Professor Jane Fisher

Professor Jane Fisher, AO

Professor of Global Health, Director of Global and Women’s Health and Head, Division of Social Sciences in Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

Professor Fisher’s research led directly to the inclusion of maternal mental health in the World Health Organisation Nurturing Care Framework for Early Childhood Development; key member of the Perinatal Depression e-Consortium that has rolled out e-mental health supports with programs for all new Australian mothers, via the MumSpace website.

Chief Investigator C

Top 5 publications in the last 5 years:

  • Fisher, J., Rowe, Wynter, Tran,… A gender-informed, psychoeducational program for couples to prevent postnatal common mental disorders among primiparous women: cluster randomised controlled trial.  BMJ Open, 2016 Mar 7;6(3).
  • Fisher, J., Tran, Wynter, Hiscock, Bayer, Rowe. Gender-informed psycho-educational program to promote respectful relationships and reduce postpartum common mental disorders among primiparous women: long term follow-up of participants in a community-based cRCT. Global Mental Health 2018, 5: e30, These two papers demonstrate capacity to develop, trial and demonstrate impact of complex psycho-educational programs for postnatal mental health.
  • Rowe, Wynter, Burns, Fisher, J. A complex postnatal mental health intervention: Australian translational formative evaluation. Health Promotion International 2017; 32(4), 610-623. Demonstrates our team’s capacity to develop well-theorised and implementable interventions.
  • Wynter, Rowe, Tran, Fisher, J., Factors associated with father-to-infant attachment at 6 months postpartum: A community-based study in Victoria, Australia. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology 2016, 34(2), 185–195. Identification of potentially modifiable risks for attachment problems among parents and young infants
  • Brear, Hammarberg, Fisher, J., Community participation in research from resource-constrained countries: a scoping review. Health Promotion International 2018,33(4), 723-733, FWCI: 2.14. Demonstrates our understanding of effective collaboration with diverse communities.

Career summary: CIC Fisher is an academic Clinical and Health Psychologist. Her qualifications are: BSc (Hons) 1973; Member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS), 1977; Fellow, APS College of Clinical Psychologists 1989-, PhD 1994; Fellow, APS College of Health Psychologists, 2011-. Professor Fisher is currently appointed as: Finkel Professor of Global Health, Director of Global and Women’s Health (2018-) and Head, Division of Social Sciences, Monash University Public Health and Preventive Medicine (2011-) and Past President, International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health (2018-2020). CIC Fisher was Professor of Women’s Health, and Director of the Jean Hailes Research Unit (2011-17) and President, International Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health (2016-18). She was Associate Professor at the Centre for Women’s Health, Gender and Society, University of Melbourne from 2006 and fulltime Deputy Director and Coordinator of International Programs (2008–11). CIC Fisher was awarded a Monash Professorial Fellowship in March 2011 and was also appointed Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne (2011-).

Research publications:  Professor Fisher has a career total of 367 publications, including 298 journal articles, 32 book chapters (all peer-reviewed), 19 articles in professional bulletins and online forums and 22 technical reports.  Since 2016, she has given 52 invited keynote presentations and been an author on 114 general conference presentations. She has 12,389 citations and an H-index of 56.

Research Support: CIC Fisher has secured competitively awarded grants of $48 million (61% as CIA) including from NHMRC x 20 (also Mentor on an Early Career Researcher Fellowship 2016-2019); ARC Linkage Projects x 3 and Discovery Projects x 2; Australian Department of Social Services $1.6 million (2004–2014); Grand Challenges Canada, Australian Rotary Health; beyondblue; and several Australian civil society organisations. She has completed commissioned research of > $1.4 million (76% as CIA) including for the World Health Organization, World Bank Group, Victorian Government Departments of Health and Human Services, and Education and Training, Plan International, Burnet Institute, Family Planning Victoria and Melbourne IVF.

