Associate Professor Anna Olsen

Sc/BA(Hons), PhD
Associate Professor in Social Foundations of Medicine ANU Medical School

Associate Professor Olsen teaches in Social Foundations of Medicine at the ANU Medical School. Her interdisciplinary program of research combines practical and critical approaches to public health, with a particular interest in marginalised populations and qualitative methodologies. Current research includes: pill testing; opioid overdose prevention; methamphetamine use; drug use and motherhood; domestic and family violence; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health; and ethical practice in social research. She values collaborative approaches to research and has extensive experience working with government and community on evaluation and research projects. Associate Professor Olsen teaches and supervises post-graduate students across anthropology, medicine, public health and psychology.

Research interests

  • Sociological Methodology And Research Methods
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology
  • Social Program Evaluation
  • Public Health And Health Services
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Gender Specific Studies

Researcher's projects

- Evaluation of Australia's first Pill Testing trial

- Overdose prevention and take-home naloxone

- Methamphetamine use among long term opioid users

- Governing parental drug use

- Ethical practice and legal requirements in social research

- Responses to family and domestic violence

- Wellbeing in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

- Policy responses to parents who use drugs

- Medical school student attitudes to people who use drugs

Current student projects

Potenial PhD Projects

  • Opioid overdose and naloxone
  • Older people's opioid use
  • Women, motherhood and drug use
  • Australian researchers' understanding of ethical practice as it relates to criminal activity and the law
  • Hepatitis C treatment experience and access for people who inject drugs
  • Family violence and Indigenous communitites
  • Family violence, alcohol and drug use

