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Advisory Committees

Our Advisory Groups

At Youth Solutions, we are highly dependent upon research and inclusion of diverse voices to guide our programs and organisation as a whole. We are extremely grateful for the support of our Research Advisory Group and Diversity Advisory Group members. Their time, knowledge and expertise is extremely valuable to Youth Solutions and we could not do the work that we do without them. See more about our Youth Advisory Group here.

Research Advisory Group

Dr Elizabeth Conroy

Dr Conroy is a Senior Research Fellow at the Translational Health Research Institute and has extensive experience in conducting research with marginalised populations including young people who are homeless. She has an established track record in the drug and alcohol field including over $800 000 in externally-funded research projects, 14 peer-reviewed publications and previous experience as a drug and alcohol Psychologist (e.g. Youth Drug Court Programme).

Dr Conroy is experienced in the conduct of community-based program evaluations including formative research using collaborative and participatory approaches and qualitative methods. She provides mentoring and support for the Youth Solutions Research Coordinator, Dr Emily Deans.

Dr Emily Deans

Emily joined the Youth Solutions team in January 2018 and in her role as Research, Strategy & Design Coordinator works to ensure that Youth Solutions’ programs are informed by good practices, appropriately evaluated and cater for the needs of young people in the region.

Emily leads Youth Solutions’ qualitative research program and oversees the services’ Academic Advisory Group, which has been established to connect not-for-profit community work with leading public health research professionals. Prior to her role with Youth Solutions, Emily formed part of a research team at Deakin University (Melbourne) concerned with preventing gambling harm among young men, and has worked at UoW’s Wellbeing Referral Centre, which functioned as a mental health hub for university students. Emily is passionate about advocacy and the basic right for all individuals to have access to the resources and support they need to make healthy life choices.

Professor Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Wollongong (UOW). He is the Associate Dean of Research for the Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities over oversees research across the Faculty. He has secured over $14 million in competitive research funding across his career. He is currently the Co-Director of an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence: Meaningful Outcomes in Substance Use Treatment (2022-2026). Professor Kelly was awarded the Mid-Career Researcher Award by the The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and Other Drugs (2021). This was in recognition of his academic work focused on developing an applied program of research focused on the non-government substance use treatment sector.

Prof Kelly’s research is focused on the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based approaches within mental health and/or substance use treatment settings. He is a registered clinical psychologist and was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Kedesh Rehabilitation Services.

Professor Jioji Ravulo

Professor Jioji Ravulo is the Professor and Chair of Social Work and Policy Studies in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney. His research, writing and areas of interest include mental health and wellbeing, alcohol and other drugs, youth development, marginality and decoloniality. He has been involved and invited to author over 60 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, scholarly book chapters, research reports, and opinion pieces. He is passionate about creating and implementing social work educational and research approaches that are engaging and engaged.

Nuanced with a genuine commitment to the dynamic inclusion of cultural diversity and its differences, Jioji is super keen to create collaborative spaces for students, community groups and services. He is involved in various community-based research and co-design initiatives, including projects that support health literacies across equity groups, enhancing service delivery models for young people and their families, promoting the involvement of diversity in educational settings and supporting the meaningful inclusion of indigenous perspectives and practices.

The team also extends its gratitude to previous members of our research advisory group including Professor Anthony Shakeshaft and A/Prof Isle Blignault.

Our Research Program

The purpose of our research program is to ensure that young people are actively involved in the design of project content and it also provides a platform for young people to be advocating for their own support needs around alcohol and other drugs.

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Diversity Advisory Group

Hannah Gillard

Hannah is currently a Project Coordinator at the Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (NADA). Hannah is also a part time doctoral researcher in Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. Notably, Hannah is about to finish her PhD on LGBTQ+ workplace diversity at the University of Sydney.

Hannah mentors young queer and trans people in her role as volunteer mentor with Out for Australia.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a trans advocate, Hannah is excited to contribute to, and learn from the diversity and inclusion work being performed at Youth Solutions.

Joseph Ratuvou

Joseph is a first generation born Australian Fijian who lived in Campbelltown for over 20 years.

Joseph has an innate passion for helping people (specifically young people) who may not have any support around them to find the best in themselves and to encourage their success.

Joseph’s primary love is his family, followed by music (all genres), fishing, and the odd Netflix series.

Joseph holds a Diploma of Youth Work as well as a Certificate IV in Training, Assessment and Evaluation. He is currently studying his Bachelor of Social Work.

Joseph holds the position of Team Leader Dunlea Alcohol and Drug Youth Service & Hunter Valley Youth Services at Youth Off the Streets, and is also a Community Services Teacher at TAFE NSW.

Joseph looks forward to sharing his knowledge and maintaining best practice methodologies in the AOD sector.

Karen Yuen

Karen joined the Youth Solutions team in September 2013 and currently holds the position of Community Development & Partnerships Coordinator. Karen is an experienced group work facilitator, and is passionate about working with young people to empower them to make informed life choices.

In 2011 – 2013, Karen led the development of the Me-Power Community Resource; a ‘how-to-guide’ for facilitating life skills workshops for young people. Karen’s commitment to giving back to the local community is evident through her volunteer work for World Vision NSW, YWCA NSW, The Smith Family, the Australian League of Immigration Volunteers (ALIV) and the Chinese Parents Association (Children with Disabilities) Inc.

May Jouni

May is currently studying a Bachelor of Counselling. She has over 13 years of experience working as a Teacher’s Aide and Community Liaison Officer.

At present, May works at Lurnea High School as a Community Liaison Officer. She enjoys helping and supporting people regardless of their colour, race. or ethnicity. A primary focus for May is ensuring that people feel comfortable in her presence.

May has received many accolades for her contributions to her community, including the LMA Award for Community Programs, an Arabic Community Award, and the Granville MP Award.

May is excited to make more connections through her volunteer role, both with peers and the community.

Pacific Resources

We have recently developed a mini campaign series with three posters to help Pacific Islander communities to support themselves, their friends and their family (including their community too). The aim of this campaign is to equip the Pacific community with knowledge and confidence to support others and ask for support when needed.

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Our Reconciliation Action Plan

Youth Solutions is proud to share our 2022 – 2023 Youth Solutions Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Developed with our team and Reconciliation Australia, the aim of the RAP is to ensure our programs and services are culturally appropriate and inclusive.

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