Profiles

Laura Smith

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Laura Smith

Laura Smith

Project Manager/PhD Candidate (Medical Sciences)

Room E011 , E Block

+61 3 6324 3357 (phone)

+61 3 6324 4040 (fax)

LA.Smith@utas.edu.au

Laura started as Project Manager Centre for Rural Health (CRH) in July 2018 working with a team from UTas evaluating the Tasmanian arm of the National Suicide Prevention Trial (NSPT). This local-level evaluation is being conducted alongside a national evaluation by the University of Melbourne. It adopts a participatory action research (PAR) approach to determine what strategies are effective for suicide prevention (SP) at a local-level and for at-risk populations, driving the planning of future SP activities.

In addition, Laura is also managing evaluations of the Community Responses to Eliminating Suicide (CORES) and the ‘Providing an Inclusive Practice and Community for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer/Questioning (LGBTIQ) People’ Training Program. The CORES training program is a well-established suicide prevention (SP) program based in Tasmania, aiming to equip participants with the ability to recognise warning signs of suicide, intervene before a potential crisis occurs, and support at-risk persons with accessing appropriate services. The evaluation seeks to determine the extent to which the training reflects 'best practice' in enhancing community awareness, capacity, and ownership of SP, within a Tasmanian context.

The LGBTIQ training program provides service providers and interested professionals, who would like to deepen their understanding and confidence in working with LGBTIQ people, with some general knowledge and ‘tools for their toolbox.’ The evaluation will identify the extent to which this training provides participants with skills-based knowledge to assist individuals and organisations to offer an inclusive and welcoming service for LGBTI people. Findings from these evaluations will assist with ensuring the sustainability of the programs, in addition to future planning initiatives in the areas of suicide prevention and working with LGBTIQ people.

Laura has also worked with the CRH since April 2017 in Research Assistant roles on several studies. These include the Social Attention and Communication Study – Revised (SACS-R), which looks at the developmental surveillance of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tasmania, in addition to studies exploring the experiences and mental health of former Refugees who have resettled in Launceston and surrounding areas.

In January 2020 Laura was awarded a PhD scholarship co-funded by Australian Rotary Health, the Rotary Club of Deloraine, and the Centre for Rural Health. Through this PhD Laura is exploring youth suicide prevention in regional and rural Tasmania, from the perspectives of service providers, policy organisations, and community organisations and members, including those with a lived experience of suicide. This research will include a Delphi expert consensus study to determine what the research priorities are for youth suicide prevention in Tasmania, and mixed methodology research exploring these priorities in detail. The aim of this study will be to build on findings from the NSPT at a state and national level, to determine best practice strategies to inform policy and program planning for youth suicide prevention in Tasmania.

Biography

Laura has worked in several project and research related roles in state and federal government organisations across Australia, including the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the WA Department of Health, the NSW Ministry of Health and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Laura has interests in public health and mental health-related research addressing complex issues, including suicide and childhood trauma and development. Laura wants to influence positive policy and social change for Australia’s most vulnerable people, including people living in regional and rural areas, former refugees, youth, children and people affected by mental illness and suicide.

Career summary

Qualifications

DegreeUniversityCountry Date of Award
PhD (Medical Sciences)University of TasmaniaAustralia2020 -
DipCouns Jansen Newman Institute Australia 2017
BPhil Macquarie University Australia 2017
MPH Australian National University Australia 2013
BA/BComm University of Tasmania Australia 2007

Memberships

Professional practice

  • Suicide Prevention Australia
  • International Association for Suicide Prevention
  • Australian Evaluation Society
  • Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network
  • Tasmanian Transcultural Mental Health Network
  • Mental Health Council of Tasmania
  • Flourish Mental Health
  • Autism Tasmania Inc.
  • Lifelink Samaritans
  • Mental Health Professionals’ Network - Launceston

Administrative expertise

  • Project management
  • Program evaluation
  • Data management and analysis
  • Metadata development
  • Grant and funding submissions, ministerial briefings
  • Research planning and design – inc. methodology, survey design, participant recruitment (qualitative and quantitative methods)
  • Policy analysis and development
  • Publication, presentations, and report preparation

View more on Ms Laura Smith in WARP

Expertise

  • Child development and developmental disorders including autism spectrum disorder
  • Developmental trauma, abuse and neglect
  • Mental health and trauma
  • Maternal mental health
  • Personality psychology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Public health and policy development
  • Health workforce planning
  • Program evaluation
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and welfare
  • Refugee health and welfare

Research Themes

Laura is a researcher interested in child development including the impacts of childhood trauma on a child’s developmental trajectory. In addition, Laura has research interests in personality and abnormal psychology, public health and the mental health of minority populations and specific demographic groups. These groups include children, mothers, refugees and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Awards

