Dr Anna Olsen PhD

BSc/BA (Hons), PhD
Senior Lecturer
ANU College of Health and Medicine
T: 02 6125 7864

Areas of expertise

  • Sociological Methodology And Research Methods 160807
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology 160104
  • Social Program Evaluation 160703
  • Public Health And Health Services 1117
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Health 111701
  • Infectious Diseases 110309
  • Gender Specific Studies 169901


Dr Olsen is a Senior Lecturer at the Research School of Population Health, ANU. She leads a number of public health research projects, teaches and supervises post-graduate students in public health, psychology, medicine and anthropology. Focussed on social science and public health research Dr Olsen has published in the fields of illicit drug use, women’s health, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and inequalities of health. Her theoretical background lies in the anthropology of health and illness, qualitative research methods and mixed methods. Her current research includes: drug overdose prevention; drug use and motherhood; domestic and family violence; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health; and ethical practice in social research. Dr Olsen was the recipient of a NHMRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 2010 and has been awarded a number of grants and consultancies in her specialised field. She values collaborative approaches to research and has extensive experience working with government and community on evaluation and research projects. Dr Olsen teaches qualitative research methods and has experience designing curriculum, developing higher education skills among teachers and convening programs. 

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 communitities

- 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. 


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Updated:  18 September 2019 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers