Karen Martin

Dr, BSc PhD W.Aust.

  • The University of Western Australia (M500), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


I am an Associate Professor Adjunct at The University of Western Australia. My particular passion is promoting trauma-informed and restorative practices to assist with positive behaviours and healthy communities. I have managed to mobilise a group of similarly passionate people to assist with this massive task.

The Thoughtful Schools Research Team

Our research team comprises academics from population health, education and psychology from IUniversity of Tasmania, UWA, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University and Monash University. With a focus on capacity building, our team includes PhD students as well as graduate research assistants and more experienced research officers. Our work has expanded rapidly due to the increasing awareness by the education and health sectors about the impact of trauma on behaviour, social, emotional and physical health. Our first major project is the development and evaluation of the Thoughtful Schools Program.

Thoughtful Schools 


Thoughtful Schools is a framework and toolkit for schools seeking to embed trauma-informed practice into their community. This early intervention program has been developed by the Thoughtful Schools Research Team along with the WA Trauma-informed And Restorative Schools Collaboration (TARSC). By collecting, reviewing and combining resources with expert knowledge over the last five year we have been able to develop a unique program for education sectors. Thoughtful Schools is based upon the  International Trauma-Informed Practice Principles for Schools (ITIPPS). Based on current best- evidence this program seeks to provide schools with valuable strategies to assist them on their path to becoming trauma-informed. By leveraging sector resources and local support networks, this innovative intervention is designed to be up-scalable and sustainable. To support this intervention we are in the process of gathering evidence-based strategies to be used in conjunction with the trauma-informed practice principles. Anyone interested in updates about this project can send an email with 'subscribe' as the subject line to thoughtfulschools@uwa.edu.au

Western Australia Trauma-informed And Restorative Schools Collaboration (TARSC)

In 2015, a group of multidisciplinary academics and practitioners started collaborating in an effort to start increasing education sector awareness about the impact of trauma on children and adolescents. We named ourselves the Western Australia Trauma-informed And Restorative Schools Collaboration (TARSC). Members of the collaboration support schools to be trauma-informed by promoting early identification of children who may be impacted by trauma, early intervention, and increased compassionate and restorative school practices.

 Other research

Over the past 20 years I have undertaken research within diverse health fields such as psychological and post-traumatic distress, domestic violence, mental health, loneliness, and health in homeless and refugee populations. Previously, I also completed research in physical activity, screen use, overweight and obesity and palliative care.


Roles and responsibilities

- Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research supervision
- Identify research gaps, priorities and opportunities within individual research field
-Prepare literature reviews and proposals, seek and apply for grants
-Seek appropriate research approvals including Institutional Ethics
- Coordinate data collection and supervise staff
- Prepare and analyse data and prepare manuscripts
-Disseminate and translate research via conferences and directly to stakeholders
-Liaise with the media, providing television, radio and newspaper interviews in disseminating research
-Apply research findings in health and well-being advocacy
- Service to the community, population health field, and the University

Future research

Restorative and trauma-informed practice and student well-being in disadvantaged secondary schools.

Funding overview

Past 5 years;

Previous positions

Sessional Lecturer, Curtin University of Technology
Research Project Coordinator, University of Western Australia and Edith Cowan University
Research Facilitator, Hollywood Private Hospital

Current projects

Promoting trauma informed practice in WA secondary schools

Industrial relevance

Project industry partners:
Department of Education, Government of Western Australia
Australian Secondary Principals Association
Mental Health Commission
Department of Corrective Services
Department of Child Protection and Family Services

Department of Sport and Recreation
Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority
City of Subiaco

Teaching overview

Health Research Design and Methods, Communication and Project Planning in Health, Population Health Practicum (UWA)
Previously; Bistatistics 180, Curtin University of Technology
Research methods, Curtin University of Technology
Health Science Communication, Curtin University of Technology
Professional Development for Practitioners;Shifting to Trauma-Informed Practice in Schools


Post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological distress and antisocial behaviour in disadvantaged adolescents.
Loneliness and psychological distress in adolescents who are refugees.
Best Practice Principles for Interventions with Domestic and Family Violence Perpetrators from Refugee Backgrounds
Journey to Social Inclusion (intervention for homeless individuals in Melbourne)
Evaluation of St Vincent's Homeless Progam
Evaluation of DRUMBEAT for mental well-being promotion in vulnerable and disadvantaged youth,
The Impact of Holyoake’s DRUMBEAT Program on Prisoner Wellbeing in Western Australian Prisons,
Children's physical activity in the school setting (PhD).
Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (CAPANS) 2008.
Child's play; child, parent and stakeholders' perspectives of playspaces.
Relationship between children's learning, behaviour and development and physical activity.
Benefits of nature for children.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research expertise keywords

  • Children's physical activity
  • Childhood trauma
  • Childhood adversity
  • Delinquent behaviour
  • Mental health
  • Mental wellbeing
  • Nature benefits for health and learning for children
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychological distress
  • Prisoner health
  • School students
  • Student health and wellbeing
  • Suicide risk
  • The relationship between physical activity and learning for children
  • Trauma-informed practice


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or