Solving complex challenges arising from disability

The Hopkins Centre: Research for Rehabilitation and Resilience is focused on improving the lives of people affected by trauma and chronic disabling conditions.

Disability can come from many sources—including a severe injury, the diagnosis of a developmental condition, mental and physical illness, violence or discrimination—and its impact strikes not only individuals, but also their loved ones and support networks. It is also costly for society, particularly if services are not based on the best evidence.

A joint initiative between Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, and the Division of Rehabilitation, Metro South Hospital and Health Service, The Hopkins Centre is committed to solving complex challenges arising from disability and improving the rehabilitation process to bring about better outcomes.

Bringing together rehabilitation clinicians, expert academic researchers, community practitioners, policy-makers and consumers, The Hopkins Centre is leading the translation of research into policy and clinical practice in this field.

Our values

Collegiality and collaboration underpins our research, allowing us to capture the collective power of interdisciplinary teamwork needed to find better solutions and propose bold ideas for the future. Our research upholds the dignity of the people with disability through respectful language and methods, and recognition of experiential knowledge. Specifically, our research:

  • facilitates choice
  • promotes positive images
  • expands opportunities
  • enhances potential
  • engages people and their families.

Our mission

  • To find better solutions to complex systemic challenges through interdisciplinary collaborative and responsive research that is embedded in practice and informed by people with disability.
  • To promote respect for the fundamental importance of service users in the design of rehabilitation and disability services and research.
  • To build essential partnerships between researchers and practitioners and policy-makers to enhance the relevance of research and build capacity for the timely application of evidence.

Focus areas

  • Optimising services, systems and transitions.
  • Developing and translating therapeutic practices and technologies.
  • Enhancing service user experiences and promoting engagement.
  • Building workforce and frontline capacity.
  • Promoting positive environments.

Professor Elizabeth Kendall

Prof. Elizabeth Kendall and the National Injury Insurance Scheme Queensland

To ensure people who sustain serious personal injuries in a motor vehicle accident receive necessary and reasonable treatment, care and support throughout their life, regardless of fault, the Queensland Government has implemented the National Injury Insurance Scheme Queensland.

The Scheme has significant benefits to the community through improved health outcomes, and improved social and economic participation by the injured person, their family and carers. It is focused on getting people back into the community and helping them achieve their personal goals.

Key research themes

Rehabilitation Innovation and Service Evaluation (RISE) offers research and evaluation services, tailored to the needs of industry, in injury prevention, rehabilitation and staff wellbeing.

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Disability could happen to any one of us at any time. It does not discriminate. We need a compassionate system that responds to the needs of those devastated by trauma in a timely way—one that sets people on a positive pathway from the beginning.

Professor Elizabeth Kendall


Professor Elizabeth Kendall

Elizabeth completed her PhD in 1997 on the topic of adjustment following traumatic  injury, for which she won the Dean’s Commendation for Outstanding PhD Thesis in 1998 (UQ).


    Associate Professor David Trembath

    Associate Professor Trembath is a speech pathologist, Senior Lecturer, and NHMRC Early Career Fellow (ECF) at the forefront of research efforts addressing communication impairment in minimally verbal children with autism and other developmental disabilities.


    Professor Michele Foster

    Michele’s research focuses on: (1) health services and policy research with an emphasis on financing, governance and administration of services and programs for people with complex health needs and disability; (2) street-level implementation of policy initiatives and reforms; and (3) user experiences of health, rehabilitation and disability service systems.

    Members and individual expertise

    Professor Belinda Beck

    Belinda is an exercise scientist with a particular research focus on exercise intervention for the prevention of osteoporotic fracture, and translation into ‘real world’ clinical practice at The Bone Clinic in Brisbane.

    Dr Jennifer Boddy

    Dr Jennifer Boddy is Senior Lecturer and Program Director for the Master of Social Work. Her research focuses on creating healthy, safe and sustainable environments, currently through studies related to domestic violence, social media, and environmental degradation on marginalised peoples.

    Associate Professor Lynne Briggs

    Associate Professor Lynne Briggs is a senior academic with many years of experience in clinical practice. Her research has focused on determining whether demoralization can provide an alternative diagnosis to depression, interventions in disasters, international social work education, ethics, supervision and field education.

    Dr Letitia Burridge

    Letitia is interested in how people experience and make sense of their ill-health, and how they interact with health professionals and services. This has led to research in the context of chronic long-term conditions and end-of-life care.

    Professor Nick Buys

    Professor Nicholas Buys is the Dean, Learning & Teaching in the Health Faculty at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. Formerly, he was Head, School of Human Services and Director of the Research Centre for Human Services at Griffith. The work of the Centre included research into community-base

    Dr Leanne Casey

    Leanne is a registered Psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia, AHPRA, and is an associate member of the Australian Psychological Society.

