Dr Maree Higgins, early career researcher, has expertise in human rights research with difficult to reach populations including people with disability, older people, young people and people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. She has a strong record of service provider and consumer collaboration. She is currently collaborating with the Prince of Wales Hospital to improve the patient journey into residential aged care and with the Forensic Hospital to improve service provision and policies for patients with serious mental illness. In 2018 she produced a conceptual and linguistic framework for communicating about human rights and in 2020 she was part of a team that developed online training about sexual misconduct for students engaged in university internships. Dr Higgins work has focused her on how people's cultures and lived experiences shape their understandings of human rights, significant life transitions and wellbeing, and how poetry, metaphor and storytelling can convey meaning in intercultural practice and research towards meaningful change. She is currently part of a project focusing on missing girls, a second on ethics and a third on lived experience of people from refugee backgrounds with disability. Dr Higgins currently supervises 2 PhD candidates, one examining the lived experience of forensic patients with serious mental illness and another examining the impact of digital technologies in reducing social inequities and fostering inclusiveness between workers and people with disability.
Dr Higgins has over 10 years’ experience as a social worker in clinical and management roles in cross-cultural contexts including refugee and asylum seeker services, youth services and international aid and 12 years’ experience in field education and team management. She is the Convenor of the Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) at UNSW.