Donna Cross


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Donna Cross believes that for every person to thrive we need to support their development and learning from conception onwards, and that this will improve their health and wellbeing both now and throughout their lives. She has dedicated her life to providing evidence for policy and practice to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for all children and adolescents and their families to create a healthier and productive society both now and into the future. Through 30 years of applied research experience and leading over 80 applied school, digital technology and community-based research projects, Donna has investigated ways to enhance the health, development and social and emotional learning of children and adolescents. This research has been translated into evidence-based policy and practice interventions disseminated throughout Australia and internationally. Most of the major health and wellbeing related policy documents and curriculum used in schools across Australia – including the current Australian Curriculum – invited her contribution. Donna is currently a Professor with the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Western Australia, and Program Head, Health Promotion and Education at the Telethon Kids Institute and one of the Institute’s leadership team. She leads 27 researchers who develop and test strategies to improve children’s and adolescents’ social and emotional wellbeing. Donna is also a Chief Investigator and the WA Node Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course. Donna is an awarded scholar with her contribution to child health research recognised by many university, state and national awards including the 2012 WA Australian of the Year Award. She has been a Board/Committee member for numerous research organisations including her recent appointment to the Group of Eight Australia’s Expert Taskforce advising on Australia’s Roadmap to Recovery for COVID-19 (2020). She has been a senior policy advisor for the WA Minister for Education, and the NSW and SA Departments of Education. Donna is an Ambassador for Children and Young People, appointed by the WA Commissioner for Children and Young People. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS). Donna holds a Doctorate (1992) from Columbia University, New York, a Graduate Diploma in Health Science (1987) from Curtin University of Technology, Perth, a Teachers’ Higher Certificate (1986), WA Ministry of Education, and a Bachelor of Education (1983) from Western Australian Institute of Technology, Perth and a Diploma of Teaching from Nedlands Teachers’ College (1980).


The Nancy Fairfax Churchill Fellowship to enhance school and family awareness of young children's developmental needs in online environments

The Nancy Fairfax Churchill Fellowship to enhance school and family awareness of young children's developmental needs in online environments

Community Service
Donna Cross

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