Dr Erin Walsh

Bsc (science: psychology) w/hons I | Bsc (science) | PhD
Senior research fellow
ANU College of Health and Medicine

Areas of expertise

  • Visual Arts 3606
  • Neurosciences Not Elsewhere Classified 320999
  • Data Visualisation And Computational (Incl. Parametric And Generative) Design 330301
  • Public Health 4206
  • Psychological Methodology, Design And Analysis 520105
  • Psychology Of Ageing 520106

Research interests

  • Visual brokerage
  • Research methodology
  • Healthy ageing
  • Neurobiology-personality-environment interactions as determinants of wellbeing
  • Data visualization
  • Scientific illustration



Erin Walsh is a senior research with the Population Health Exchange (PHXchange).

Dr Erin Walsh is a research fellow at the Population Health Exchange (PHXchange), Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH), ANU. She completed her PhD in self-report psychological research methods in 2015, and subsequently has led projects involving both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis.

Her current focus is the use of visualisation as a tool for communicating population health information, with ongoing interests in cross-disciplinary methodological synthesis.

Alongside research, she works as a scientific illustrator, offering assistance with stimuli preparation, data visualization, and figure preparation for scholarly publication or engaging the general public with science.

Researcher's projects

  • Headspace workforce survey data analysis
  • Digging Deeper: Exploring the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on social connectedness and mental health
  • Our Health in Our Hands (OHIOH) Grand Challenge Project
  • Young People’s Journeys around Mental Health and Medical Services Study (JAMMed)
  • Young Australians’ reproductive choices in relation to Climate Change
  • Physical Activity for Better Health and Drive (PhABHeaD)
  • Healthy-Air: pollution advice for people with asthma

Available student projects

Suitable for honors

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect people's daily lives, adherence to health guidelines and prosocial behaviour continues to be important. There is a growing body of research investigating the link between demographic factors (e.g. age, sex, socioeconomic status, geographical location) and engagement in COVID-19 related prosocial behaviour. However, there has been comparatively little research attention paid to the role of individual characteristics. One likely important characteristic is personality.

This project will address two key questions:

  • Are particular personality profiles reliably associated with lower engagement in prosocial COVID-19 related behaviours as the pandemic continues?
  • What forms of communications, or communication strategies, are most suitable to encourage prosocial behaviour for different personality profiles?

When addressing these questions, the interested student will be supported to lead the following tasks:

  • Understanding, selecting, and justifying the use of a measure of personality on the basis of psychological theory
  • The operationalisation of prosocial (e.g. mask wearing) or antisocial (e.g. stockpiling) COVID-19 behaviours
  • Study design. Options include quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews, or some combination of the two.
  • Obtaining ethical approval
  • Data collection and analysis. Analysis will be undertaken in R; no prior experience is required
  • Synthesis of findings with studies from the psychology, population health, and science communication literatures

It is expected this project will lead to a scholarly publication after thesis submission. The student may chose to lead this process with the support of the supervisor, or join this publication as a later author.


Suitable for internships or medical school projects

This project is well suited to students with an interest in coding and data-driven approaches to literature synthesis. Students will learn the process of conducting citation network analysis via PubMed, CitNetExplorer and R. This will focus on the visual communication of a particular population health topic of choice (current priority areas are COVID-19 vaccination, bushfire smoke, the impact of natural disasters on mental health and community resilience). At the internship level, students will be provided a topic and scope, and will conduct and interpret a citation network analysis. At the med school project level, students will be involved in the design of the concept, search strategy, and following citation network analysis and interpretation. At all levels, students may choose if they wish to join the PHXchange team in writing a publication based (in part or whole) on their work.


Suitable for internships or medical school projects

This project is well suited to students with an interest in the visual communication of science and health facts. They will learn about this, and the process of designing and conducting self-report research. No prior experience in any of these domains is required. The student will be involved in running a small study which compares people's engagement, recall, and learning from health messages presented in a variety of forms, including infographics and text. Depending on their preference they can learn the appropriate analyses, or have them provided. The student will work with the researcher to interpret the findings, and if they choose can join the PHXchange team in writing a publication based (in part or whole) on their project.


Suitable for honours or masters

This extended project is a combination of rapid review and short project, where a student will select a population health topic in consultation with the PHXchange team and complete (a) a rapid review and/or citation network analysis of the state of the art of how it is communicated, with an emphasis on visuals, and (b) design and implement a study which compares people's engagement, recall, and learning regarding the population health topic on the basis of knowledge gained from (a). It is expected that this project will result in a standalone

scholarly publication, a process which the student can chose to either lead, or join the PHXchange team in writing as a junior author.


Suitable for internship, medical school projects, honours, or Masters

This project is well suited to students with an interest in novel methods of engaging community with population health concepts, including topics such as misinformation and contact tracing. At the internship and medical school project level, students will be provided with data surrounding already designed communications (e.g. exhibit, event or other outreach) to explore, analyse and interpret. At the honours and Masters level, students will additionally be expected to develop and design further study on the basis of what this data shows, either by experimentally altering the communication or implementing new methods to evaluate the communication. At all levels, if the student chooses they can join the PHXchange team in writing a scholarly publication based (in part or whole) on their work.


Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  16 April 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers