathways Out of Indigenous Imprisonment Don Weatherburn (Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 2014, ISBN 9781922059550 (paperback), 189 pp.)', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 75, no. 1, pp. 119-120.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Nathan, S., Rawstorne, P., Hayen, A., Bryant, J., Baldry, E., Ferry, M., Williams, M., Shanahan, M. & Jayasinha, R. 2016, 'Examining the pathways for young people with drug and alcohol dependence: a mixed-method design to examine the role of a treatment programme.', BMJ Open, vol. 6, no. 5, pp. 1-14.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Young people with drug and alcohol problems are likely to have poorer health and other psychosocial outcomes than other young people. Residential treatment programmes have been shown to lead to improved health and related outcomes for young people in the short term. There is very little robust research showing longer term outcomes or benefits of such programmes. This paper describes an innovative protocol to examine the longer term outcomes and experiences of young people referred to a residential life management and treatment programme in Australia designed to address alcohol and drug issues in a holistic manner.This is a mixed-methods study that will retrospectively and prospectively examine young people's pathways into and out of a residential life management programme. The study involves 3 components: (1) retrospective data linkage of programme data to health and criminal justice administrative data sets, (2) prospective cohort (using existing programme baseline data and a follow-up survey) and (3) qualitative in-depth interviews with a subsample of the prospective cohort. The study will compare findings among young people who are referred and (a) stay 30days or more in the programme (including those who go on to continuing care and those who do not); (b) start, but stay fewer than 30days in the programme; (c) are assessed, but do not start the programme.Ethics approval has been sought from several ethics committees including a university ethics committee, state health departments and an Aboriginal-specific ethics committee. The results of the study will be published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at research conferences, disseminated via a report for the general public and through Facebook communications. The study will inform the field more broadly about the value of different methods in evaluating programmes and examining the pathways and trajectories of vulnerable young people.
Gisev, N., Gibson, A., Larney, S., Kimber, J., Williams, M., Clifford, A., Doyle, M., Burns, L., Butler, T., Weatherburn, D.J. & Degenhardt, L. 2014, 'Offending, custody and opioid substitution therapy treatment utilisation among opioid-dependent people in contact with the criminal justice system: comparison of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians', BMC Public Health, vol. 14, no. 1.View/Download from: Publisher's site
van Dooren, K., Claudio, F., Kinner, S.A. & Williams, M. 2011, 'Beyond reintegration: a framework for understanding exprisoner health', International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 26-36.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Crane, P. & Williams, M.M. 2001, 'Educating young initiates about hepatitis C: Part II', Youth Studies Australia, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 11-24.
Williams, M.M. & Crane, P. 2001, 'The first shot: Part I', Youth Studies Australia, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 11-24.
Williams, M.M. & Roche, A. 1999, 'Young people's initiation into injecting drug use: The role of peer interviewers in risk reduction research', Health Promotion Journal of Australia, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 213-217.
Williams, M.M., Sweet, M., Finlay, S., McInerney, M. & Ward, M. 2017, '#JustJustice online campaign to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander over-incarceration', 14th National Rural Health Conference Proceedings, National Rural Health Conference, National Rural Health Alliance, Canberra, ACT, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Kinner, S. & Williams, M.M. 2007, 'Post-release experience of prisoners in Queensland: Implications for community and policy', QUT Social Change in the 21st Century Conference Proceedings.
Williams, M.M. 2015, 'Connective services: Post-prison release support in an urban Aboriginal population'.
Western Sydney University
Ted Noffs Foundation
Mibbinbah Health Promotion Charity