Our People

Renata2013-newRenata Kokanovic – Co-Director

Renata Kokanovic, Monash Fellow, is Associate Professor of Sociology of Health and Illness, and Leader of the Social Studies in Health and Medicine (SSHM) Research Program at Monash University. The SSHM Research Program is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research and knowledge-exchange initiative based in the Faculty of Arts. The program is focused on developing sophisticated conceptualisations of health and illness experiences, particularly illnesses diagnosed as psychiatric illnesses, chronic illness and ‘contested’ illness conditions, using innovative qualitative research methods and contextualising subjective experiences within broad political and cultural processes.

Renata Kokanovic is the lead researcher and author of three Healthtalk Australia modules – Experiences of Depression and Recovery in Australia (ARC LP 0990229), Emotional Experiences of Early Parenthood (funded by Healthdirect Australia) and Supported Decision Making for People with Severe Mental Health Problems (ARC LP 130100557, awarded 2013, website forthcoming) and is co-investigator on the research for the Experiences of Addiction project (ARC DP 140100996, awarded 2013).

Renata’s web profile


Lorraine2013-newLorraine Smith – Co-Director

Lorraine Smith is a Registered Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Sydney University. Her research interests focus on patient perspectives on self-management of chronic conditions. She is co-investigator on the Living with Multiple Medicines and Experiences of Ageing in Australia modules. Lorraine conducts qualitative and quantitative research projects into patient self-management, and has studied patient perspectives on asthma, allergic rhinitis, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and chronic low back pain.

Lorraine’s web profile


Alex Broom – Co-Director

Photo of Alex Broom

Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology at the School of Social Sciences, the University of New South Wales. He specialises in the sociology of health and illness, with a current focus on issues related to: cancer, palliative and end-of-life care; death, dying and bereavement; traditional, complementary and alternative medicines; the intersections of individual biographies and illness experiences; social inequalities and social justice; professional and inter-professional dynamics in health and medicine; and health in developing countries. Alex works regularly with a wide range of industry partners (e.g. hospitals, community organisations, professional organisations related to health and medicine) with a focus on improving people’s experiences of illness and the delivery of healthcare. His program of research melds the conceptual richness of sociology with the value of applied, translational health research.

Alex’s web profile


Kate Johnston-Ataata – CoordinatorJohnston-Ataata photo books

Kate Johnston-Ataata is a Research Associate in the Social Studies in Health and Medicine (SSHM) Research Program, Faculty of Arts, Monash University. Kate brings her experience as a researcher / project coordinator on three Healthtalk Australia projects (Experiences of Depression and Recovery in Australia, Emotional Experiences of Early Parenthood and Supported Decision Making for People with Severe Mental Health Problems) to her role as Healthtalk Australia Coordinator. Kate is also undertaking doctoral research at Monash University on experiences of partnering and becoming parents in intercultural relationships.



Kath Ryan – Founding Co-Director and Senior Advisor

K Ryan pic

Kath Ryan, formerly Research Director in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at La Trobe University, Melbourne, is Chief Investigator for Experiences of Ageing in Australia, funded by Healthdirect Australia, and the researcher and author of Experiences of Breastfeeding in the UK which she completed while working at Bournemouth University and collaborating with the Health Experiences Research Group at the University of Oxford. She is also the chair of the steering group for Living with Multiple Medicines. A NZ pharmacist, Kath’s research interests are health consumer perspectives, including public patient involvement, personal experiences of health and illness, medication narratives, and women’s health, including infant feeding, medicines use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and public perceptions of pharmacy services and the role of pharmacists.

Kath’s web profile

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