School of Population Health

Announcement of New Research Program at SPHCM: Justice Health Research Program (JHRP)

Image Tony Butler

The School of Public Health and Community Medicine is set to establish a new program of research in justice health, led by Professor Tony Butler, who will move to the School from the Kirby Institute.
Professor Butler has a distinguished track record in offender health, with interests in mental illness, the role of traumatic brain injury in offending behaviour, blood-borne viral infections, smoking cessation, health surveillance, the development of health indicators for prisoners, sexual health, and violence (including domestic violence). With a PhD in epidemiology of prisoner health, Professor Butler has conducted numerous studies examining the health of adult and juvenile offenders, authoring several peer-reviewed journal articles on the health of offenders. He leads the NHMRC-funded Australian Centre of Research Excellence in Offender Health which supports studies on mental health and infectious diseases in a range of offender populations.
Professor Butler will lead the move of Justice Health Research Program (JHRP) from Kirby Institute to SPHCM, bringing with him a team of academics currently working on range of projects involving adult and juvenile prisoners, and community-based offenders. These groups endure some of the worst health outcomes in society and this has implications for the health of the wider community. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations are significantly over represented in the criminal justice system and form an important part of JHRP’s work.

The Justice Health Research Program (JHRP) has a keen interest in the ethics of offender health research and examining the public’s views of offenders. JHRP conducts research on the development of interventions, currently working on a randomised control trial of pharmacotherapy for impulsive-violent offenders.

The establishment of the research program at SPHCM will consolidate and strengthen the School’s existing research and teaching in offender health, equity and mental health. Having developed two highly successful electives; Public Health and Corrections (CRIM3022), and Inside the Criminal Mind (SOMS1501), Professor Butler brings with him the potential to expand some of the courses the School can offer to public health students.  
Team members joining Professor Butler at the School include Dr Paul Simpson, Dr Jane Hwang, Dr Armita Adily, Dr George Karystianis and Dr Natasha Ginnivan. The ReINVEST team including Lee Knight, Bianca Ton, Mathew Gullotta, Daniel King, Danielle Makarious, Hannah Wallace, Jennifer Johanson, Dr Joanne Shannon, Noella Ennis, Bronwyne Bevan and Samantha Mccameron will transition too, as will several PhD students.

The School of Public Health and Community Medicine is a natural fit for Professor Butler who has worked with the School on different research projects for many years. He and his team will move to the School during August, bringing with them exciting prospects of new research and areas of study for our current faculty members and students.

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School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM)