Academic Unit of Infant, Child, Adolescent Psychiatry South West Sydney (AUCS) - Staff

Current Staff

Professor Valsamma Eapen, MBBS., Phd., FRCPsych., FRANZCP - Research Interests

Chair of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UNSWInfant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, SSWAHS

Valsamma Eapen is Professor and Chair of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Head of the Academic Unit of Child Psychiatry, South West Sydney (AUCS).

As a Child Psychiatrist with special expertise in neurodevelopmental disorders, her research interests include Tourette Syndrome, Autism, and ADHD. Other areas of research include neurobiological underpinnings of attachment and separation anxiety disorder as well as Metabolic Syndrome in adolescents. She is a collaborator on international consortiums such as the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation Genetics Collaborative and the Autism Homozygosity Mapping Collaborative. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Neuropsychiatric Association (INA), Founding Member of the Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR); Member of the bi-national committee of the Australia New Zealand Society of Social psychiatry, Scientific Advisor to Rett Syndrome Association, India, Professional Expert for the Tourette Syndrome Association Australia, Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Ingham Health Research Institute, Member of the Reference Group for the KU Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre, and a voluntary Member of the Board of Directors for the Karitane Services. She serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal “Autism Research and Treatment” and is a reviewer for several other journals. She is a member of the Cochrane Developmental, Psychosocial and Learning Problems Group and is a Sentinel Reader for the McMaster Online Rating of Evidence.

She is the lead investigator on an NHMRC funded Partnership Grant on Universal surveillance and early identification of developmental disorders, an ARC linkage grant on Separation anxiety in pregnancy and the associations with oxytocin release, attachment styles and mother-infant interactions, as well as the Child and Family Outcomes Strategy project funded by the Common wealth government to build national evidence base on early intervention in autism. She received a Rotary grant in 2009 to evaluate a health promotion and lifestyle intervention program for weight gain and metabolic side effects of antipsychotic agents in adolescent inpatients.

She has published four books, 15 book Chapters and over 125 peer-reviewed papers.


Research Interest: https://research.unsw.edu.au/people/professor-valsamma-eapen

Publications: – https://research.unsw.edu.au/people/professor-valsamma-eapen/publications


Dr Stephen Matthey, PhD

Senior Principal Researcher

Stephen is an adjunct A/Prof in the School of Psychiatry. I am a Senior Clinical Psychologist, and researcher, for the Infant, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service based at Liverpool Hospital, Sydney. I gained my undergraduate psychology degree from England; my Clinical Masters degree, as well as my Ph.D., from the University of Sydney.

I have published around 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals (not ‘pay-to-publish’ journals) on a range of topics, including: child and adult treatment; educational psychology; cross-cultural psychology; perinatal mental health; psychological assessment; questionnaire development; statistics; brain injury; fathers; parenting programs, and the evaluation of clinical services.

I am also passionate about playing soccer, riding my m’bike, and attempting to play the violin!


Dr Rudi Crncec, DPsych - Research Interests

Research Officer/Clinical Psychologist


Dr Mona Asghari-Fard, PhD

Research Officer

Mona has gained her nursing degree from the University of Newcastle; Master of Health Management from the University of New England and PhD from the University of Sydney.

Mona works as a research officer, for the Infant, Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service based at Liverpool Hospital, and as a casual tutor at the University of Western Sydney and University of Sydney.

Her research interests include:

How children of immigrants deal with: language barriers, low economic status and poverty, and how these factors isolates immigrant youth from mainstream youth cultures and slow the process by which immigrant youth “assimilate” into host society.


Dr Emma Axelsson, PhD

Research Associate

Emma Axelsson is a Research Associate for University of New South Wales (UNSW) at the Academic Unit of Child Psychiatry (Infant, Child, and Adolescent Mental Health (ICAMHS) Centre at Liverpool Hospital). She is currently working on an NHMRC funded Partnership Grant investigating universal surveillance and early identification of developmental disorders in the South West Sydney area.

Emma’s other research interests revolve largely around infant cognitive development such as perceptual development, categorical representations, and face and body representations. She is a collaborator on a number of projects in the UK on studies of early word learning, infant audio-visual language perception, and sleep in typically developing infants and those with neurodevelopmental disorders such as Williams Syndrome.


Bronwyn Overs. BPsych (Honours)

Research Assistant



Bronwyn Overs is a Research Assistant at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and is located within the Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (ICAMHS) at Liverpool Hospital. Her research interests include autism, dementia, and the neurobiological mechanisms of child and adult psychopathology.

Bronwyn is an Associate Investigator on an NHMRC funded Partnership Grant titled Universal Surveillance and Early Identification of Developmental Disorders. This role builds upon her previous experience with autism as a junior ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) therapist.
Prior to joining ICAMHS, Bronwyn held a position at the Centre for Applied Nursing Research, where she acquired experience in the fields of patient safety, care delivery models and nursing handover practice.


Sue Harvey, RN, RM, BN, Postgrad Cert in C&FHN, Master of Nursing (Honours)
 - Research Interest

Research Officer

Sue has extensive experience as a community health nurse, and has been employed as a Child & Family Health Clinical Nurse Consultant since 2007. Sue brings her clinical experience, knowledge of health services and systems, and interest in primary health care to her current Research Officer position with the University of NSW - ‘Watch Me Grow’ study. Sue is a facilitator of Family Partnership Training and Reflective Clinical Supervision and values a strengths-based approach to the provision of services.

Sue undertook a review of early childhood and parenting services for the Drug and Alcohol Network of Sydney West Area Health Service in 2007. A peer-reviewed journal article has been accepted for publication from the review. Sue’s interest in improving health services for families with a high level of vulnerability was the focus of her Master of Nursing thesis, and she is working towards publishing journal articles related to the key themes of judgement and hope.


Feroza Khan

Research Assistant

Feroza Khan joined the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in June 2012. She is currently working as a Research Assistant for the Academic Unit of Child Psychiatry SWS, for the “Mother- Baby Oxytocin Study” project based at the Infant, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service at Liverpool Hospital. The study is investigating maternal well being, mother and child bonding, prevalence of Adult Separation Anxiety Disorder (ASAD) and the risk factors associated with postnatal depression.

Feroza completed her Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Western Sydney, NSW. Prior to this, she worked as a doctor overseas and has also worked locally at the Cancer Council NSW and UNSW for various projects.

As a research assistant at UNSW, she contributed her knowledge and skills for a study called “NSW Drug and Alcohol Consultation Liaison Evaluation”. The aim of the project was to find out how useful the Drug and Alcohol Service is, in improving the health of patients who may have a drug and alcohol problem. She also worked for another study called “Quit In General Practice”. The aim was to find out the most effective form of help that general practice can provide to patients who smoke and want to quit.


Naomi Radom

Research Assistant

Naomi is a Research Assistant currently working on a perinatal project at the Academic Research Unit of Child Psychiatry. Naomi’s recent education has been through the Graduate Diploma of Psychology at The University of Sydney and she will pursue further post-graduate study. Naomi’s research interests include perinatal mental health as well as bipolar disorder and issues surrounding atypical gender. Naomi is enthusiastic about embarking on a career of psychological research after having worked as a professional music for many years


Dr Amelia Walter, D Clin Psych/Msc, Ba (Hons Psych)

Research Associate

Dr Amelia Walter is a Research Associate at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), as well as a practising Clinical Psychologist. She holds a Doctor in Clinical Psychology and a Master of Science degree from the University of Sydney. Amelia’s work is driven by the scientist-practitioner model, and her research interests focus on assessment of and intervention for developmental disabilities and mental illnesses among infants, children and adolescents. In her role at UNSW, Amelia is primarily involved in the Child and Family Outcomes Strategy project funded by the Commonwealth Government to build a national evidence base on early intervention in autism. She has also been involved in a NHMRC-funded study investigating effective pathways to early identification of developmental disorders, and in the development and validation of an autism-specific quality of life measure. Amelia has also previously worked on several large research trials investigating a range of CBT interventions for infants, children and adolescents with anxiety disorders.


