Dr Cameron Duff's work explores complex health and social problems in urban settings.
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My name's Cameron Duff and I am a Research Fellow in the School of Management, the Global Cities Research Institute in the College of Business.
I'm interested in complex health and social problems in cities. The research to date has primarily looked at people recovering from addiction problems, from mental health problems, from an experience of homelessness. And I'm interested in the sorts of social supports, the kind of informal supports if you like that can help people recover from addiction problems for example or to recover from an episode of mental illness or a period of homelessness.
I had an experience working in Vancouver for a number of years managing mental health services for a health authority which was fabulous but what I saw from that experience was that typically health authorities, welfare agencies are only able to support people for fairly limited periods of time.
I think researchers are always trying to think about "How can we tailor the work that we do in a way that's going to make service delivery in my case, more effective?" So I've been really interested in partnering with agencies like Mind Australia with Hanover Welfare Services, with agencies like that to try and think about – there's a - if you like there's a point in service delivery where we typically kind of step down if you like the delivery of care.
The appeal here at RMIT was about the interdisciplinarity of the research effort. I think some of the really enduring social and health problems require a much greater input from a larger number of research disciplines I think. So I was really attracted here at RMIT to the idea of working with teams of scholars from different disciplines to tackle these sorts of social problems from lots of different perspectives at once. I'm a researcher and so the idea of being able to work for another four years in a research intensive position was incredibly attractive. I think there's no greater luxury for a researcher than time.
You really need this kind of support I think to be able to maintain research agendas over long periods of time so you can begin developing a program of interest, learning from - from pilot studies, developing larger grant applications, drawing together networks of scholars so those grant applications are more likely to be successful. Those things take time.
It really - I hope it reflects the university's desire to pursue innovation across all areas of social policy and if I think about my own area of interest then really I think innovation and delivery of community based healthcare is critically important. So I would hope that my work will contribute to innovation in that respect.
The other thing that's really attractive is the support the university has shown for – for ongoing positions at the conclusion of a fellowship. I think that's – again for researchers we're very used to relatively short fixed term appointments and I know that's the way of the world to a large extent but I think the support that RMIT has shown for building research careers, by giving people time to develop a coherent research program and then offering them support at the conclusion of the fellowship so they can maintain that work. Having the confidence knowing that there's a degree of continuity with the employment I think is really appealing.
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