Potenial MPH and Honours Projects

  • Pharmacists provision of harm reduction service to people who use illicit drugs. A thematic analysis (qualitative) of interviews with pharmacists about their supply of opioid overdose prevention drugs.
  • Australian researchers' understanding of ethical practice as it relates to criminal activity and the law. A (qualitative) review of the literature and/or analysis of interviews with researchers. 
  • Stigma, motherhood and drug use. A (qualitative) framing analysis of media representations of women who use drugs and who are mothers.
  • Tse, W, Djordjevic, F, Borja, V et al. 2022, 'Does naloxone provision lead to increased substance use? A systematic review to assess if there is evidence of a ‘moral hazard’ associated with naloxone supply', International Journal of Drug Policy, vol. 100.
  • Zhao, Y, Leach, L, Walsh, E et al. 2022, 'COVID-19 and mental health in Australia – a scoping review', BMC Public Health, vol. 22, no. 1200.
  • Stone, L & Olsen PhD, A 2022, 'Illness uncertainty and risk management for people with cancer', Australian Journal of General Practice, vol. 51, no. 5, pp. 321-326.
  • Williamson Smith, R, Banwell, C, Calear, A et al. 2022, 'Bushfire Smoke in Our Eyes: Community Perceptions and Responses to an Intense Smoke Event in Canberra, Australia', Frontiers in Public Health, vol. 10, pp. 1-11.
  • Nielsen, S & Olsen PhD, A 2021, 'Using the behaviour change wheel to understand and address barriers to pharmacy naloxone supply in Australia', International Journal of Drug Policy, vol. 90.
  • McKenna, S, Olsen PhD, A & Pasalich, D 2021, 'Understanding Strengths in Adolescent Parent Relationships: A Qualitative Analysis of Adolescent Speech Samples', Journal of Research on Adolescence, vol. 32, no. 3.
  • Rahman, K., Olsen, A., Harley, D. et al. (2021) 'Early diagnosis of kala-azar in Bangladesh: Findings from a population based mixed methods research informing the post-elimination era', Parasitology International, 85, 1-11.
  • Lovett, R, Brinckley, M, Phillips, B et al. 2020, 'In the beginning it was our people's law. What makes us well; to never be sick. Cohort profile of Mayi Kuwayu: the National Study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Wellbeing', Australian Aboriginal Studies, vol. 2020, no. 2, pp. 8-30.
  • Whittaker, A, Martin, F, Olsen PhD, A et al. 2020, 'Governing Parental Drug Use in the UK: What's Hidden in "Hidden Harm?"', Contemporary Drug Problems, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 170-187.
  • Guthrie, J, Thurber, K, Lovett, R et al. 2020, 'The answers were there before white man come in': stories of strength and resilience for responding to violence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities - Family Community Safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Study Report.
  • Truong, M, Sharif, M, Pasalich, D et al. 2020, Faith-based communities’ responses to family and domestic violence.
  • Thurber, K, Colonna, E, Wells, S et al. 2020, 'Data for action: The Family and Community Safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (FaCtS) Study', International Journal for Equity in Health, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 1-10.
  • Lovett, R, Brinckley, M, Phillips, B et al. 2020, 'Marrathalpu mayingku ngiya kiyi. Minyawaa ngiyani yata punmalaka; wangaaypu kirrampili kara [Ngiyampaa title]; In the beginning it was our people's law. What makes us well; to never be sick. Cohort profile of Mayi Kuwayu: The National Study of Aboriginal a', Australian Aboriginal Studies, no. 2, pp. 8-30.
  • Alam, M, Banwell, C, Olsen PhD, A et al. 2019, 'Patients' and doctors' perceptions of a mobile phone-based consultation service for maternal, neonatal, and infant health care in bangladesh: A mixed-methods study', JMIR mHealth and uHealth, vol. 7, no. 4, p. 21.
  • Brown, R, Muller, T & Olsen PhD, A 2019, 'Australian women's cervical cancer screening attendance as a function of screening barriers and facilitators', Social Science and Medicine, vol. 220, pp. 396-402pp.
  • Alam, M, Banwell, C, Olsen PhD, A et al. 2019, 'Patients and doctors perception on utility of Telemedicine service for maternal and child healthcare in Bangladesh: a qualitative exploratory study', JMIR Mental Health, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. -.
  • Joyce Chun, K, Olsen PhD, A, Taing, M et al. 2019, 'How prepared are pharmacists to provide over-the-counter naloxone? The role of previous education and new training opportunities', Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, vol. 15, no. 8, pp. 1014-1020.
  • Olsen PhD, A, Lawton, B, Dwyer, R et al. 2019, 'Why aren't Australian pharmacists supplying naloxone? Findings from a qualitative study', International Journal of Drug Policy, vol. 69, pp. 46-52.
  • Olsen, A, Dilkes-Frayne, E, Wong, G et al 2019, Pill testing trial in the ACT: Evaluation.
  • Olsen, A, Wong, G & McDonald, D 2019, ACT Pill Testing Trial 2019: Program evaluation.
  • Dietze, P, Draper, B, Olsen PhD, A et al. 2018, 'Does training people to administer take-home naloxone increase their knowledge? Evidence from Australian programs', Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 472-479pp.
  • Dwyer, R, Olsen PhD, A, Fowlie, C et al. 2018, 'An overview of take-home naloxone programs in Australia', Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 440-449.
  • Jones, R, Thurber, K, Chapman, J et al. 2018, 'Study protocol: Our Cultures Count, the Mayi Kuwayu Study, a national longitudinal study of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing', BMJ Open, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 1-7.
  • Olsen PhD, A, Dwyer, R & Lenton, S 2018, 'Take-home naloxone in Australia and beyond', Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 437-439pp.
  • Thurber, K, Olsen PhD, A, Guthrie, J et al 2018, ''Telling our story. Creating our own history': Caregivers' reasons for participating in an Australian longitudinal study of Indigenous children, International Journal for Equity in Health, vol. 17, no. 143, pp. 15pp.
  • Olsen PhD, A, McDonald, D, Lenton, S et al. 2017, 'Assessing causality in drug policy analyses: How useful are the Bradford Hill criteria in analysing take-home naloxone programs?', Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. -, no. -, pp. 1-3pp.
  • Dietze, P, Stare , M, Cogger, S et al. 2017, 'Knowledge of naloxone and take-home naloxone programs among a sample of people who inject drugs in Australia: Variations across capital cities', Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 37, no. 4, pp. 457-463.
  • Mooney-Somers, J & Olsen PhD, A 2016, 'Ethical review and qualitative research competence: Guidance for reviewers and applicants', Research Ethics, vol. Online, pp. 1-11pp.
  • Olsen PhD, A & Lovett, R 2016, Existing knowledge, practice and responses to violence against women in Australian Indigenous communities: State of knowledge paper.
