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an image of Sharna Bartley
SRW Pat Turner Scholarship Graduated 2022

Sharna Bartley

Services Australia

Australian National University

Master of Public Policy

From Services Australia, Sharna is a proud Wuluwarra and Pitta Pitta woman, born and raised in Mount Isa Queensland. Sharna began her career in the public service as an APS2 and has since secured a wealth of knowledge through various jobs in service delivery; fraud and compliance; business improvement; human resources; parliamentary services, and; agency transformation.

Throughout her career Sharna has observed significant gaps between the intent of policy, to the delivery on the ground. Sharna aims to utilise the Master of Public Policy to empower her with the knowledge to close the divide between policy intent and program delivery.

Her goal is to support the public service to establish a best practice for seeking input from end users and communities in the development and implementation of policy and programs.


Helen Benassi
SRW Scholarship Graduated 2021

Dr

Helen Benassi

Department of Health and Aged Care

Australian National University

PhD title: Mental health help-seeking beliefs and behaviours in the Australian Defence Force: Intersections with e-mental health and self-management

Helen is currently Director, National Data and Research at the Department of Health and Aged Care. Her responsibilities include the oversight of national mental health surveys and data collections, including the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing which, in 2023, provided the first national mental health prevalence rates available in over 15 years. Previously, Helen worked for the Department of Defence in mental health and psychology policy and research. Helen was responsible for the coordination of strategic mental health research within Defence and managed the delivery of a number of influential research projects examining mental health prevalence, service needs and resilience in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and veteran community.

Helen’s PhD research examined stigma and barriers to mental health care in the ADF, as well as the role e-mental health plays in treatment-seeking behaviour, early intervention, and self-management in a workplace context. Helen was co-author on a number of 2018 and 2019 Department of Veterans’ Affairs reports examining mental health in current and former ADF members and pathways to mental health care, including technology use. Her research has been presented both within Australia and internationally in general and military community events, and she has contributed her knowledge in think tanks and international forums.

Supervisor:
Associate Professor Phil Batterham
  • Benassi H and Steele N (2011) ‘Post-Operational Mental Health Surveillance: Middle East Area of Operations 2010’. Technical Brief 13-11. Department of Defence, Canberra.
  • Benassi H (2012) ‘Post-Operational Mental Health: Bi-Annual Surveillance Report’. Technical Brief 04-12. Department of Defence, Canberra.
  • Steele N, Benassi H, Chesney C, Nicholson C, Fogarty G (2014) ‘Evaluating the Merits of Using Brief Measures of PTSD or General Mental Health Measures in Two-Stage PTSD Screening’. Military Medicine, 179(12):1497-1502.
  • Van Hooff M, McFarlane A, Davies C, Searle A, Fairweather-Schmidt A, Verhagen A, Benassi H, Hodson S (2014) ‘The Australian Defence Force Mental Health Prevalence and Wellbeing Study: design and methods’. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 5(1),  DOI: 10.3402/ejpt.v5.23950.
  • Searle A, Van Hooff M, McFarlane A, Davies C, Fairweather-Schmidt A, Hodson S, Benassi H and Steele N (2015) ‘The validity of military screening for mental health problems: Diagnostic accuracy of the PCL, K10 and AUDIT scales in an entire military population’. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 24(1):32-45.
  • Searle A, Van Hooff M, McFarlane A, Davies C, Tran T, Hodson S, Benassi H, Steele N (2017) ‘Screening for Depression and Psychological Distress in a Currently Serving Military Population: The Diagnostic Accuracy of the K10 and the PHQ9’. Assessment, 26(8):1411-1426. DOI: 10.1177/1073191117745124.
  • Forbes D, Van Hooff M, Lawrence-Wood E, Sadler N, Hodson S, Benassi H, Hansen C, Avery J, Varker T, O’Donnell M, Phelps A, Frederickson J, Sharp M, Searle A, McFarlane A (2018) Pathways to Care, Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study, Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra.
  • Van Hooff M, Lawrence-Wood E, Hodson S, Sadler N, Benassi H, Hansen C, Grace B, Avery J, Searle A, Iannos M, Abraham M, Baur J, McFarlane A (2018) Mental Health Prevalence, Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study, Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra.
  • Kelsall H, Sim M, Van Hooff M, Lawrence-Wood E, Benassi H, Sadler N, Hodson S, Hansen C, Avery J, Searle A, Ighani H, Iannos M, Abraham M, Baur J, Saccone E and McFarlane A (2018) Physical Health Status Report, Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study. Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra.
  • Burns J, Van Hooff M, Lawrence-Wood E, Benassi H, Sadler N, Hodson S, Hansen C, Avery J, Searle A, Iannos M, Abraham M, Baur J and McFarlane A (2019) Technology Use and Wellbeing, Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study. Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra.
  • Bryant R, Lawrence-Wood E, Baur J, McFarlane A, Hodson S, Sadler N, Benassi H, Howell S, Abraham M, Iannos M, Hansen C, Searle and Van Hooff M (2019) Mental Health Changes Over Time: a Longitudinal Perspective: Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study. Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra.
  • Lawrence-Wood E, McFarlane A, Lawrence A, Sadler N, Hodson S, Benassi H, Bryant R, Korgaonkar M, Rosenfeld J, Sim M, Kelsall H, Abraham M, Baur J, Howell S, Hansen C, Iannos M, Searle A and Van Hooff M (2019) Impact of Combat Report, Impact of Combat Study. Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra.
  • Hansen C, McFarlane A, Iannos M, Sadler N, Benassi H, Lawrence-Wood E, Hodson S, Searly A and Van Hooff M (2020) ‘Psychosocial factors associated with psychological distress and functional difficulties in recently transitioned and current serving regular Australian Defence Force members’. Psychiatry Research, 286, DOI 10.1016/j.psyhres.2020.112860.
  • Gee B L, Han J, Benassi H and Batterham P J (2020) ‘Suicidal thoughts, suicidal behaviours and self-harm in daily life: A systematic review of ecological momentary assessment studies’. Digit Health, 6, DOI: 10.1177/2055207620963958.
  • Benassi H (2021) Mental health help-seeking beliefs and behaviours in the Australian Defence Force: Intersections with e-mental health and self-management [PhD thesis], The Australian National University, Canberra.
  • Fikretoglu D, Sharp M, Adler A, Bélanger S, Benassi H, Bennett C, Bryant R Busuttil W, Cramm H, Fear N, Greenberg N, Heber A, Hosseiny F, Hoge C, Jetly R, McFarlane A, Morganstein J, Murphy D, O’Donnell M, Phelps A, Richardson D, Sadler N, Schnurr P, Smith P, Ursano R, Van Hooff M, Wessely S, Forbes D and Pedlar D (2022) ‘Pathways to mental health care in active military populations across the Five-Eyes nations: An integrated perspective’. Clinical Psychology Review, 91, DOI:10.1016/j.cpr.2021.102100.
  • Dell L, Casetta C, Benassi H, Cowlishaw S, Agathos J, O’Donnell M, Crane M, Lewis V, Pacella B, Terhaag S, Morton, D, McFarlane A, Bryant R, and Forbes D (2022) Mental health across the early years in the military. Psychological Medicine: 1–9.
  • Metcalf O, Lawrence-Wood E, Baur J, Van Hooff M, Forbes D, O’Donnell M, Sadler N, Hodson S, Benassi H, Varker T, Battersby M, McFarlane, A and Cowlishaw S (2022) ‘Prevalence of gambling problems, help-seeking, and relationships with trauma in veterans’. PLoS ONE, 17(5): e0268346, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0268346.
  • Varker T, Cowlishaw S, Baur J, McFarlane A, Lawrence-Wood E, Metcalf O, Van Hooff M, Sadler N, O’Donnell M L, Hodson S, Benassi H and Forbes D (2022) ‘Problem anger in veterans and military personnel: Prevalence, predictors, and associated harms of suicide and violence’. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 151:57-64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2022.04.004.

