Skip to main content
Stay updated

VicHealth Fellowship Program

Meet our early-career research fellows who will find new insights and fuel fresh research to improve health outcomes for all Victorians:

Real change starts with research

The biggest, boldest moves in health promotion rely on cutting-edge research. We need leading scientists and experts to identify gaps, highlight emerging issues, and illuminate the real drivers of change. 


The VicHealth Fellowship program 

For over 30 years, we’ve been investing in academics who are at the forefront of health promotion and prevention. Their research has helped Victoria – and the world - lead the way in this space. And our alumni go on to make a positive impact on Indigenous health, mental wellbeing, physical activity, health inequity, public health policy, food and nutrition, and more.
A VicHealth fellowship provides a unique opportunity to be part of VicHealth’s team, joining our connected network and linking research to policy and practice.

Our current fellows 

Our current fellows are tackling harmful industries in Australia, examining harmful marketing aimed at children, developing effective youth engagement frameworks for local government. encouraging longer-term engagement with organised sport, and analysing the effects of extreme heat and bushfire smoke on local communities. 

Meet our early-career research fellows who will find new insights and fuel fresh research to improve health outcomes for all Victorians:

Aurelie Pankowiak

Dr Aurélie Pankowiak, Victoria University

Creating fun, safe and inclusive environments for children to be active through sport is at the core of Dr Aurélie Pankowiak’s research. Her research will engage children and youth in an innovative and youth-driven, community-based sport program, outside of traditional competitive sporting club structures, with the aim to attract and retain under-represented community members in sport.

Adyya Gupta

Dr Adyya Gupta, Deakin University

Dr Adyya Gupta’s research will investigate the impact of online food delivery platforms on youth’s food choices in real time through youth engagement. The research will highlight how food marketing techniques are used within online food delivery platforms, how youth engage with these platforms and how this influences their food purchasing decisions. Novel screengrab methods will be applied to better understand the influence marketing has on young people.

Rongbin Xu

Dr Rongbin Xu, Monash University

Dr Rongbin Xu’s research aims to better understand health risks from environmental factors caused by climate change, like bushfires and extreme heat across Victoria. This will provide projections of the burden of disease across a range of different scenarios, allowing for an evaluation of current strategies. The research aims to contribute to health guidelines, health promotion materials and policy advice for Local Governments.

Dr Alexandra Chung of Monash University.

Dr Alexandra Chung, Monash University

Dr Chung’s work analyses front-of-pack marketing on food and drinks for infants, toddlers and children. By speaking to parents about their experiences, she’ll generate new evidence to help challenge and change the guidelines and policies that regulate this marketing.

Headshot of Jenn Lacy-Nichols

Dr Jenn Lacy-Nichols, The University of Melbourne  

Alcohol, gambling and ultra-processed food industries are known for influencing policies for their own benefit. Dr Lacy-Nichols is investigating this. By analysing their political activities, resources and relationships, her work will make sure our polices protect the health and wellbeing of people across Victoria. 

Jenn Lacey-Nichols of The University of Melbourne.

Dr Florentine Martino, Deakin University

Harmful industries create more barriers to good health and wellbeing, especially for our children. Dr Martino’s work focuses on reducing these by monitoring ultra-processed food, alcohol, and gambling brands. By analysing their corporate social responsibility, online ads, influencers and elite sport sponsorships, her research will help regulate their marketing activities to protect our children. 

Dr Hannah Pitt of Deakin University.

Dr Hannah Pitt, Deakin University

Very few local government youth engagement and pathway plans specifically consider how young people may be effectively engaged in public health advocacy strategies to convince decision makers of the need for policy change. Dr. Pitt’s research aims to understand how local governments can effectively engage young people in public health advocacy strategies aimed at responding to the health threats posed by harmful industries, specifically tobacco, alcohol, gambling, and industries contributing to climate change. Her research will provide a practical toolkit for Victorian local governments to mobilise youth engagement in public health advocacy initiatives.

Dr Christina Zorbas of Deakin University.

Dr Christina Zorbas, Deakin University

The voices and values of those experiencing social and economic exclusion are underrepresented in food policy decisions, research and advocacy efforts – with significant implications for the efficacy and equity impacts of such policies. Dr Zorbas’ research aims to address this critical gap by identifying food policy options that reflect the voices and values of those experiencing health inequities. By conducting in-depth participatory research and drawing upon partnerships and expertise, her research will increase political attention and commitment to equitable food policy actions.



Artwork by Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022
VicHealth acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land. We pay our respects to all Elders past, present and future.
This website may contain images, names and voices of deceased people.

VicHealth acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

Artwork Credit: Dexx (Gunditjmara/Boon Wurrung) ‘Mobs Coming Together’ 2022, acrylic on canvas. Learn more about this artwork.