PHEFH | Torrens University
Creating the 'fertile soil' to enable human flourishing requires innovative, social science informed scholarship which focuses on making a fairer and socially just world for all. Our mission is to conduct transdisciplinary research to tackle complex and critical public health issues of our time.

About the centre

The Centre for Public Health, Equity and Human Flourishing (PHEHF) is a unique, world-leading multi-disciplinary research centre extending the horizon of public health research. We undertake internationally renowned research and create thought leadership that responds to the significant public health problems of our time. We focus on undertaking research and advocacy activities that improve equity in society, locally, nationally and globally, and will enable human flourishing for all. Our 'field of vision' is on the systems and structures that currently hinder or destabilise human flourishing for some groups, but not others.

Our research programs focus on understanding and improving social justice globally. Our researchers have expertise in academic disciplines such as sociology, epidemiology, psychology, human physiology, nutrition, anthropology, medicine, philosophy and laboratory sciences. As such, we are uniquely placed to respond to 'wicked problems' in contemporary society. Our research studies are multi- disciplinary and utilise the benefits of multiple complimentary research designs, including qualitative methodologies, randomised controlled trials, cohort studies, cross-section designs, systematic reviews and meta- analyses.

Professor Paul Ward, Centre Director

Professor Ward is a social scientist and he applies and critiques various methodologies and social theories to contemporary public health problems. His current research focuses on equity of access to healthcare services, public trust in a variety of health and social care services and systems and understanding risk behaviours of various vulnerable and marginalised population groups.

Contact Professor Ward for project partnerships or to learn more about our research centre.


Paul Ward | Torrens University
All people across the globe deserve to live their lives to the fullest and be enabled to flourish. That’s the starting point for everything we do.
Professor Paul Ward
Centre Director

Explore our areas of research

  • Social and commercial determinants of health and wellbeing

    This research cluster focuses the social and commercial drivers that ‘cause’ illness in an attempt to develop actions to create health and wellbeing in our most marginalised and vulnerable populations. Our focus is on solutions aimed at illness prevention, under the banner of ‘prevention is better than cure’.
    Cluster focus areas:

    • Ageism
    • Racism
    • Social class
    • Stigma
    • War and conflict
    • Equity and access to services
    • Vulnerability
    • Resilience
  • Improving services and systems to promote trust and human flourishing

    This cluster focuses on understanding and improving public trust in healthcare professionals and services and developing the fertile soil in society for humans to live their ‘best lives’ in order for enable human flourishing.
    Cluster focus areas:

    • Trust
    • Human flourishing
    • Empowerment
    • Human capabilities
  • Understanding and improving equity of access to, use of and benefits from healthcare services

    This cluster focuses on understanding the reasons for unfair or inequitable access to healthcare services, in additional to inequitable outcomes in terms of illness and death. Studies also focus on developing and testing interventions to improve equity.
    Cluster focus areas:

    • Equity in access to healthcare services
    • Equity in treatment within healthcare services
    • Equity in outcomes from healthcare services
  • Sociology of emotions, wellbeing and the future

    This cluster focuses the critically important functions that emotions have for human wellbeing and flourishing. Studies focus on understanding the structural drivers of negative and positive emotions and developing strategies for enabling positive emotions to flourish.
    Cluster focus areas:

    • Hope, Love, Trust, Resilience, Happiness
    • Fear, Loneliness, Anger, Grief

Discover our live projects

Explore our Higher Degrees by Research

Meet our researchers

Ratna Saha | Torrens University
Dr Paul Aylward

Dr Aylward is a qualified teacher, and teaching specialist with expertise in qualitative and mixed methods approaches, particularly with ‘methodologically challenging’ vulnerable groups.


PHEHF | Torrens University
Associate Professor Lillian Mwanri

Associate Professor Mwanri is a public health physician by training and has research experiences in public health in general, global health and migrants’ health in particular.


Mandi Barker | Torrens University
Dr Mandi Baker

Dr Baker is a research fellow and lecturer at Torrens University whose research interests include emotional demands (emotion work), people skills (Affective Abilities) required, and organisational contexts (power-relations) in people-centric service work.


PHEHF | Torrens University
Dr Nelsensius Klau Fauk

Dr Fauk is a Senior Research Fellow. He mainly applies qualitative methods and social cognitive theories to public health problems.


PHEHF | Torrens University
Associate Professor Rachel Ambagtsheer

Associate Professor Ambagtsheer has more than 20 years’ experience working in the health field, as a researcher, planner and consultant to all levels of government and the private and not-for-profit sectors.


PHEHF | Torrens University
Associate Professor Hailay Gesesew

Associate Professor Gesesew conducts research in Medicine and Public Health, which aims at improving the HIV care continuum in Ethiopia and other developing countries.


PHEHF | Torrens University
Dr Belinda Lunnay

Dr Belinda Lunnay is Research Fellow within the Research Centre for Public Health, Equity and Human Flourishing, Torrens University.


PHEHF | Torrens University
Elissa Mortimer

Elissa is a clinical dietitian but she has worked in public health for most of her career.


PHEHF | Torrens University
Professor Justin Beilby

Professor Beilby has been an active researcher and general practitioner for nearly 30 years.


Clare Littleton | Torrens University
Associate Professor Clare Littleton

Associate Professor Littleton conducts research in the area of public health with a specific focus on children, the social and political determinants


Dr Louise Townsin

Dr Townsin undertakes research in Education and Health, and has a particular interest in intercultural communication and cultural


Kristen Foley
Kristen Foley

As an emerging social scientist with an interest in human flourishing, relational sociology, occupational science, and feminist philosophy.


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