  • Olsen A & Lovett R. (2016). Existing knowledge, practice and responses to violence against women in Australian Indigenous communities: Key findings and future directions. Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety: Sydney, New South Wales.
  • Tran, T, Olsen PhD, A, Viennet, E et al. 2015, 'Social sustainability of Mesocyclops biological control for dengue in South Vietnam', Acta Tropica, vol. 141, no. Pt A, pp. 54-59.
  • Scott, R, Foster, R, Oliver, L et al. 2015, 'Sexual risk and healthcare seeking behaviour in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in North Queensland', Sexual Health, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 194-199pp.
  • Dietze, P, Cogger, S, Malandkar, D et al 2015, Knowledge of naloxone and take-home naloxone programs among a sample of people who inject drugs in Australia. Drug Trends Bulletin, Sydney
  • Duvnjak, A, Morrison, E, Madden, A et al 2015, No One Likes Using the Dirties: A Study into the Re-use of Injecting Equipment in Australia AIVL, Canberra
  • Ferguson, C, Higgs, P & Olsen, A 2015, 'External Jugular venipuncture and other innovative approaches to phlebotomy among people who inject drugs', Nursing and Health Sciences, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 539-541.
  • Lenton, S, Dietze, P, Olsen A et al 2014, 'Working together: Expanding the availability of naloxone for peer administration to prevent opioid overdose deaths in the Australian Capital Territory and beyond', Drug and Alcohol Review.
  • Olsen A 2014, 'Punishing parents: Child removal in the context of drug use', Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 27-30.
  • Olsen, A, Higgs, P & Maher, L 2015, 'A review of qualitative research in Drug and Alcohol Review', Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 34, pp. 474-476.
  • Olsen, A, McDonald, D, Lenton, S et al 2015, Independent evaluation of the 'Implementing Expanded Naloxone Availability in the ACT (I-ENAACT)' Program, 2011-2014 Burnet, Melbourne
  • Rahman, K., Samarawickrema, I., Harley, D. et al 2015, 'Performance of Kala-Azar Surveillance in Gaffargaon Subdistrict of Mymensingh, Bangladesh', PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 1-9.
  • Fox, S & Olsen, A 2014, Education capital: Our evidence base defining parental engagement ARACY Canberra
  • Olsen A & Mooney-Somers, J 2014, 'Is there a problem with the status quo? Debating the need for standalone ethical guidelines for research with people who use alcohol and other drugs', Drug and Alcohol Review, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 337-342.
  • Olsen A, Banwell, C & Madden, A 2014, 'Contraception, punishment and women who use drugs', BMC Women's Health, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 5/1-8.
  • Olsen A, Wallace, J & Maher, L 2014, 'Responding to Australia's National Hepatitis B Strategy 2010-13: gaps in knowledge and practice in relation to Indigenous Australians', Australian Journal of Primary Health, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 134-142.
  • Rahman, K., Olsen A., Harley, D. et al 2014, 'Kala-azar in pregnancy in Mymensingh, Bangladesh: a social autopsy', PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, vol. 8, no. 5.
  • Olsen A & Banwell, C 2013, 'Context and environment: The value of considering lay epidemiology', in Cathy Banwell, Stanley Ulijaszek and Jane Dixon (ed.), When Culture Impacts Health: Global Lessons for Effective Health Research, Elsevier, USA, pp. 85-93.
  • Olsen A, Banwell C, Dance P. (2013) Reinforced biographies among women living with hepatitis C. Qualitative Health Research. 23(4): 531 - 540.
  • Olsen A, Banwell C. Context and environment: The value of considering lay epidemiology (in press) In Banwell C, Ulijaszek S, Dixon J. (eds). When culture impacts health: Global lessons from Asia and Australasia for effective health. Philadelphia: Elsevier.
  • Olsen A, Temple-Smith M, Banwell C. (in press) Consideration of gender in diagnosis and management of blood-borne viruses: the case of hepatitis C. Australian Journal of Primary Health.
  • Mooney-Somers, J, Olsen PhD, A, Erick, W et al. 2012, 'Young Indigenous Australians' Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention Practices: A Community-based Participatory Research Project', Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 519-532.
  • Mooney-Somers J, Olsen A, Erick W, Scott R, Akee A, Maher L. (on behalf of the Indigenous Resiliency Project). (2012). Young Indigenous Australianâ??s sexually transmitted infection prevention practices: A Community-based Participatory Research project. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology 22(6): 519â??532.
  • Olsen, A, Banwell, C, Dance, P et al 2012, 'Positive health beliefs and behaviours in the midst of difficult lives: Women who inject drugs', International Journal of Drug Policy, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 312-318.
  • Mooney-Somers, J, Olsen PhD, A, Erick, W et al. 2011, 'Learning from the past: young Indigenous people's accounts of blood-borne viral and sexually transmitted infections as resilience narratives', Culture, Health and Sexuality, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 173-186.
  • Mooney-Somers J, Olsen A, Erick W, Scott R, Akee A, Kaldor J & Maher L. (on behalf of the Indigenous Resiliency Project). (2011) Learning from the past: young Indigenous peopleâ??s accounts of blood-borne viral and sexually transmitted infections as resilience narratives. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 13(2): 173 - 186.
  • Reeder L, Ekersley R & Olsen A. (2010). The Australian Youth Forum asks the next big question: Report to the Minister for Early Childhood, Education, Childcare and Youth. Australia21: Canberra, ACT.
  • Olsen A. (2007). Sexual and reproductive health â??choiceâ??: Women living with contraception. International Journal of Public Health. 52(4): 195-196
  • Olsen A. (2005) Women and Hepatitis C: What about Sexual and Reproductive Health? Journal of Health Issues. 84: 7-8
  • Banwell, C, Dance, P, Olsen, A et al 2009, 'It Fucks Your Insides Up: The Effects of Australian Urban Women's Opoid Use on Their Sexual and Reproductive Functioning', Women's Health & Urban Life, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 14-27.
  • Olsen, A 2009, 'Consuming e: Ecstasy use and contemporary social life', Contemporary Drug Problems, vol. 36, no. 1/2, pp. 175-191.
  • Olsen, A, Banwell, C & Dance, P 2009, 'Internal or Infernal Devices: Experiences of Contraception Among Australian Women Living With Hepatitis C', Health Care for Women International, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 456-474.
  • Olsen, A, Dixon, J, Banwell, C et al 2009, 'Weighing it up: the missing social inequalities dimension in Australian obesity policy discourse', Health Promotion Journal of Australia, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 167-171.

Master of Culture, Health and Medicine course