Tara Shine

Research Associate

Tara Shine is a Research Associate at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), in addition to working with children with autism as a senior therapist. She holds an MSc by Research and a degree in Applied Psychology (Hons) from the University College Cork, Ireland. Tara graduated with a first class honours degree and received the title of “College Scholar” in acknowledgement of her University results. Tara has previously worked as an Applied Behavioural Analysis Tutor in Ireland where she developed an interest in early intervention and outcomes for children with autism. In her role at UNSW, Tara is primarily involved in the Child and Family Outcomes Strategy project funded by the Commonwealth Government to build a national evidence base on early intervention in autism. Tara has previously volunteered in a range of community services in Ireland including Cork Mental Health Association and Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland as well as acting Vice Auditor of St. Vincent de Paul Society, Cork, Ireland.


Conjoint Academic Staff (UNSW) and Collaborators

Prof Bryanne Barnett, MBChB, FRANZCP, MD - Conjoint Professor/ Deputy Director of the ‘beyondblue’ Perinatal Mental Health Plan

Research interests: Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

Professor Bryanne Barnett is a psychiatrist whose clinical and research work bridges the interface between adult and child psychiatry. She has a doctoral degree from the University of New South Wales. Her thesis concerned the effects of maternal anxiety on mothering, the developing infant and the mother-infant relationship. It included the first attachment research undertaken in Australia. She has published extensively on anxiety and depressive disorders and their effects on parenting. Subsequent clinical and research work has focused on supporting women and their families during pregnancy and postpartum and she has set up a number of attachment-based services to address these early intervention and prevention issues.

Bryanne currently holds a conjoint Professorial position at UNSW, where she previously held Australia’s first Chair of Perinatal and Infant Psychiatry. She has also held many College positions, presided over national and international societies and worked closely with “beyondblue”, the national depression initiative.

Dr Rajeev Jairam, MBBS FRANZCP MD Cert child Psych
 - Conjoint Senior Lecturer/Medical Director of Gna Ka Lun Adolescent Mental Health Unit

Rajeev is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, the director of Gna Ka Lun Adolescent Mental Health Unit and a senior lecturer (conjoint) with the University of New South Wales and University of Western Sydney.

He has participated and presented in a number of conferences and has extensive research interest in a number of areas within child and adolescent psychiatry including mood disorders. His MD thesis was on the short term outcome of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents and he has conducted one of the few long term outcome studies in this area. He has had over 20 publications including original articles, reviews and book chapters in peer reviewed literature. He is a reviewer for several journals and is actively involved in teaching and examining medical students in UNSW, UWS and basic and advanced trainees with RANZCP.

Dr Alex Apler - 
MBBS, LLB, MSc, FRANZCP, Cert Child Psych


Dr Apler is an adult, child and family psychiatrist working in the child and adolescent mental health service at Park House, Liverpool Hospital. He is enrolled in a PhD programme at the UNSW, researching in the area of adult separation anxiety in pregnancy.

Dr Pravin Dullur - 
Conjoint Lecturer/Consultant Child Psychiatrist


Pravin is a Child and adolescent Psychiatrist who works as a Staff Specialist in the Gna Ka Lun Adolescent mental health inpatient unit. He is a conjoint lecturer with the Universities of NSW and Western Sydney.

He has participated and presented in a number of conferences. His research interests include mood disorders, metabolic syndrome in adolescents and problem internet use. He has a passion for teaching. He runs the teaching program at Gna Ka Lun and oversees training of medical students posted. He also runs RANZCP exam training sessions for Campbelltown based Psychiatry registrars. He has been a reviewer for various journals. In his spare time, he enjoys chess and crosswords."

Dr. Mukesh Prabhuswamy- Conjoint Senior Lecturer/Consultant Child Psychiatrist

Mukesh is a Staff Specialist-Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist working at the adolescent mental health inpatient unit Gna Ka Lun, Campbelltown and ICAMHS in SWSLHD and a senior lecturer (conjoint) with the University of New South Wales and University of Western Sydney.
Mukesh has over 9 years of experience as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist both overseas and in Australia doing clinical work, research and teaching. He has over 10 publications in Child and Adolescent mental health. He has received two international awards for work in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. His areas of interest include school related mental health issues, anxiety disorders, developmental disorders including autism and Paediatric psychopharmacology. He regularly reviews articles for international journals and is also one of the Review Editors for the Frontiers in Child and Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry.

 

 

Back to Top