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Professor Donna Cross

Professor Donna Cross is a Professor with the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Western Australia and Head of the Health Promotion and Education research program at the Telethon Kids Institute where she leads a large team of researchers who develop and test strategies to promote children’s and adolescents’, and their families’ health and wellbeing.

In 2020 she was appointed Western Australian Node Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course; a seven-year $32m project focussed on producing and trialling innovative policy and practice to address deep and persistent disadvantage and improving life-course outcomes for Australian children and families. 

She was the foundation Professor of Child and Adolescent Health at the Edith Cowan University Child Health Promotion Research Centre (CHPRC) and is an internationally-renown academic, having contributed to research in the USA, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Japan and Israel.

Professor Cross’ research has also included extensive school-based health promotion research. She has published on child health issues related to drug use, nutrition, road safety, smoking and bullying prevention. Professor Cross has worked to improve the health of our young people through leading over 80 applied school, digital technology and community-based research projects with a focus on transferring knowledge from research evidence into policy and practice, and bridging the gap between university research and school and community programs.

A commitment to drawing the community’s attention to the importance of investing in actions to strengthen the health and resilience of children is at the core of Professor Cross’s work. She champions positive, whole-school and community approaches to children’s wellbeing.

Professor Cross’ scholarly contribution to children’s health research has been recognised by many university, state and national awards. She was awarded the 2012 WA Australian of the Year Award, and also received the 2012 Future Justice Prize for Australian leadership and initiative in the advancement of future justice. Professor Cross was also a finalist in the 2011 WA Citizen of the Year Awards and the 2017 WA Scientist of the Year. In 2016 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and an NHMRC Research Fellowship, and in 2015 she was inducted as a fellow to the Australia Academy of Health and Medical Science.