Dr. Lisa Mundy
Invergowrie Post-doctoral Fellowship for Women at the Centre for Adolescent Health 2014-2015
Lisa Mundy is a Team Leader and Research Fellow at the Centre for Adolescent Health based within the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Lisa is a developmental psychologist with expertise in lifecourse epidemiology. She also has experience in developing strategies for participant and community engagement and translating research outcomes into service delivery improvements. Lisa’s primary research focus is on understanding the psychological, behavioural and biological underpinnings of mental health problems, with the ultimate goal of developing innovative approaches to prevention and intervention. Within this area of work, Lisa is particularly interested in the transition from childhood to adolescence as a period of risk and an opportunity for prevention.
Lisa is also interested in the links between health and education, and how these can be better aligned to support young people.
Lisa completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the UK before moving to Melbourne in 2011. Lisa is the Program Manager for the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study – or the CATS study. This is a unique longitudinal study based in metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria, which follows over 1200 young people and their families. The study began in 2012 when children were eight years of age and in 2020 CATS launched its ninth annual wave of data collection. CATS aims to improve our understanding of the many influences on the health, wellbeing and learning of children as they make the transition into adolescence. CATS was one of the first studies in the world to show that high levels of adrenal androgens (hormones that rise during the early phase of puberty) were associated with increased mental health symptoms and peer relationship and behavioural problems in boys. We have also shown that students with persistent emotional or behaviour problems fall a year behind their peers in numeracy in the four years between years 3 and 7.
In a busy role as project manager of a large study, the Invergowrie Post-Doctoral Fellowship allowed Lisa to dedicate a percentage of her working time to the preparation of academic publications, grant applications and for career development. These were vital activities, not only for Lisa’s own professional development, but also for the project as a whole. Since the fellowship, Lisa has worked with the Victorian Department of Education and Training and the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment to produce five reports, with a sixth currently underway. These reports have focused on the relationships between wellbeing, learning and school engagement. As part of this work, Lisa is interested in the transition to secondary school and how we can best support young people during this time. The move from primary school to secondary school has been identified as one of the most significant transitions in the lives of young people. Whilst a period of apprehension is normal, many children struggle with the social, emotional, organisational and academic demands of the transition to secondary school. In contrast with the investment seen in the early years, the middle years have not seen system-wide approaches within education that prepare children for the transition to secondary school. As a result, Lisa is involved in a number of projects aiming to improve the transition experience with the ultimate aim of improving the mental health, wellbeing and learning outcomes for young people.