Health Practitioner Research Development Program Scholar

Current projects

  • National Suicide Prevention Trial - Tasmania Evaluation
  • Evaluation of Community Responses to Eliminating Suicide - Training Program
  • Evaluation of Working Effectively with LGBTI People - Training Program
  • Social Attention and Communication Study – Revised
  • Resettlement experiences of former refugees in Launceston: A focus group study

Fields of Research

  • Mental Health (111714)
  • Health and Community Services (111708)
  • Health Information Systems (incl. Surveillance) (111711)
  • Migration (160303)
  • Epidemiology (111706)
  • Studies in Human Society (169999)
  • Health Promotion (111712)
  • Public Health and Health Services (111799)
  • Developmental Psychology and Ageing (170102)
  • Ethnic Education (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Maori and Pacific Peoples) (130307)
  • Race and Ethnic Relations (160803)

Research Objectives

  • Evaluation of Health Outcomes (920204)
  • Mental Health (920410)
  • Health and Support Services (920299)
  • Ethnicity, Multiculturalism and Migrant Development and Welfare (940111)
  • Health Status (e.g. Indicators of Well-Being) (920408)
  • Mental Health Services (920209)
  • Cultural Understanding (959999)
  • Health Policy Evaluation (920208)
  • Communication Across Languages and Culture (950201)
  • Child Health (920501)
  • Social Class and Inequalities (940116)
  • Health Related to Specific Ethnic Groups (920503)
  • Health Education and Promotion (920205)
  • Community Service (excl. Work) (940199)
  • Rural Health (920506)
  • Disability and Functional Capacity (920403)
  • Diagnostic Methods (920203)

Publications

Total publications

12

Journal Article

(3 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2020Smith L, Hoang Ha, Reynish T, McLeod K, Hannah C, et al., 'Factors shaping the lived experience of resettlement for former refugees in regional Australia', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, (2) Article 501. ISSN 1661-7827 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17020501 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Hoang Ha; Reynish T; McLeod K; Hannah C; Auckland S

Tweet

2020de Deuge J, Hoang Ha, Kent K, Mond J, Bridgman H, et al., 'Impacts of community resilience on the implementation of a mental health promotion program in rural Australia', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, (6) Article 2031. ISSN 1661-7827 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17062031 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: de Deuge J; Hoang Ha; Kent K; Mond J; Bridgman H; Skromanis S; Auckland S

Tweet

2019Smith LA, Reynish TD, Hoang Ha, Mond JM, Hannah C, et al., 'The mental health of former refugees in regional Australia: a qualitative study', Australian Journal of Rural Health, 27, (5) pp. 459-462. ISSN 1440-1584 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/ajr.12583 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Reynish TD; Hoang Ha; Mond JM; Hannah C; McLeod K; Auckland SRJ

Tweet

Conference Publication

(6 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2019Auckland S, Smith L, Mond J, Purton Terry, Lees D, 'Local Evaluation of the Tasmanian Component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial (NSPT) - Preliminary learnings', Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium, 28 - 30 October, Adelaide, South Australia (2019) [Plenary Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Auckland S; Mond J; Purton Terry; Lees D

2019Smith L, Auckland S, 'National suicide prevential trial, Tasmania. Local evaluation: Synopsis of the last 12 months', Rural Health and Collaborative Research Symposium, 2 July, Launceston, Tasmania (2019) [Plenary Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Auckland S

Tweet

2019Smith L, Auckland S, Mond J, Purton Terry, Lees D, 'Local Evaluation of the Tasmanian Component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial (NSPT) - Preliminary learnings', Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium, 28 - 30 October, Adelaide, South Australia (2019) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Auckland S; Mond J; Purton Terry; Lees D

2019Smith L, Hoang Ha, Mond J, Reynish T, Hannah C, et al., 'Factors Affecting the Resettlement of Former Refugees in Regional Australia', Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia's biennial conference, 9-11th October, Hobart, Tasmania (2019) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Hoang Ha; Mond J; Reynish T; Hannah C; McLeod K; Auckland S

2018Smith LA, Mond JM, Reynish T, McLeod K, Auckland S, et al., 'The resettlement experiences of former refugees in Launceston: A qualitative study', Rural Health and Collaborative Research Symposium, 20 September, Launceston, Tasmania (2018) [Plenary Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Mond JM; Reynish T; McLeod K; Auckland S; Hoang H; Hannah C

Tweet

2018Smith LA, Mond JM, Reynish T, McLeod K, Auckland S, et al., 'Mental health of former refugees in Launceston: A qualitative study', 10th Annual Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium, 15-17 October, Hobart, Tasmania (2018) [Plenary Presentation]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Mond JM; Reynish T; McLeod K; Auckland S; Hoang H; Hannah C

Tweet

Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(1 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2018Auckland S, Bridgman H, Mond J, Kent K, Hoang H, et al., 'Health and resilient communities evaluation', Centre for Rural Health, University of Tasmania, Australia (2018) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Auckland S; Bridgman H; Mond J; Kent K; Hoang H; de Deuge J; Materia C; Glover J; Skromanis S; Purton T

