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  • Social work department research vision

    To improve psychosocial health and well being outcomes for infants, children, adolescents and their families through practice based research and evaluation projects in paediatric hospital social work practice.


    The aim of the RCH Social Work Department research program is to promote inquiry and reflective practice and to provide the evidence base for social work practice to ensure better outcomes for patients and their families. 


    • To develop an evidence base of the psychological and social experience of hospital patients and families
    • To contribute to the literature on health and welfare issues effecting infants, children, young people and their family
    • To develop and evaluate innovative and effective social work clinical practice interventions to assist patients and their families.
    • Ensuring clinical care in hospital supports infants', children's and adolescents' healthy emotional and social development and relationships.

    The social work department may be engaged in research at the RCH in the following ways:

    • Be asked to provide a clinical service or collect data as part of a colleagues project
    • May be asked to participate as a co investigator on a colleagues project
    • Wish to undertake a project to fulfil requirements of a university higher degree
    • Wish to undertake a research project to answer a clinical /service delivery question that has arisen out of practice.
    • Be part of multidisciplinary research or evaluation project

    Associate professor paediatric social work

    In 2007 the academic position of Associate Professor of Paediatric Social Work (Infant and Family) was established at the hospital and Dr Brigid Jordan was appointed to the position. This position is supported by a grant from Australian Communities Foundation. The focus of the position is to resource and facilitate clinical social workers to undertake practice based research, and the translation of infant mental health knowledge and expertise into clinical practice in paediatric health and welfare settings.

    This academic appointment is in the Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, furthering the links between the social work department and paediatrics and contributing to a multidisciplinary Department of Paediatrics. A Prof Jordan is also Group Leader of the multidisciplinary  Social and Mental Health Aspects of Serious Illness Research Group within the Critical Care and Neurosciences Theme at the  Murdoch Childrens Research Institute 

    Current projects

    • Children and parents experiencing cumulative stress and trauma: a feasibility and acceptability study of a model of enhanced intervention in an acute paediatric health setting
      Nicole Tokatlian, Brigid Jordan*, Cathy Humphreys, Anne Smith, Nicola Watt, Judith Sloan, Lionel Lubitz, Sarah Connolly
    • Psychosocial needs assessment of Prader Willi primary aged children and their families
      Zoe Bourdon, Nicola Watt*
    • The psychosocial determinants of health of infants and young children with CF
      Brigid Jordan*, Jane Sheehan, Vicki Anderson, John Massie, Tonia Douglas, Lyn Priddis, Linda Shields
    • Emotional health and wellbeing of mothers and infants presenting to the Emergency Department in a tertiary hospital
    • Amanda Stock, Lynda Chin, Franz Babl, Catherine Bevan, Susan Donath, Brigid Jordan*
    • The emotional and social burden of caring for a young child with complex health needs
      Bronwyn Wigg, Brigid Jordan*, Peter Anderson, Linda Johnston, Rod Hunt, Lou Harms, Cheryl Evans
    • Family intervention following paediatric traumatic brain injury
      Lyndal Hickey*, Jane Galvin, Vicki Anderson, Brigid Jordan*
    • Experimental evaluation of EYEP: Is the Early Years Education Program for vulnerable children a net benefit to society?  Randomised controlled trial of Early Years Education and Care intervention
      Brigid Jordan*, Jeff Borland, Yi Ping Tseng, Anne Kennedy, Nichola Coombs, Janet Williams-Smith, Kate Cotter, Alice Hill
    • Developing an acute psychosocial care model for families of seriously ill children in a paediatric emergency setting
      Alys Manguy*
    • A study of how paediatric social workers at the RCH sustain their bereavement practice
      Robyn Clark*

    * Key Social Work Department contact for project

    Completed projects (2000 +)

