Community of scholars

A Community of Scholars is “a group of professionals, with a passion for successful scholarship, who collaborate in knowledge co-creation and dissemination” 1 (p.1).
1. Ramani S, McKimm J, Findyartini A, et al. Twelve tips for developing a global community of scholars in health professions education. Med Teach 2020:1-6. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2020.1839034

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Trauma Research Community of Scholars was established to support scholars in trauma-related research. We welcome those keen to connect to a supportive academic network that enables critical discussion of the challenges and successes of the research journey in this space. Our community is inclusive of post-graduate students, students supervised by CITR academics and those teaching or conducting research around trauma. The Community of Scholars takes a broad view of trauma, encompassing a wide range of understandings. We support our members in publishing research, academic writing, funding ideas and applications, PhD proposals and more. We regularly invite experts to share their knowledge at our monthly meetings. A key part of the Scholar meeting is the ‘check-in’ round where each person provides an update on where they are at, what they are working on, any challenges they have or successes to celebrate.

Our current projects

Improving primary care service delivery for those impacted by violence

Principal Investigator: Jane Koziol-McLain
Project Lead: Claire Gear
Funding: Health Research Council of New Zealand Health Delivery Project

This study seeks to make it easier for primary care professionals to respond to those experiencing or using violence. We work with primary care professionals to develop system pathways and tools to draw on across different scenarios and settings.

Integrated system responses for families impacted by violence: A pipe dream?

Principal Investigator: Claire Gear
Research Officer: Chien Ting
Funding: Health Research Council of New Zealand Health Delivery Activation Grant

This study conducts a literature scoping review to problematise an integrated approach to family violence service delivery. We explore literature to identify the elements of an integrated approach and system relationships that promote or challenge health service delivery.

Our members

Dr Claire Gear is a Research Fellow and the Family Violence Research Lead within the Centre for Interdisciplinary Trauma Research at AUT University. Based in Tauranga, she currently leads two Health Research Council of New Zealand funded studies to critique and strengthen responses to violence within families or whānau.

Claire has been involved in health care and family violence research in Aotearoa over the last 13 years, working across community and academic sectors. Her research focuses on primary care settings, partnering with health professionals to make it easier to respond to those experiencing, or using, violence. With a PhD in complexity theory, she is developing innovative research methodologies that align with the complexity of the problem under study. Her research demonstrates a strong commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori health equity, as advised by ongoing reciprocal research partnerships with Māori.

Claire presents and publishes in academic, health and policy forums internationally. She is a proud advocate and Collective Board Member of Tauranga Women’s Refuge.

Audrey Kusasira-Sutton

Audrey Kusasira-Sutton is a family therapist with clinical experience working in hospitals, OBGYN and fertility clinics, schools, Non-Governmental Organisations and private practice. She is passionate about evidence-based treatment models particularly in trauma care, developing structures that support the psychological wellbeing of healthcare workers and life span issues. Her current research project investigates child abuse victims, their caregivers and clinicians experience of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT).


Chris Han

Chris Han is a registered oral health therapist and lecturer within the Department of Oral Health (AUT). His research focuses on the wellbeing of Tamariki in Aotearoa and the role of oral health practitioners in child protection. His current research project investigates ways to improve responsiveness of oral health practitioners to child abuse and neglect in a dental setting. As a lecturer, Chris is a part of the oral health team providing undergraduate training to oral health therapy students.


Ayesha Scott

Ayesha is an interdisciplinary researcher, with an agenda that spans violence against women, empirical finance, personal finance and financial econometrics. Passionate about healthy financial relationships and an advocate against economic harm in intimate relationships, Ayesha has partnered with charitable trust Good Shepherd NZ to promote financial and relationship wellbeing for all Kiwis.


Chien Ju Ting

Chien’s PhD investigated the Taiwanese government’s plans for Indigenous language revitalisation in Taiwan. At the moment, she is working with the CITR team completing a scoping review on integrated health service delivery and its connection in supporting victims of family violence with a focus on Indigenous health equity. Aside from her role as a research officer within the CITR team, Chien is a lecturer teaching academic writing in the School of Language and Culture (AUT). Chien has also worked with refugee students for many years within the AUT refugee literacy and numeracy programme.


Rebecca Jarden

Rebecca is a registered nurse and critical care lecturer with the Department of Nursing, University of Melbourne. Rebecca’s research focusses on the wellbeing of nurses, from entry to practice education through to their professional life. Her PhD explored critical care nurse wellbeing (AUT University, 2015-2019) and her currently work has extended this research to investigate the mental health continuum in Victorian student and new graduate nurses (supported by a Rosemary Bryant Foundation grant). Rebecca works with the graduate entry nursing research collaboration investigating student motivations and experiences.


  • Dr Zoe Tipa
  • Chris Cowley
  • Bonny Mathe Helms
  • Shona Miriam McLeod
  • Tina He Yumei
  • Professor Jackie Feather
  • Professor Jane Koziol-McLain
  • Te Wai Barbarich-Unasa
  • Faith Musiyamhanje
  • Olivia Taylor
  • Kay Syminton
  • Professor Zac Morse
  • Dr Bronwyn Tunnage

Our research

We support and conduct trauma research that contributes to the health and wellbeing of people living in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as contributes to the international understanding of trauma and health.

Find out more