Contribution to field of research: CIC Fisher has contributed substantially to the field through epidemiological studies and intervention trials in clinical and community settings in Australia and low- and middle-income countries. She has contributed to knowledge regarding the social determinants of mental health problems across the life course among older and younger adults, adolescents and children; and of how these can be addressed directly in prevention in primary care, clinical practice and policy. CIC Fisher was appointed Officer in the Order of Australia for her contributions to this field in January 2019, and in 2017 was given the Marcé Medal, for having made an extraordinary contribution to expert knowledge in the field of perinatal mental health through research, clinical practice, teaching and mentorship.

Example from the last five years of impact of previous research:  CIC Fisher’s research has led directly to the inclusion of maternal mental health in the World Health Organisation Nurturing Care Framework for Early Childhood Development launched at the World Health Assembly as a guide to all 194-member nations for policies and programs to enable young children to thrive.

Collaborations: Prof Fisher regularly collaborates with colleagues from diverse disciplines and experts in both quantitative and qualitative social research methods; research institutes; government and non-government sectors; clinical services; United Nations agencies including the World Health Organization Headquarters, and international non-government organizations which have led to publications, theses and grants.

Community engagement and participation: CIC Fisher’s commitment to knowledge exchange is demonstrated through >120 invited presentations to community groups and for health professional post-service training since 2016.  She contributes to public discourse through contributions to the print media, television and via a weekly half hour invited session on ABC Radio Melbourne (2012-) which makes research findings available to the wider community and reaches about 80,000 people.

Professional involvement: Professor Fisher is presently Co-Chair for WHO Guideline Development Group for Postnatal Care and Chaired WHO Guideline Development Group the for the Nurturing Care Framework (2018-19). She Chairs the Psychosocial and Epidemiological Research in Reproduction Group for the Royal Women’s Hospital and Melbourne IVF and is also Deputy Chair of the Global Health Alliance Australia, member of the Epworth Healthcare Voluntary Assisted Dying Expert Advisory Group (2018 -), and the Masada Private Hospital Medical Advisory Committee (2016-).

International standing: CIC Fisher is Past President of the International Marcé Society (which is the expert professional society for mental health) having been elected President (2016–20) in a worldwide ballot. She has been an invited temporary technical adviser to WHO Departments of Reproductive Health and Research, Mental Health and Substance Use and Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Development, and an invited expert participant in more than 20 WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA Expert Meetings. Her invited keynote addresses include to the International Association for Women’s Mental Health (2017, 19), Fertility Society of Australia (2015, 18), World Psychiatry Association (2019), Fourth Women Deliver Global Conference (2016), Society for Mental Health Research (2017), Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (2019), Australian Nurses and Midwives Conference (2017); RANZCOG and ASPOG (2018).

Supervision and mentoring: Professor Fisher leads and mentors a research unit comprising 30 academic and professional staff and postgraduate students. She has supervised 32 PhDs and 26 postgraduate student research projects to completion and 9 PhD student projects are in progress. All have investigated aspects of mental health using gender-informed social theoretical models and made original contributions to knowledge.

Peer review involvement: CIC Fisher is Mental Health Section Editor for BMC Women’s Health and on the Editorial Boards of the Archives of Women’s Mental Health, International Journal of Mental Health Systems, Global Health: Science and Practice and Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is an occasional reviewer for 34 international journals, among them The Lancet, Human Reproduction, Social Science and Medicine, Bulletin of the World Health Organization and British Journal of Psychiatry (≈ 20 manuscripts per year). CIC Fisher also reviews for national and international granting bodies, including National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council, UK Medical Research Council, Grand Challenges Canada, Ireland Health Research Board, UBS Optimus Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

Other contributions to the NHMRC: Professor Fisher has reviewed project and program grant applications, and been a member of Grant Review Panels; Research Translation Faculty, 2014; Assigners’ Academy 2017 and 2018. She Chaired the NHMRC Mental Health and Parenting Expert Advisory Group and was an invited member of the consultation group reviewing grant review panels and processes in 2018.