    Professor Lesley Chenoweth

    Lesley has more than 35 years experience as a social work and human service practitioner, academic and activist chiefly in the disability area. Lesley is the inaugural Professor of Social Work and currently Head of Logan Campus at Griffith University. Her current role sees her working on building a

    Dr Brooke Coombes

    Dr Coombes has two main areas of research - understanding the adaptation of the musculotendinous system to ageing, obesity, injury and rehabilitation and understanding the impact of chronic pain on quality of life and physical activity in people with diabetes. Brooke has lead clinical trials to investigate the efficacy of interventions for tendinopathy and developed innovative imaging techniques to non-invasively quantify tissue mechanical properties

    Professor Michel Coppieters

    Professor Coppieters is a researcher of musculoskeletal physiotherapy. He has a longstanding interest in neuropathic pain and continues to lecture and research the neurobiology of pain and the clinical diagnosis and management of patients with neuropathies.

    Associate Professor Carolyn Ehrlich

    Associate Professor Carolyn Ehrlich's three main areas of research including the delivery of person-centred health care to people who are vulnerable or from minority populations, integration of care to support person-centred outcomes and the implementation and normalisation of new practices by teams

    Dr Paul Harris

    Paul is a Psychologist who has previously held positions in service provision and health policy in Queensland Health and service management roles in both government and non-government sectors. He is currently the Editor for the Journal of Social Inclusion.

    Dr Daniel Harvie

    Dr Daniel Harvie is a NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow and physiotherapist focused on brain-based treatments for preventing and treating persistent pain. His research involves innovative applications of sensory training, virtual reality, movement, and education.

    Associate Professor Saras Henderson

    Associate Professor Saras Henderson’s research focuses on innovative health service delivery models that are responsive to the health needs of culturally and linguistically diverse populations with chronic diseases (diabetes type 2) and in promoting healthy lifestyle contexts for such communities.

    Dr Chris Irwin

    Chris is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) and Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics. His research focus is centred around the impact of nutrition-related factors on human behaviour and performance, with particular emphasis on the influence of alcohol and other drugs on cognitive and driving performance.

    Dr Ali Lakhani

    Ali has extensive experience leading research projects that partner with health and social service organisations. His Research Program investigates features contributing to enabling environments for people with injury and/or disability and focuses on geospatial health determinants, and health service environments.

    Associate Professor Justin Kavanagh

    Associate Professor Justin Kavanagh leads the Neural Control of Movement laboratory in the School of Health Sciences and Social Work, where his team explores how the central nervous system controls voluntary and involuntary movement. He has particular interests in understanding how medications can be used to study mechanisms of human movement, and how neuromuscular fatigue compromises the ability to regulate muscle activity.

    Dr Vanette McLennan

    Dr McLennan’s research is focussed on vocational rehabilitation and resilience, including: (1) early intervention vocational rehabilitation following spinal cord injury, and (2) culturally safe vocational rehabilitation for First Australians with disability.

    Dr Dilani Mendis

    Dilani is a physiotherapist (special interest: musculoskeletal physiotherapy) and a lecturer (teaching/research) in Physiotherapy at Griffith University. Her research interests include sports injury prevention and prediction, rehabilitation of injuries to lumbar spine and hip, motor control training and ultrasound imaging.

    Professor Sharon Mickan

    Professor Mickan’s research is focused on the active integration of current research in clinical practice, building research skills and capacity in healthcare clinicians and promoting interprofessional learning and teamwork.

    Professor Norman Morris

    Professor Norman Morris currently leads a group of researchers undertaking projects targeted at examining the mechanisms of exercise limitation in heart and lung disease and, based on these findings, projects targeted at developing novel exercise-based rehabilitation programs.

    Dr Jessica Paynter

    Jessica is a clinical psychologist. Her research is focused on the development, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based assessments and intervention practices for children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental or learning disabilities.

    Dr Christine Randall

    Christine's research interests include occupational rehabilitation systems in organisations and workplace stress, rehabilitation counselling competencies, disability management, and case management.

    Associate Professor Anne Roiko

    Biomarkers of exposure to environmental factors; characterisation of health impacts of environment-based activities on specific population sub-groups; and characterising health benefits of nature-based interactions, particularly water.

    Dr Maddy Slattery

    Dr Slattery's main research areas include clinical supervision for mental health staff, stepfamily adjustment, and the use of recovery based practice and person centred care in mental health services.

    Associate Professor Jing Sun

    Associate Professor Jing Sun is associate professor in biostatistics and epidemiology in the School of Medicine and Dentistry, Griffith University, and visiting professor in University of Technology Sydney in wearable technology and telemedicine. Her research expertise and interests include prevention of chronic disease, mental disorders, and birth defect. Her other research includes lifestyle intervention, self care of chronic disease patients, program and project design and evaluations, and quantitative systematic review and meta-analysis.

    Associate Professor Kelly Weir

    Kelly is a conjoint research fellow for allied health at Griffith University and Gold Coast University Hospital. She researches in the area of paediatric dysphagia (feeding and swallowing difficulties) and acute care (tracheostomy/intensive care) speech pathology and interdisciplinary team management.

    Professor Heidi Zeeman

    Professor Heidi Zeeman has conducted applied research in the area of neuro-rehabilitation over the past 17 years. Her research centres on understanding the experiences of people following catastrophic injury and illness and the environments in which they live, recover and work.

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