Niki Ellis is an occupational and public health physician. She has an unusual mix of skills having spent the 80s working on policy for governments – the Tasmanian Department of Health and the former WorkSafe Australia; the 90s in the private sector building up a consultancy business which she then took into PricewaterhouseCoopers; and the first decade of the 2000s at the University of Queensland, then Monash University, leading the establishment of academic centres with new approaches to research management, which aimed to close the gap between research and practice. One of these, the Institute for Safety, Rehabilitation and Recovery Research, won, along with another centre, the prestigious Ashley Goldsworthy Award for Sustained Collaboration between Business and Higher Education for Monash in 2012.
She has been involved in work in Australia to better understand and address the unintended harm associated with insurance and other benefit schemes since she played a leadership role in the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s keystone publication Compensable Injuries and Health Outcomes, published in 2001. In the same year her book Work and Health: Management in Australia and New Zealand was published by Oxford University Press. She led the development of the Best Practice Framework for the Management of Psychological Claims in the group life insurance industry, as a consultant to SuperFriend.
In the late 80s she was the Director, National RSI Strategy, and this led to a career long interest in workplace stress and mental health. In 2007 she presented a four part television series, Stressbuster on the ABC.
These days she is the Work for Health Advisor to Comcare and a Non-Executive Director. She sits on the boards of SuperFriend, the Centre for Evidence and Implementation at Save the Children Australia, DrinkWise and Bond University’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine Advisory Board. She has just stepped down from a term as Director, Royal Australasian College of Physicians and she was the Inaugural President of the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
A large part of her work for Comcare is to provide technical and strategic advice to the Collaborative Partnership to improve Work Participation.