Professor Karen Healy

Head of School

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
k.healy@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 51847

Overview

My research promotes health, well-being and social equity across the life course.

I use qualitative, mixed methods and co-design research approaches. I enjoy researching with people with lived experience of health and community service systems, service providers and policy makers to create real world change. I value interdisciplinary collaboration as the best way to achieve innovative and powerful responses to health and social challenges.

In 2016, I was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for my contribution to social work particularly in relation to the health and wellbeing of vulnerable children and families, higher education and research. In September 2018, I was appointed Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

My research themes are:

a) family inclusion across the life course.

b) empowering and supporting children, young people and families in health and human services.

c) innovations in practice education in health, human servcies and social work.

d) social work theory, knowledge and skills.

e) culturally respectful practice and research partnerships with First Nations people in support of self-determination and reconciliation.

Research Impacts

I have led 19 applied research projects knowledge building projects to improve well-being, health and social equity.

These initiatives have contributed to improvements in parents and children's participation in child protection decision-making in policy and in practice. I currently lead an ARC Linkage project with four co-investigators and 8 industry partners, to understand and enhance the social and emotional well-being of children in Out of Home Care. I have supervised 31 Research Higher Degree students to completion of their projects.

I am Head of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. Prior to my appointment as Head of School in January 2023, I was Head of Discipline for Social Work and Counselling programs at The University of Queensland and member of the Australian Council of Heads of Schools of Social Work. As Head of Discipline, I have led the innovations in the use of practice and policy simulations to improve student preparation for practice at foundational and advanced levels.

I continue to hold senior advisory positions in industry and in my professional community. I am also: Community Services Commissioner and Chair of Clinical Care and Governance for Anglicare Southern Queensland; and research advisor to Micah Projects, an innovative community services agency aimed at building social inclusion. In my partnerships with Micah, I am pleased to have contributed to major social health initiatives, particularly the establishment of Young Mothers for Young Women (an integrated midwifery, family and peer support program), and to have supported parents to work with the Child Safety Minister and Agency to develop a Parents' Rights Charter, founded on Human Rights Principles.

My track record of leadership includes as: National President of the Australian Association of Social Workers (2011-2017); National Director of The Benevolent Society (2011-2019); National President for the Australian Association of Social Work and Welfare Education (2005-2009).

Qualifications

  • Graduate Certificate in Statistics, Swimburne UT
  • Bachelor of Social Work 1st Class Honors, The University of Queensland
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland

Publications

View all Publications

Grants

View all Grants

Supervision

  • Master Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Healy, Karen (2021). Diversifying inclusive research with young people. Involving methods in youth research: reflections on participation and power. (pp. 261-266) edited by Trine Wulf-Andersen, Reidun Follesø and Terje Olsen. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-75941-4_11

  • Healy, Karen (2019). Regulating for quality social work education: who owns the curriculum?. Strategic leadership in social work education. (pp. 53-66) edited by Marie Connolly, Darla Spence Coffey and Charlotte Williams. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-25052-2_5

  • Healy, Karen (2018). The Skilled Communicator in Social Work. The Skilled Communicator in Social Work. (pp. 1-11) London, United Kingdom: Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/978-1-137-56347-7_1

  • Healy, Karen (2018). Will she be right, mate? Standards and diversity in Australian social work. Transnational social work: opportunities and challenges of a global profession. (pp. 205-221) Bristol, United Kingdom: Policy Press. doi: 10.1332/policypress/9781447333364.003.0013

  • Healy, Karen (2016). Social work education and regulation in Australia. Encyclopedia of social work. (pp. 1-1) Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.1169

  • Healy, Karen, Julkunen, Ilse and Karvinen-Niinikoski, Synnove (2014). International comparative research regarding vulnerable young people: reflections on methodological challenges and solutions. Human rights and social equality: challenges for social work: social work-social development. (pp. 114-117) edited by Sven Hessle. Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom: Ashgate Publishing.

  • Healy, Karen (2014). Social sustainability and social work: problems and prospects. Global Social Transformation and Social Action: The Role of Social Workers. (pp. 161-164) edited by Sven Hessle. Surrey, United Kingdom: Ashgate Publishing.

  • Healy, Karen (2014). Transforming organisations and creative practice: Social sustainability and social work: Problems and prospects. Global Social Transformation and Social Action: The Role of Social Workers: Social Work-Social Development Volume III. (pp. 161-164) edited by Sven Hessle. London, United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis. doi: 10.4324/9781315585024-13

  • Healy, Karen (2012). Critical perspectives. The Sage handbook of social work. (pp. 191-206) edited by Mel Gray, James Midgley and Stephen A. Webb. London , U.K.: Sage. doi: 10.4135/9781446247648.n13

  • Meagher, Gabrielle, Cortis, Natasha and Healy, Karen (2009). Strategic challenges in child welfare services: A comparative study of Australia, England and Sweden. Social Policy Review 21: Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, 2009. (pp. 215-242) Policy Press.

  • Meagher, Gabrielle, Cortis, Natasha and Healy, Karen (2009). Strategic challenges in child welfare services: A comparative study of Australia, England and Sweden. Social policy review 21: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2009. (pp. 215-239) edited by Kirstein Rummery, Ian Greener and Chris Holden. Bristol, United Kingdom: The Policy Press.

  • Connolly, Marie and Healy, Karen E. (2008). Social Work Practice Theories Frameworks. Social work: Contexts and practice. (pp. 37-52) edited by Marie Connolly and Louise Harms. South Melbourne, Vic., Australia: Oxford University Press.

  • Healy, K E (2006). Asset based community development. Working with Individuals, Communities, and Organisations. (pp. 247-258) edited by A. O'Hara and Z. Weber. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

  • Healy, K E (2006). Community education. Working with Individuals, Communities, and Organisations. (pp. 259-266) edited by A. O'Hara and Z. Weber. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

  • Ife, J., Healy, K. E., Spratt, T. and Solomon, B. (2005). Under Reconstruction: Renewing Critical Social Work Practices. Social Work: A Critical Turn. (pp. 219-230) edited by S. Hick, J. Fook and R. Pozzuto. Toronto, Canada: Thompson Educational Publishing.

  • Healy, K. E., O'Regan, M. and Tansky, M. (2005). Working with young people. Social Work: Fields of Practice. (pp. 95-104) edited by M. Alston and J. Mckinnon. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Healy, K. E. and Meagher, G. (2004). The Reprofessionalization of Social Work: Collaborative Approaches for Achieving Professional Recognition. Social Work in a Corporate Era. (pp. 91-107) edited by Linda Davies and Peter Leonard. UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

  • Healy, Karen and Meagher, Gabrielle (2004). The reprofessionalization of social work: collaborative approaches for achieving professional recognition. Social work in a corporate era: practices of power and resistance. (pp. 76-90) edited by Peter Leonard and Linda Davies. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315242835-7

  • Healy, Karen (1999). Power and activist social work. Transforming social work practice: postmodern critical perspectives. (pp. 115-134) London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203164969-11

  • Rosenman, L., O'Connor, I. and Healy, K. (1998). Social work. Challenges for social sciences in Australia. (pp. 215-221) Canberra, ACT Australia: Australian Govt. Pub. Services.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision