Our People

Renata Kokanovic - Director

Renata Kokanovic, Professor of Sociology of Health and Illness, Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow, RMIT University and Adjunct Professor, Monash University, is Leader of the Health, Society and Medicine (HSM) Research Program at RMIT's Social & Global Studies Centre. The HSM Research Program is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research and knowledge-exchange initiative focused on exploring the intersections of social change, culture, medicine/psychiatry, disability, biotechnology, lived experiences of health and illness, informal care, and digital media and narrative in health communication. Our research uses innovative qualitative methods and contextualises subjective experiences within political and cultural processes. Renata is the lead researcher and author of four Healthtalk Australia online resources (Experiences of Depression and Recovery in Australia, Emotional Experiences of Early Parenthood, Mental Health and Supported Decision Making and Mental Health: Carers' Experiences), was co-investigator on the Lives of Substance project, and leads the qualitative research component of the Early Menopause: Experiences and Perspectives of Women and Health Professionals NHMRC Partnership Project.

Renata's web profile (Monash University)


Lorraine Smith - Co-Director

Lorraine2013-newLorraine Smith is a Registered Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Sydney University. Her research interests focus on patient perspectives on self-management of chronic conditions. She is co-investigator on the Living with Multiple Medicines and Experiences of Ageing in Australia modules. Lorraine is a Chief Investigator in the Centre of Excellence in Severe Asthma, and is leading the People’s Experiences of Severe Asthma project (website completion anticipated late 2018 / early 2019). She conducts qualitative and quantitative research projects into patient self-management, and has studied patient perspectives on asthma, allergic rhinitis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and chronic low back pain.

Lorraine's web profile


Alex Broom - Senior Academic Advisor

Photo of Alex BroomAlex Broom is Professor of Sociology at the School of Social Sciences, the University of New South Wales. He specialises in the sociology of health and illness, with a current focus on issues related to: cancer, palliative and end-of-life care; death, dying and bereavement; traditional, complementary and alternative medicines; the intersections of individual biographies and illness experiences; social inequalities and social justice; professional and inter-professional dynamics in health and medicine; and health in developing countries. Alex works regularly with a wide range of industry partners (e.g. hospitals, community organisations, professional organisations related to health and medicine) with a focus on improving people's experiences of illness and the delivery of healthcare. His program of research melds the conceptual richness of sociology with the value of applied, translational health research.

Alex's web profile


Helena Teede - Senior Clinical Advisor

Professor Helena Teede is an endocrinologist with a focus on women's metabolic and reproductive health and on obesity. She is the Director of the Monash Centre for Health Research Implementation (MCHRI), a collaborative partnership between Monash Health and Monash University. MCHRI’s vision is to create, synthesise, implement and translate clinical, health services and public health knowledge, underpinned by end user engagement, to deliver improved health care. Helena also holds the role of Executive Director of Monash Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre. Her research interests include women’s health across the lifespan, PCOS, pregnancy, healthy lifestyle, and menopause across diverse methodologies (qualitative, quantitative, large scale epidemiological, clinical, health services, and public health research). Helena has a strong commitment to public and patient involvement in research and innovation in healthcare and engages broadly across different sectors to inspire change. She is lead investigator of the Early Menopause: Experiences and Perspectives of Women and Health Professionals NHMRC partnership project, which will underpin production of a Healthtalk Australia online resource.

Helena's web profile

Kate Johnston-Ataata - Coordinator

headshot Dr Kate Johnston-Ataata is a Research Fellow in the Health, Society and Medicine Research Program at the Social & Global Studies Centre, RMIT University. Kate brings her experience as a researcher and project coordinator on four Healthtalk Australia projects (Experiences of Depression and Recovery in Australia, Emotional Experiences of Early Parenthood, Mental Health and Supported Decision Making and Mental Health: Carers' Experiences) to her role as Healthtalk Australia Coordinator. Kate is also working on the Early Menopause: Experiences and Perspectives of Women and Health Professionals. She is developing a book manuscript based on her PhD thesis on experiences of partnering and becoming parents in intercultural relationships. Her research interests include the social, cultural and emotional aspects of life-course transitions in late modernity, reproductive and women's health experiences, and the links between individual health and illness experience and social relationships.