A focus on veteran wellbeing

Professor Ben Wadham

As a proud veteran, Flinders University Sociology graduate Professor Ben Wadham is passionate about helping other veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life.

At Flinders University, Professor Ben Wadham (BA(Hons) ’98, PhD(SS) ’02, GradCertPubPol ’08) leads projects on veterans in correctional services, education to employment pathways, male veteran suicide, and institutional abuse within the military.

His research is focused on contributing to better governance in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and generating new opportunities for veterans and their families, including civil-military relations and veteran health and wellbeing.

In 2018, he established the Open Door: Veteran Transition Integration and Wellbeing Research Initiative at the University’s Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing.

“In the military, I served as a rifleman and as a military police corporal. It left me with questions about men and masculinity, the way men operate in groups, and men’s place in society,” says Professor Wadham.

“It also built my interest in the military justice system. The sum of all these experiences has been the pathway to my position now as the Director of Open Door, and an international contributor on defence and veteran issues.”

Professor Wadham has also led a successful ARC Discovery project after many years of building the case for military sexual assault becoming a public policy issue.

“There was significant resistance from the ADF in the first decade, but now that the lid has been lifted on the issue, I feel confident that more work can be undertaken in this important area,” says Professor Wadham.

In 2019 Professor Wadham helped to establish the Military Academic Pathway Program at Flinders, with the support of the South Australian Government. The program enables veterans to use their prior service and qualifications with the ADF as a pathway to a Flinders University degree.

As part of the recent Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, his contribution as co-author of the article ‘Commanding men, governing masculinities: Military institutional abuse and organisational reform in the Australian armed forces’ was discussed and applauded during the hearings.

Proud of his capacity to persevere, Professor Wadham says, “My approach is to face life and challenges fearlessly with a positive and productive mindset towards myself and others.”

Find out more about the Military Academic Pathway Program

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