Her most significant contribution has been the convergence of knowledge from social work, mental health, information communication technology, culture and conflict management to further knowledge development and innovative practices in the health and human services, and education sectors.
A key focus of her work is on social justice and social inclusion and issues of access and equity for the most marginalised and disenfranchised members of society. She has pursued this research and practice agenda for the past three decades with a main focus of her work on improving education and employment outcomes, and life opportunities for people experiencing mental health difficulties. She has worked tirelessly to inform knowledge and practices in universities, including innovative use of technologies to help students experiencing mental health difficulties to remain engaged in their studies and increase the likelihood of success, at the same time tackling head on issues of stigma and discrimination.
Her work in conflict management and mediation also focuses on social inclusion and access and equity to ensure that the voices of all people, including those of people with mental illness, are valued and listened to. This work extends to improving the quality of life of other marginalised and vulnerable populations both locally and internationally with a focus on purposeful and meaningful participation in society and quality of life.
Prior to joining RMIT Jennifer practiced for 15 years in social work leadership roles in the areas of disability, community health and mental health and was a founding member of the first 24 hour psychiatric crisis response Community Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT) in Melbourne. She is an active member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and is a AASW Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, chair of reviews of social work programs, and consultant for the establishment of new social work degrees, throughout Australia at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels; a past Vice president of the Victorian Branch of the AASW, as well as representing the AASW and the social work discipline on numerous senior government consultations and working parties. She was recently appointed as an expert with the federal government Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA). As an accredited mediator and arbitrator, with the Australian Institute of Mediators and Arbitrators (AIMA), Jennifer chairs the RMIT University Appeals Committee.
Expert commentary on...
Mental health and well being of older people, Mental health, technology and post secondary education: access and equity, Youth mental health: Suicide, media and technology, International social development: Social Work Without Borders