Peter J Bligh
SRW Pat Turner Scholarship Graduated 2020

Peter J Bligh

Aboriginal Hostels Limited

Australian National University

Graduate Diploma of Economics

Peter joined the APS in 2012. He has provided advice on program design, program management, strategic policy and regulatory administration for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. While doing this, Peter has embedded strategies to enhance Indigenous outcomes across the breadth of his work.

Peter is using his postgraduate study to continue to enhance Indigenous outcomes by applying economics to policy formulation and evaluation. He is also hoping to develop embedded understanding of issues involved in the coordination of economic policies, and better analyse the economic effects of policy changes and communicate them to a public, business or government audience.


Melanie Broder
SRW Scholarship Graduated 2022

Dr

Melanie Broder

Accenture ANZ (formerly Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

The Australian National University

PhD title: Rhetoric over reality? Assessing the success of deterrence in cyberspace: Israeli and US cybersecurity approaches between 2008-2018

Melanie has almost two decades of experience across the Australian Federal Government, working in the Departments of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Defence, Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Foreign Affairs and Trade. Melanie has worked across policy, analysis, and capability areas, including large scale legislative reform and major policy shifts. Melanie’s defence and national security experience contributed to her passion for protecting Australia’s strategic interests from non-traditional security threats. After completing her PhD, Melanie worked as the cyber adviser for the Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security.

Melanie’s doctoral research used a qualitative approach to examine the practical applications of the principles of deterrence on cyber security from 2008-2018. Her study investigated the policies and relative success of the United States of America and the State of Israel. Melanie's work identified principles that may be appropriate for the Australian strategic context and contributed to a global understanding of the efficacy of cyber deterrence policies for governments.

Melanie is currently working for Accenture (Australia and New Zealand) as the Client Lead for Security across the Health and Public Service sector, delivering secure tech transformation for the Australian Federal Government.

Supervisor:
Emeritus Professor Roger Bradbury
 
The Sir Roland Wilson Foundation is a partnership between The Australian National University, Charles Darwin University and the Australian Public Service.