Other Public Output

(2 outputs)
YearCitationAltmetrics
2011Da Silva K, Jefferson A, Pegrum K, Smith L, 'Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2009-10: Report on the National Minimum Data Set', Drug treatment series no. 14. Cat. no. HSE 114, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Canberra (2011) [Report Other]

[eCite] [Details]

2010Bennett V, Braddock D, Lee P, Smith LA, 'The coding workforce shortfall', Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia (2010) [Government or Industry Research]

[eCite] [Details]

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants

4

Total funding

$403,418

Projects

Tackling the Real Tassie Devil: Towards Best Practice for Youth Suicide Prevention in Regional and Rural Tasmania (2020 - 2023)$67,500
Description
This proposed research, intends to build on findings from the local evaluation of National Suicide Prevention Trial activities in Tasmania and complement and build on existing bodies of work in the area, including the current Youth Suicide Prevention Plan for Tasmania, 2016-2020 (YSPPT) (Department of Health and Human Services, 2016).The two research questions that will guide the proposed PhD are: 1.What is currently known about best practice suicide prevention (SP) strategies for youth in rural and regional Tasmania?2.What additional strategies are recommended to fill any gaps in research and practice for youth SP in Tasmania?The first stage of the proposed research will seek to answer research question one, to determine what is currently known about best practice SP strategies for youth in rural and regional Tasmania. In this stage, findings from the local evaluation of the NSPT in Tasmania will be synthesised with findings from those NSPT sites specifically targeting young people across Australia, along with current literature and state and national policies and programs for youth SP. The second research question, exploring what additional strategies are recommended to fill any gaps in research and practice for youth SP in Tasmania, will be answered in stages two and three of the PhD research. At the second stage, a mixed-methods research approach will utilise focus groups, interviews and surveys, to further explore key areas and gaps in research identified in stage one. Participants to be recruited will include community members with lived experience of youth suicide and key stakeholders who have experience working with at-risk youth and young people, including health and welfare service providers and those representing government departments concerned with policy development.The third stage of the proposed PhD will answer question two through the development of recommendations and resources regarding best practice SP methods specifically for youth in regional and rural Tasmania. These recommendations will be made available for use by Australian Rotary Health and the Rotary Club of Deloraine, local, state, and federal government agencies, non-government agencies, and other relevant service organisations working with youth SP in Tasmania and across Australia, designed to complement existing bodies of work in the area, including the Youth Suicide Prevention Plan for Tasmania.
Funding
Australian Rotary Health Research Fund ($67,500)
Scheme
Scholarship-PhD
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Mond JM; Smith LA; Hoang THH; Pirkis J
Period
2020 - 2023
Evaluation of the LGBTI training program (2019)$3,112
Description
The proposal relates to the evaluation of activities associated with the establishment and operation of the two newly established Community Response to Eliminating Suicide (CORES) networks (programs) namely Devonport and Launceston. The focus of the evaluation is on how the two Tasmanian programs and associated networks operate in the context of the Tasmanian component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial (NSPT) with a special focus on the LGBTI community. The evaluation provides a timely opportunity to assess the processrelated aspects of the program including the extent to which the establishment and delivery processes reflect best practice in enhancing community awareness, capacity and ownership. The evaluation also provides an opportunity to identify baseline indicators that can be used for on-going monitoring and evaluation of the program.
Funding
Kentish Regional Clinic Inc ($3,112)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Auckland SRJ; Mond JM; Lees DB; Smith LA; Purton T
Year
2019
Evaluation of the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Trial (2018 - 2020)$320,306
Description
This Request for Proposal (RFP) is in response to an invitation by Primary Health Tasmania for suitably qualified suppliers to submit a proposal & quote for the Evaluation of the Tasmanian Component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial.
Funding
Primary Health Tasmania ($320,306)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Mond JM; Auckland SRJ; Lees DB; Smith LA; Purton T; Skromanis S
Period
2018 - 2020
Evaluation of the CORES Devonport and Launceston Networks (2018 - 2020)$12,500
Description
The proposal relates to the evaluation of activities associated with the establishment and operation of the two newly established Community Response to Eliminating Suicide (CORES) networks (programs) namely Devonport and Launceston. The focus of the evaluation is on how the two Tasmanian programs and associated networks operate in the context of the Tasmanian component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial (NSPT). The evaluation provides a timely opportunity to assess the processrelated aspects of the program including the extent to which the establishment and delivery processes reflect best practice in enhancing community awareness, capacity and ownership. The evaluation also provides an opportunity to identify baseline indicators that can be used for on-going monitoring and evaluation of the program.
Funding
Kentish Regional Clinic Inc ($12,500)
Scheme
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Auckland SRJ; Mond JM; Lees DB; Smith LA; Purton T; Skromanis S
Period
2018 - 2020