Dr Maryke Steffens BSc/BA, Grad. Cert. Journalism, MPH, PhD
Research Fellow, Social Science

Maryke joined NCIRS in November 2019. Her research interests include challenges to health promotion and communication presented by today’s changing media landscape, and strategies to improve vaccination communication. Maryke completed her PhD with Macquarie University’s Australian Institute of Health Innovation in 2021. Her research focused on strategies to address poor quality vaccination information and misinformation on social media and in other types of written communication. Maryke completed a Master of Public Health at The University of Sydney in 2015 and has a background in science and health communication and journalism. She has previously worked as a media and communications officer for various health and research-oriented organisations, and as a health and science reporter for media outlets, including the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Dr Kasia Bolsewicz MPH, PhD
Research Fellow, Social Science

Kasia joined NCIRS in 2019. She brings a doctoral-level qualifications and work experience in qualitative research methods and public health, social and behavioural sciences, and a cross-cultural background in chronic illness management research (cancer, HIV, dementia), public health policy and evaluation. She is passionate about capacity building and has experience in teaching and training for various audiences, including culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Kasia has also been working with four local health districts in NSW using the World Health Organization’s Tailoring Immunization Programmes to identify areas of low childhood vaccine coverage and to gain a greater understanding of factors that influence childhood immunisation. 

Dr Ikram Abdi BMedSci, MPH, PhD
Senior Research Officer, Social Science

Ikram joined NCIRS in June 2021. She completed her PhD at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 2021 where she explored the barriers to and facilitators of vaccine uptake in refugee and migrant communities in Australia. She also holds Bachelor of Medical Science and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Sydney. Ikram has previously worked as a research officer for multiple projects at the School of Population Health at UNSW and as a facilitator in the UNSW undergraduate medicine program. Her research interests include exploring barriers to immunisation experienced by different populations and improving vaccine communication to these populations. She is passionate about health equity and conducting research that drives policy change at national and international levels to improve health outcomes for population subgroups.  

Kathleen Prokopovich BHSc(Diag. Cytology), MPH
Research Officer – Social Science

Kathleen joined NCIRS in January 2023 as a Research Officer in Social Science.She holds a Master of Public Health and is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Wollongong. 

Her PhD is focused on the use of research partnerships and community engagement to explore how a culturally and linguistically diverse community engages with school and HPV vaccination.

She has previously worked as a research assistant at the Australian Centre for Health Engagement, Evidence and Values (University of Wollongong) working on deliberative democratic and dialogue projects to explore what matters to people in regard to healthcare. Kathleen is interested in exploring how ‘trust’ influences immunisation-related beliefs and attitudes and is passionate about addressing barriers to health equity.

Bianca Bullivant BPsych(Hons), MRes
Research Officer, Social Science

Bianca joined NCIRS in July 2018. She holds Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) and Master of Research (Human Sciences) degrees from Macquarie University. Bianca has previously worked as a research assistant at Macquarie University, working on a qualitative project on eating disorders and obesity health literacy. At NCIRS, she supports the Social Science Unit's research projects and collaborations, including SKAI (Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation) and COSSI (Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation). She is interested in immunisation-related beliefs and attitudes of parents and healthcare professionals.

Last updated May 2023