    • Five challenges to ethical communication for interprofessional paediatric practice: A social work perspective
      Clare Delany, Angela Richards, Helen Stewart, Lauren Kosta
    • An exploratory study of the psychosocial services offered to children and their families admitted to an acute paediatric hospital following a transport accident
      Alys Manguy*, Lynette Joubert
    • From colonization to conciliation
      Judith Sloan*, Louise Harms, Angela Clarke, Ian Anderson, John Whyte, Gary Anderson, Suzanne Cross, Nicola Watt, Shawana Andrews
    • The impact of cardiac surgery on the infant and their family
      Brigid Jordan*, Candice Franich Ray, Vicki Anderson, Elisabeth Northam, Andrew Cochrane, Samuel Menahem
    • Evaluation of Prader Willi parent-infant education group
      Nicola Watt*, Elizabeth Loughlin
    • Fathers' experience of neonatal intensive care
      Natalie Beattie, Brigid Jordan*, Lynette Joubert
    • An exploration of bereaved parents' experience of autopsy
      Jane Sullivan
    • The impact of caring for a child with an acquired brain injury on care-giving members of a family
      Bridie Keating, Lyndal Hickey*, Meisha Clark, Louise Harms
    • A description of the presentation and outcome of infants who present to RCH Emergency Department with crying and/or feeding problems
      Brigid Jordan*, Ines Said, Penny Moody, Ed Oakley
    • The experience of culturally and linguistically diverse families with a child receiving treatment from the Children's Cancer Centre, Royal Children's Hospital
      Helen Stewart*, Nicole Tokatlian, Nadia Albert, Lynette Joubert, Heidi Jurisch, Kathryn Le Maistre, Najat Maroki, Julie Mogan, Jeni Moodie, Silvio Proy, Lisa Orme, Liz Wynne
    • Brain tumour: Child and family impact study
      Alun Jackson, Maree O'Toole, Jane Miller, Kate Enderby, Menka Marks, S. Gregory, David Ashley, Helen Stewart*, Nicole Tokatlian
    • An exploration of the emotional and psychosocial experience of chronic gastro intestinal disease for infants in the first four years of life and their families
      Nikhil Pooviah, Campbell Paul, Brigid Jordan*, Winita Hardikar, Julie Bines, Anthony Catto-Smith
    • The treatment of persistent irritability in infants: A randomised controlled trial comparing anti reflux medication with an infant mental health intervention
      Brigid Jordan*, Michelle Meehan, Ralf Heine, Lionel Lubitz, Anthony Catto-Smith
    • Audit of record of Semi-Structured Clinical Social Work Interview with parents of an infant with indeterminate sex
      Elizabeth Loughlin, Judith Sloan*
    • Life after colic: The longer term outcome of infants admitted to hospital with persistent irritability
      Mary Brown, Brigid Jordan*, Ralf Heine
    • Infant sleep and settling strategies: addressing controversies and evaluating evidence to inform a universal prevention trial
      Jane Fisher, Heather Rowe, Harriet Hiscock, Jordana Bayer, Anne Colahan, Brigid Jordan*, Vivienne Amery
    • Understanding Babies: Infants' social and emotional well-being when mothers have a mental health diagnosis
      Lisa Bolger, Brigid Jordan*
    • Infant social and emotional health: A study in an Early Parenting Centre.
      Patricia Mundy Withers, Brigid Jordan*

    * Key Social Work Department contact for project

    Completed projects (Before 2000)

    • A descriptive analysis of psychosocial factors associated with frequently readmitted paediatric patients diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
      D Nilsson
    • Parents experience of bereavement group program
      M O'Toole, J Sullivan
    • Craniopharyngioma Child and Family Impact Study
      A Jackson, H Goodman, B Johnson, M Tsantefski
    • Social Work Discharge Planning in Complex Paediatric Cases
      A Jackson, B Johnson, M O'Toole
    • Complex Case Management/Discharge Planning (Phase 1)
      A Jackson, J Badger, M O'Toole
    • Hospital Program - Early Intervention in Child Protection matters
      H Goodman, J Miller
    • The Experience in Dance Movement of Three Individual Women with Turner Syndrome
      E Loughlin
    • A Descriptive Analysis of Psychosocial Factors Associated with Frequently Readmitted Paediatric Patients Diagnosed with Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
      D Nilsson

    Grants and awards


    2012 - 2017

    • Brigid Jordan*
      Australian Communities Foundation
      Grant to continue to support position of Principal Fellow Paediatric Social Work (Infant and Family)


    • Brigid Jordan*
      Clinical Research Support Grant
      Critical Care and Neurosciences Theme, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute


    • Lyndal Hickey*
      Anita Morawetz Scholarship
      Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne

    2009 - 2012

    • Cathy Humphreys, Brigid Jordan*, Anne Smith, Nicola Watt, Judith Sloan
      Cumulative Harm:  Reducing child abuse through improved decision-making
      ARC Linkage Grant
      $25,627 for three years


    • Lyndal Hickey*
      Clinical Research Support Grant
      Critical Care and Neurosciences Theme, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

    2008 - 2011

    • Linda Johnston, Peter Anderson, Rod Hunt, Kaye Spence, Brigid Jordan*, Nadia Badawi
      The emotional and social burden of caring for a young child with complex health needs
      ARC Linkage Grant
      $140,290 over four years

    2008 - 2009

    • Brigid Jordan*
      Murdoch Childrens Research Institute funding $20,000

    2007 - 2012

    • Brigid Jordan*
      Melbourne Community Foundation
      Grant to establish position of Principal Fellow Paediatric Social Work (Infant and Family)



    • Brigid Jordan*
      World Association for Infant Mental Health Affiliate Award in Japan (August 2008).
      The award was in recognition of her achievements in advancing the field of infant mental health throughout Australia.
    • Elizabeth Loughlin
      Annual Hanny Exiner Memorial Foundation Achievement Award (November 2008).
      The award was in recognition of her long-term achievements and contributions to the field of dance-movement therapy in Australia.  In particular, her role in the development and recognition of the profession both within Australia and overseas.

    * Key Social Work Department contact for the project