Dr Julia Dray is a Lived Experience Research Fellow with the ALIVE National Centre for Mental Health Research Translation, transforming mental health and well-being through primary care and community action. Prior to this role, Julia was a postdoctoral researcher with the Physical Health in Mental Illness (PHiMI) team under the mentorship of Prof Jenny Bowman at the University of Newcastle, Australia. The primary interest of the PHiMI team is to reduce inequity in physical health for people with a mental health condition through a variety of research projects across local and national community mental health organisations, telephone support services and other mental health service settings. Another of Julia’s previous roles was as a post-doctoral researcher on an NHMRC partnership trial evaluating a practice change initiative to increase provision of recommended care for alcohol consumption in pregnancy. Julia’s major role on the trial was largely focused on developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating a multistrategy training programs for doctors, midwifery staff and other professions providing antenatal care to women.
Julia completed her PhD, with the University of Newcastle (2018). Her postgraduate work was focused on resilience and mental health problems in children and adolescents. Julia is passionate about enabling people to recognise their strengths and available wider community protective factors; to develop and maintain positive mental health, development, and life trajectories; and breaking disadvantage. She has research and teaching experience in resilience, mental health, suicide prevention, health psychology, health promotion, prevention, and implementation science including the development, implementation, and evaluation of practice change initiatives and complex health interventions. She envisions her current and future role as an early career researcher in Australia developing into effective collaboration with government, nongovernment and community partners; transparent dissemination and quality translation of evidence-based research findings; advocacy for youth involvement and lived-experience recognition in research and service design; a positive influence on related policy; and innovative, strength-based approaches.
Career highlights include award of Doctor of Psychology (2018); attendance at the IACAPAP World Congress, Calgary Canada as one of 20 (out of 150 applicants) child and adolescent mental health early career researchers internationally to be awarded a spot in the Donald J Cohen Fellow Program at the Congress (2016); oral presentations of PhD work at the 13th International Congress for Behavioural Medicine, Groningen, The Netherlands (ICBM, 2014) and the 4th International Association for Mental Health Conference, Dublin, Ireland (2017); and University of Newcastle 3-Minute Thesis Finalist (2016).