New Discipline Lead in Injury Studies

A woman wearing a black top and an orange necklace smiles at the camera.

Flinders academic Dr Courtney Ryder has been appointed as the Discipline Lead in Injury Studies, stepping into the role previously held by Professor James Harrison as he transitions to retirement.

Dr Ryder is an early-mid career academic who has been a valuable teaching and research member of the College of Medicine and Public Health for more than 10 years, most recently making a substantial contribution to Public Health and Rural Remote Health as Teaching Program Director.

Professor Harrison, who is retiring from the Discipline Lead role, will continue his research and teaching and during the transition phase will provide significant support to Dr Ryder who is excited to accept the position.

“I feel very privileged to be appointed to this role and to have Professor Harrison providing me with mentorship and support,” Dr Ryder says.

“There is a social gradient to injury and significant health inequities are present – this gap will widen without radical change and focus.

“I am keen to ensure principles of Indigenous Data Sovereignty and Governance have a strong focus in Injury Studies, along with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community co-designed initiatives for prevention and rehabilitation from injury.

“The forthcoming National Injury Prevention Strategy will be central to the research that we undertake and community engagement will be essential for this.”

Dr Ryder completed a PhD focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s burns injuries under the supervision of one of Australia’s leading injury researchers, Professor Rebecca Ivers at UNSW, and continues to collaborate with The George Institute on a range of injury related projects while also currently being a CI on NHMRC and MRFF funding.

In announcing the new Discipline Lead, Public Heath Lead Professor Billie Bonevski paid tribute to the contribution of Professor Harrison who is also Director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare funded National Injury Surveillance Unit.

“James has successfully led NISU and other injury research initiatives at Flinders University since 1990,” Professor Bonevski says. “He is recognised nationally and internationally as a leading expert in injury epidemiology and control, as well as methods and infrastructure for public health surveillance, including classifications and data linkage.

“We are extremely fortunate that while James is stepping down from the Discipline Lead role, he will remain NISU Director working with us to support the Discipline of Injury Studies and continue his research. I look forward to watching Injury Studies continue to grow and strengthen under strong leadership.”

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