Children and Young People’s Health

Research Overview

Our program aims to advance the health and wellbeing of children and young people through an accessible and responsive primary care workforce and health system and through effective interventions. Our multidisciplinary team works across the areas of health risk taking behaviour, including a specific focus on sexual and reproductive health, mental health, physical wellbeing, preventive health and early intervention. Using mixed methods, the focus has been on: re-orientating primary care toward a youth friendly, preventive care model; building systems that better respond to vulnerable children; exploring perspectives of young women and young men on their sexual and reproductive health and healthy relationships; and using technology to address mental health and wellbeing, and access to care. The programs objectives are to:

  • Develop and test interventions that
    • improve the access of children, young people and their families to quality primary care, and self-directed care where appropriate
    • enable patient centred and integrated care across primary, secondary and tertiary care systems and also that can integrate health with education and welfare needs
    • enable detection of health risks and appropriate therapeutic responses
  • Explore experiences of children, young people and families with health risks and what they require from a responsive health care system
  • Work collaboratively with education, welfare sectors, government and non-government organisations including professional and community groups, children, young people and families
  • Promote knowledge exchange through teaching, and providing research evidence to inform policy and practice.


Professor Lena Sanci - Head of Department
Professor Meredith Temple-Smith - Director of Research Training
Dr Jade Bilardi - Honorary Research Fellow
Dr Claire Mahoney - Lecturer, Primary Care
Dr Ann-Maree Duncan - Research Administrative Support Officer
Dr Susan Webster - Honorary Research Fellow
Dr Ian Williams - Research Fellow, Adolescent Health
Dr Marijana Lijovic -  Research Fellow, Clinical Trials
Dr Bianca Forrester - Lecturer, Doctors in Secondary Schools Clinical Program Coordinator


Dr Jennifer Conway - Masters student
Robert Henning - PhD Candidate
Dr Deepthi Iyer - PhD Candidate
Madeline Lim - PhD Candidate
Amita Tuteja - PhD Candidate


  • Reachout Australia
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
  • Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital
  • Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children’s Hospital
  • School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne
  • Australian Paediatric Research Network
  • Department of General Practice, University of Sydney
  • Loddon Mallee Health, Department of Human Services, Victoria
  • School of Nursing, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
  • The Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society
  • Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service
  • Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
  • ISIS Primary Care Hoppers Crossing
  • University of Adelaide
  • Centre of Excellence in Intervention and Prevention Science
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • University of Geneva
  • The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network
  • Victorian Government Department of Education and Training
  • Victorian Government Department of Health & Human Services


Victorian Government Department of Education and Training
Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre

Research Publications

Sanci L, Chondros P, Sawyer S., Pirkis J, Ozer E, Hegarty K, Yang F, Grabsch B, Shiell A, Cahill H, Ambresin AE, Patterson E, Patton G. Responding to Young People's Health Risks in Primary Care: A Cluster Randomised Trial of Training Clinicians in Screening and Motivational Interviewing. PLOS One 2015;10(9): e0137581

Tylee A, Haller DM, Graham T, Churchill R, Sanci LA. Youth-friendly primary-care services: how are we doing and what more needs to be done? Lancet 2007; 369(9572): 1565-1573.

Kauer SD, Mangan C, Sanci L. Do online mental health services improve help-seeking for young people? A systematic review. J Med Internet Res 2014;16(3):e66

Temple-Smith M, Moore S, Rosenthal D. Sexuality in Adolescence: the Digital Generation Psychology Press, Taylor and Francis Group, 2016.

Litras A, Latreille S, Temple-Smith M. Dr Google, porn and friend-of-a-friend: Where are young men really getting their sexual health information? Sexual Health 2015 12(6) 488-494

Walker S, Sanci L, Temple-Smith M. Sexting: young women’s and men’s views on its nature and origins. Journal of Adolescent Health 2013 52(6):697-701.

Webster, S. (2015) Children and young people in out-of-home care: Canaries in the coal mine of healthcare commissioning Australian Journal of Primary Health 2015,

Webster, S.M., Temple-Smith, M.J. Smith. Children and young people in out-of-home care- improving access to primary care. Australian Family Physician 2012; 41(10): 819-822

Yeung A, Temple-Smith M, Fairley C, Vaisey A, Guy R, Law M, Low N, Bingham A, Gunn J, Kaldor J, Donovan B, Hocking J. Chlamydia prevalence in young attenders of rural and regional primary care services in Australia: a cross-sectional survey. The Medical Journal of Australia 2014, 200(3):170-5.

Vimpani G, Webster S, Temple-Smith M.  Improving the health of Australian children and young people entering out-of-home care: Assessing health status is only the beginning. Medical Journal of Australia 2012, 196 (2): 91-9.