Dr Sharon Brennan-Olsen is a Senior Research Fellow, supported by a National Health and Medical Research Counicl (NHMRC, of Australia) Career Development Fellowship, with the Department of Medicine-Western Health, University of Melbourne, and Program Director of 'Social Epidemiology and Population Health' with the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS). She holds a current position on the Women in Bone and Mineral Science Committee for the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, and the Research and Research Training Committee for the Faulty of Medicine, Dentristry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne.
Her research focuses on understanding the role of social determinants in musculoskeletal disease onset and progression, and the related social gradient of health service utilisation. Recently, her program of research has expanded to encompass the nexus between social factors and biological pathways in musculoskeletal diseases. She is strongly focused on knowledge translation, and actively collaborates with disadvantaged communities during all stages of the research process; a recent example in 2013 is a public event coinciding with World Osteoporosis Day. She played a key role in a 2013 Dissemination and Implementation Science forum for leading academics, key policy makers and Directors of non-Government organizations concerned with improving public health in Australia.
Since 2006 Dr Brennan-Olsen has published >100 articles in peer-reviewed journals (>30 as first author). She has been involved in attracting research grants exceeding $2.8million, in addition to her NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (2016-19), NHMRC Early Career Fellowship (2011-14) and NHMRC PhD Scholarship (2008-10). She is the recipient of a number of awards, the most recent including the Professor Philip Sambrook Award, Osteoporosis Australia/Australia and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society (2015), Vice-Chancellor’s Early Researcher Award for Excellent Contributions, Deakin University (2014), the Annual President’s Poster Award, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (2013), a Dyason Fellowship, The University of Melbourne (2012), an Early Career Researcher of the Year, Geelong Research Network (2012), and the RM Gibson Scientific Research Award, Australian Association of Gerontology (2011).
She has provided comment on a number of (inter)national documents including the 2012 Rio Declaration, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the 2013 NHMRC Research Translation Faculty focus on arthritis/musculoskeletal conditions, and the 2012 update to the Health Inequities Policy for the Public Health Association of Australia. She was the key tutor for the Epidemiology Unit, the Institute of Koori Education, Deakin University and the Melbourne Academic Consortium, 2006-10. Dr Brennan-Olsen also developed and coordinated the Social Research and Methods Unit for the Gordon Technical College, 2005-8.
Dr Brennan-Olsen is a dedicated research mentor, currently supervising a team comprising PhD students (all of whom have received research-related scholarships, awards and/or prizes), research assistants, and volunteers. She established the Research Seminar Series for Barwon Health/Deakin University in 2012 and continues to coordinate the speakers’ program.