Meet the Research team
The Centre for Youth AOD Research and Practice team is made up of dedicated and passionate people who believe in creating a better future for all young people.
Dr Karen Hallam
Acting Director Centre for Youth AOD Research and Practice
PhD(Melb), MPsych (Clin), BBSC(Hons.), MAPS
Dr Karen Hallam is the Inaugural Director of The Centre for Youth AOD Research and Practice at the Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) in Melbourne. Karen is leading the Centre for Youth AOD to discover and advance research related to vulnerable youth populations to influence government and inform the community in this complex area. The Centre also manages professional training and development across the youth AOD sector and related service.
Karen completed her PhD in the Psychiatry Department at The University of Melbourne and has followed with a Clinical Psychology Masters. Since then, Karen has worked as a Senior Lecturer in University clinical psychology programs, and Senior Research Fellow in public health research with HDR supervisor and AHPRA supervisor status.
Notably, Karen has worked as a clinical psychologist in hospital, public and private settings and consults in the area of evaluation and service improvement in the NFP sector. Karen's research and clinical track record focuses on youth, wellbeing and early intervention approaches.
The Centre Youth AOD Research and Practice
Ora Davidson has been working in the Youth Drug and Alcohol Sector for eight years and prior to that as a general Youth Worker. Ora worked with Odyssey House Victoria offering drug and alcohol support, counselling and referral to young people attending Community Schools throughout the state, while supporting their families and the school communities.
A key role while working in the community schools was developing and facilitating evidence based drug and alcohol, mental health and party safe education programs with a harm reduction message.
She developed and implemented programs for disadvantaged young people on the Horace Petty commission flats in Prahran, she worked for local government as a youth program developer and counsellor, as well as working for smaller community based organisations doing generalised youth work.
Ora briefly worked as an Adult Intake Assessor which has led her to believe early intervention programs and creating positive connection for young people using substances is incredibly important to shifting their motivation for using substance. Ora has been working with YSAS for 3 years as part of the Youth Drug and Alcohol Advice (YoDAA) team, offering support to worried parents, workers and schools needing secondary consult and young people themselves.
Oras passion for research was sparked when she worked alongside the YSAS Research team and the Youth AOD sector to gather data for The 2016 Youth Needs Census. Working on The Youth Needs Census allowed Ora an insight into the importance of research and how valuable understanding this specific cohort of young people is. By understanding the young people we work with Ora believes we are able to create better programs and opportunities, offer appropriate counselling therapies and advocate for them when needed.
Adjunct Research Fellow
Madeline has a special interest in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), with her PhD into the psychosocial determinants of the acts and functions of nonsuicidal self-injury convened in 2018.
At Nillumbik Community Health Service, she was the Project Officer on the Managing Deliberate Self Harm Project, and then co-developed and co-facilitated the From Harm To Calm therapeutic group. Madeline has also worked as a youth, school, and trauma counsellor.
Madeline has over a decade of experience presenting on managing NSSI in young people, ranging from brief presentations to full day workshops. Throughout her PhD, she was engaged as a sessional lecturer and tutor at Victoria University.
She is currently dividing her time working as a research officer at Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) in Melbourne; completing her Masters in Clinical Psychology; and working in a consultative capacity with schools and organisations to provide professional development, therapeutic support and policy development around NSSI.
The Centre for Youth AOD Research and Practice have announced exciting partnerships for the next 3 years, meet our partners.