CBRC staff profiles

 On this page: Melanie Wakefield | Victoria White | Suzanne Dobbinson | Helen Dixon | Sarah DurkinEmily Brennan  | Belinda Morley | Linda Hayes | Anna Nicholson

Melanie WakefieldMelanie Wakefield, BA, Dip Appl Psych, MA(Applied Psych), PhD

Director, CBRC

Melanie is a behavioural scientist with qualifications from the University of Adelaide in South Australia. She has conducted research on health behaviour since 1983, working in Australia, England and the United States. Her particular research interests include the implementation and evaluation of tobacco control mass media campaigns and tobacco control policies, and the application and extension of tobacco control research methods into other areas of cancer prevention. Full Melanie Wakefield profile.


Vicki White

Victoria White, BA (Hons), MA (Psych), PhD

Principal Research Fellow, CBRC
Vicki is a behavioural scientist with a Master's degree and PhD in Psychology and has a broad interest in population-based research and behavioural research in cancer control. Areas of research experience include population-based studies monitoring the use of tobacco, alcohol and other substances among adolescents, studies examining the effectiveness on interventions designed to improve the quality of life of people with cancer and studies examining the management of cancer. Since 2011, Vicki has been working with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to develop a mechanism for assessing the care experiences of cancer patients at a population level. She has led multiple NHMRC grants and other national grants. Vicki is responsible for a team of researchers and leads the triennial Australia Secondary Students' Alcohol and Drug Survey (ASSAD), involving the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, state-based cancer councils and state-based health departments..


Suzanne DobbinsonSuzanne Dobbinson, BSc, MSc, PhD

Senior Research Fellow
Suzanne has a Master of Science degree and a PhD in Public Health and has been working in public health research since 1992. She completed her PhD with the School of Community Health at the University of New South Wales in 2000. She works closely with the staff of SunSmart, the skin cancer control program of Cancer Council Victoria. Her research informs the development of the program through a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods, formative, impact and outcome research. Her research interests relate to exploring the patterns and causes of sun protective and sun exposing behaviours, and include assessing the impact of strategies to improve environmental supports for sun protection.


Helen Dixon Helen Dixon, DipArts, BA (Hons), PhD

Senior Research Fellow – Obesity Prevention
Helen has been working on research and evaluation in cancer prevention since the mid-1990s. She has a PhD in psychology from The University of Melbourne. Her main areas of research interest are psychosocial determinants of health-related behaviour, and mass media research on public responses to health-related communications.

Helen's main areas of research endeavour are in the fields of skin cancer prevention, public health nutrition and youth smoking, and involve assessing audience reactions to health promotion campaigns or to health-relevant content in mass media. These projects involve collaboration with staff from our Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention units, and with other external researchers and health educators involved in chronic disease prevention.


Sarah DurkinSarah Durkin, BA (Psych), PgradDip (Psych), PhD

Senior Research Fellow – Tobacco
Sarah has a PhD in Psychology from The University of Melbourne, and has been working in health psychology and health promotion research since 1999. Since 2003, Sarah's research has focused on examining the impact of tobacco control policy change and on understanding effective ways of broadcasting antismoking campaigns, the types of campaigns likely be most effective and the effectiveness of campaigns among lower socio-economic smokers. She works closely with the staff of Quit Victoria and her research examines and informs their advertising and policy programs.


Emily Brennan

Emily Brennan, BSc (Hons), PhD

David Hill Research Fellow
Emily earned her PhD in Psychology from the University of Melbourne in 2012. After her PhD, she completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked in cancer prevention research since 2006, with a particular focus on studying the ways in which public communication interventions can be used to reduce unhealthy behaviours like tobacco use and harmful levels of alcohol consumption. Emily's research has involved the use of population surveys, observational studies and experiments to evaluate and inform the development of more effective mass media campaigns and consumer warning labels.


Belinda Morley from the Centre for Behavioural Research in CancerBelinda Morley, BA (Hons), MPH, PhD

Research and Evaluation Manager – Obesity Prevention
A registered psychologist, Belinda has a PhD in psychology and Master of Public Health and has been working in public health research and evaluation since 2001. Belinda began her research career in the Program Evaluation Unit at the University of Melbourne's School of Population Health where she was a Research Fellow, evaluating studies and commonwealth mental health programs as well as physical activity in primary care. As Obesity Prevention Research and Evaluation Manager, she undertakes behavioural research projects and program evaluation studies to support obesity prevention initiatives in collaboration with our Cancer Prevention Centre and the Obesity Policy Coalition. Belinda is experienced in research to evaluate mass media campaigns to inform public communication on obesity prevention as well as population monitoring of secondary students' overweight/ obesity prevalence and diet and physical activity behaviours. She has also undertaken applied research to evaluate the impact of obesity prevention policies and population surveys to measure support for potential regulatory measures. 


Linda Hayes, BSc (Hons), MSc

Evaluation and Research Manager – Quit Victoria Linda has a Masters degree in Health Psychology from the University of Bath, UK, and prior to joining CBRC worked within the Victorian State Government for five years, co-ordinating population health surveys as part of the Victorian Child and Adolescent Monitoring System. Originally from the UK, Linda has also worked as a research assistant evaluating a variety of health promotion initiatives in English schools. Linda works closely with staff from Quit Victoria to oversee the Victorian Smoking and Health Survey and to evaluate mass media campaigns.



Anna NicholsonAnna Nicholson, BA (Hons), PgradDip (Public Health), PhD

Evaluation and Research Manager – SunSmart
Anna has worked in public health and allied health since 2010. Anna completed her PhD at Menzies School of Health Research in 2015, where she was a collaborator on a national study about smoking and quitting in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Anna’s thesis considered what types of health messages are most effective to prompt quitting and change in related attitudes and beliefs among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers, with a focus on advertising and warning labels. Anna’s research has focussed on policy and program evaluation, with a particular interest in health equity and the prevention of cancer and chronic disease. Anna manages the research and evaluation program for SunSmart Victoria .