Denise studied in the UK, obtaining a degree in Applied Psychology and Sociology, with honours, from the University of Surrey and a Masters of Sport and Exercise Science from Essex University.
Her PhD, from Liverpool John Moores University, focused on the bio-psychosocial benefits of exercise in natural environments, a multi-method approach encompassing many academic disciplines.
Denise’s skills lie in the areas of understanding behavioural drivers, knowledge translation and the application of systems thinking to complex social problems. She has a good working practice of multiple methodologies and is a specialist in qualitative methods, including extensive experience of interviews and focus groups and soft systems methods. These skills have recently been applied to employee behaviour change to support wider organisational and societal change in both government and hospital settings.
Denise previously worked as a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. During this time she evaluated the Healthy Towns initiative in England, a £30M investment from the Department of Health aimed at implementing and evaluating community-based environmental interventions to tackle obesity.
Prior to this, Denise managed multiple process and project evaluations through the Liverpool Active City program, which aimed to reduce obesity and increase levels of physical activity. Since moving to Australia in 2014, Denise has carried out a systems evaluation of Jamie’s Ministry of Food, a jointly-funded initiative of the Victorian Government and The Good Foundation. Concurrently, Denise worked as a Teaching Associate in the Education Faculty at Monash University, where she taught on health and physical education at Masters level.
As BWA’s resident ‘systems thinker’, Denise’s current research spans a wide range of policy areas, including clinical and preventative health, sport, sustainability, social inclusion and workers injury compensation.
She works with a variety of organisations including the Victorian Building Authority, Office of Environment and Heritage NSW, WorkSafe Victoria, Australia Post, the Austin Hospital and multiple Victorian government departments including the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, VicRoads, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Environment Protection Authority.