Professsor Leonie Segal

  • Professor Australian Centre For Precision Health
PhD
  • University of South Australia
Professsor Leonie Segal

With increasing evidence that adversity in childhood, especially related to the family environment, is perhaps the most important influence on mental and physical health and social and economic outcomes across the life course, my research program is designed to better understand and ultimately address this pathway into disadvantage. It is in grappling with these wicked problems that we have the greatest opportunity to turn lives around. But if we fail in this, the price is too high. If Australian society continues to experience unacceptable levels of child maltreatment, too many children will not feel safe – and they are not safe. High risk of welfare dependency, homelessness, mental illness, disrupted families and possible early death to suicide and injury is the inevitable consequence of our failure to address child maltreatment.

My research program runs across several inter-related fields; working with an interdisciplinary team and in partnership with the NGO sector and government to:

  1. Describe and understanding the relationship between childhood adversity and trauma and poor outcomes
    • what are the underlying mechanisms - adding to the empirical evidence
      – using a large linked data set of persons born in SA since 1986
  2. Explore the options for intervening to disrupt these pathways, with a focus on child and adolescent mental health, family support services and community-driven cross-disciplinary models
  3. Policy and practice translation elements that can achieve change on the ground that will help vulnerable children and families and reduce societal costs.

[Access Dr Jackie Amos's PhD thesis, supervised by Prof Segal, here]

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Find out more about Leonie's research outputs, qualifications and affiliations on the SAHMRI Researcher portal