Dr Olivia Fisher - Wesley Research Institute
Wesley Research Institute


Olivia is an implementation scientist and mental illness prevention researcher with a health sector career spanning 25 years. Olivia has extensive experience supporting organisations to design, implement and evaluate health initiatives in health services, aged care, workplace, and education settings. 

Olivia is strongly committed to improving outcomes for patients, staff, and healthcare organisations by better understanding and promoting good health and preventing illness; improving healthcare equity; and co-designing services with the people who deliver and use those services. 

Olivia’s mental health research investigates how the factors that predict depression and anxiety symptoms and mental wellbeing differ between age groups and generations, and what this means for better prevention and management of mental illness. 

Career highlights include:

  • Leading Wesley Research Institute’s multidisciplinary Virtual Hospital Research Program
  • Establishment of Wesley Research Institute’s Health Services Research Program
  • Leading the statewide evaluation of police and ambulance mental health co-responder programs
  • Academic Coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Health Science (Health Services Innovation), Queensland University of Technology
  • Queensland Coordinator of the world leading MindMatters Initiative for mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention in secondary schools
  • Clinical occupational therapy roles in public and private hospitals and community organisations

Research Impact

Olivia’s applied implementation science research has had direct impact on clinical practice, health service design, and healthcare access, such as: 

  • Olivia’s Virtual Hospital research has informed the design and implementation of the UnitingCare Queensland Virtual Hospital. A close collaborative working relationship was formed between the research team and the Virtual Hospital project team, where emerging research results were shared and informed practice in real time. Olivia and the team identified important considerations, barriers and enablers to successful design and implementation, and led the co-design of the vision and principles for the new hospital. 
  • The identification of implementation determinants of a successful police mental health co-responder model informed the roll-out of co-responder units in Queensland. This expansion of police and ambulance co-responder programs was a key recommendation of the Queensland Parliament Select Committee on Mental Health. 
  • Olivia was a research investigator on the team from Queensland University of Technology that developed the Isaac Navicare model which was implemented by Wesley Research Institute in 2021. The Isaac Navicare Pilot Evaluation, led by Olivia and Kelly McGrath, identified that within the first 12-months the service had made a substantial impact on the access to timely mental health supports for people living in the Isaac region.  


Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, The University of Queensland

Graduate Certificate in Health Studies (Addiction Studies), The University of Queensland

PhD (Public Health), Queensland University of Technology

Featured Publications

Fisher, O. J.*, McGrath, K.*, Grogan, C., Cockshaw, W., & Leggatt-Cook, C. (2024). Care navigation addresses issues of tele-mental health acceptability and uptake in rural and remote communities. PLoS ONE 19(4): e0298655. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0298655

Fisher, O. J., Grogan, C., McGrath, K., Kanagarajah, S., Smith, S-E., Smith, I., Martin, E., Cockshaw, W., Moshi, B., & Barron, A. (2024). UnitingCare Queensland Virtual Hospital Context Assessment and Co-Design: Internal Report to the UnitingCare Board and Virtual Hospital Steering Committee. Report: Wesley Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia. 

Fisher, O. J., Donahoo, C., Bosley, E., du Cloux, R., Garner, S., Powell, S., Pickard, J., Grevis-James, N., & Wyder, M. (2024) Barriers and enablers to implementing police mental health co-responder programs: A qualitative study using the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research. Implementation Research and Practice, 5. https://doi.org/10.1177/26334895231220259  

Fisher, O. J., Carroll, J-A., Shochet, I. M., Cockshaw, W., & Hou, X-Y. (2023). Using a Trans-Theoretical Approach to Identify Differences in Determinants of Anxiety and Depression Symptoms and Mental Wellbeing between Two Age Groups. Journal of Adult Development. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-023-09465-4  

Martin, E., Fisher, O., Merlo, G., Zardo, P., Barrimore, S., Rowland, J. & Davies, J. (2022). Impact of a health services innovation university program in a major public hospital and health service. Implementation Science Communications, 3, Article number 46.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s43058-022-00293-3  


Professional memberships

2023 – Ongoing – Member of the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand  

2024 – Ongoing – Society for Implementation Research Collaborative


2023 – Ongoing – Adjunct Senior Lecturer at Charles Darwin University


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