I’m a Senior Research Fellow and Systems Practitioner at the Centre for the Business and Economics of Health at The University of Queensland. My expertise is in system dynamics design methods and systems engineering tools. I work with industry partners to run policymaking workshops and build co-designed systems maps and simulation models in health and other disciplines. This work is aimed at improving on-the-ground decisions and minimising unintended consequences of policy – for example, using flow modelling to inform when and if to cancel elective surgery based on the capacity to manage anticipated COVID related hospital demand.

In my research projects, I particularly like to use the participatory system dynamics process known as group model building (GMB) because it uses both the cumulative expertise of industry stakeholders with knowledge created from understanding the patterns in data and other longitudinal studies in a workshop process that leads participants to a shared understanding of complex problems. The outcome is a time-based systemic view of the interactions involved in complex business decisions and a strategic perspective on how best to optimise the management of a business’s resources. The tools put the insights from modelling directly in the hands of decision-makers.

Strengthening my research skillset is 25 years of corporate finance experience in both public and private enterprise. In addition, I have extensive experience on governance boards. Previously, I was Board Chair of St Joseph’s Nudgee College, and more recently, I became a Director of the Edmund Rice Education Australia Board, the governing body for 55 schools across Australia.

Research interests

Patient flow simulation models for emergency departments: with significant and sustained increases in demand for emergency care, a system dynamics patient flow model is a computer-aided approach to simulate system behaviour and test what works best to alleviate pain points.

The Australian red meat supply industry: System Dynamics provides a powerful tool that can be used to quantify and inform the environmental impacts of different innovation agendas (e.g., blended and artificial meats) in the red meat industry as they pursue carbon neutrality.

Urban Indigenous communities and COVID-19: the participatory systems dynamics approach (PSD) can inform a shared basis for action for pandemic planning in urban communities through a shared understanding of how the system structure is creating the behaviours driving the spread of infection. The efficacy of existing practices can be assessed, and levers can be identified to mitigate risks and deliver better outcomes.

Research impact

I led the systems thinking on First Nations-led research funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. This research involved running three professionally facilitated workshops to better understand the risks and mitigating factors for COVID-19 in urban First Nations communities. A key output was a shared understanding of the factors that drive COVID-19 infections in Urban Indigenous communities and what levers can help mitigate its spread. By exploring the relationship between system structure and behaviour, practitioners and policymakers gained a better understanding of how complex the health system was. They assessed the effectiveness of existing practices and identified, collaboratively, what levers they could pull to result in better behaviour patterns.

Recently, I worked with MLA Australia and the UQ Business School to co-design, develop and embed a system dynamics simulation model to compare the environmental footprints of traditional and artificial meat production systems. The MLA team intends to use the model to forecast herd growth and the impact of weather on herd size.

In partnership with the Mater Hospital, I’ve also built a system dynamics patient flow model of the Mater Public Emergency Department. This work has the potential to strengthen the health system by making transparent the relationship between resources and patient flow rates so that patient flow can be re-imagined to optimise patient acute care.

Featured project

Project titleFunding amountDuration
Using systems thinking to better understand risks and protective factors at play for urban Indigenous peoples during COVID-19
APPRISE Centre of Research Excellence
~$120k2021 - 2021


If you have an interest in using systems thinking approaches, please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.