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For general queries or for more information on this project, please contact Study Coordinator Bree Wagner.


Bree Wagner, James Fitzpatrick, Martyn Symons, Tracy Jirikowic, Donna Cross, Jane Latimer. The development of a culturally appropriate school based intervention for Australian Aboriginal children living in remote Communities: A formative evaluation of the Alert Program® intervention. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. November 2016.

Wagner, B., Fitzpatrick, J., Mazzucchelli, T. G., Symons, M., Carmichael-Olson, H., Jirikowic, T., Cross, D., Wright, E., Adams, E., Carter, M., Bruce, K., Latimer, J. Study protocol for a self-controlled cluster randomised trial of the Alert Program® to improve self-regulation and executive function in Australian Aboriginal children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. BMJ Open 2018;8:e. 021462.

Wagner, B. Fitzpatrick, J. Mazzucchelli, T. G. Symons, M. Carmichael-Olson, H. Jirikowic, T. Cross, D. Wright, E. Adams, E. Carter, M. Bruce, K. Latimer, J. Study protocol for a self-controlled cluster randomised trial of the Alert Program® to improve self-regulation and executive function in Australian Aboriginal children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. BMJ Open 2018;8:e. 021462. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021462 

Wagner, B., Cross, D., Adams, E., Symons, M., Mazzucchelli, T. G., Watkins, R., ... & Fitzpatrick, J. P. (2019). RE-AIM evaluation of a teacher-delivered programme to improve the self-regulation of children attending Australian Aboriginal community primary schools. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, Volume 25 2020.


  • Dr James Fitzpatrick - Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  • Professor Karen Edmond - Western Australian Government Department of Health
  • Professor Jane Latimer - George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Australia
  • Professor Branko Celler - University of New South Wales Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, Biomedical Systems Laboratory, Sydney Australia
  • Dr Trevor Mazzucchelli - Department of Psychology, Curtin University Perth, Australia
  • Mr Glenn Pearson - Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  • Dr Heather Carmichael Olsen - Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle Childrens Hospital, Washington USA
  • Dr Rochelle Watkins - Telethon Kids Institute, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
  • Professor John Boulton - KimberleyRegional Health, Broome Australia and University of Notre Dame, Broome, Australia
  • Ms Maureen Carter - Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services, Fitzroy Crossing, Australia

Project team

  • Bree Wagner - Study coordinator                            
  • Sue Cherel - Lead community researcher
  • Samantha Ahfat - Community Researcher
  • Marissa Williams - Community researcher
  • Jeanelle Smith - Community researcher
  • Chantelle Berringal - Community researcher
  • Danielle Munday - Community researcher
  • Rebecca Smith - Community researcher
  • Janice Moora - Community researcher
  • Jennifer Jacky - Community researcher
  • Kerry Anne Hobbs - Community researcher
  • Maria Cox - Community researcher
  • Cynthia Cox - Community researcher
  • Tamika Shaw - Community researcher


  • Nindilingarri Cultural Health Service, Western Australia
  • Fitzroy Valley primary schools, Western Australia
  • Kimberley Education Regional Office, Western Australia
  • Department of Health, Western Australia
  • University of Washington, USA

Consumer and community involvement

In 2015, the first year of this project, a comprehensive formative process was undertaken in partnership with various health, education and community stakeholders from the Fitzroy Valley. This comprised seven visits to the Fitzroy Valley and included working with the Kimberley Education Regional Office, the Marulu FASD Leadership Team, schools and Kimberley Population Health Unit occupational therapists.

Relationships were formed between researchers, families and community representatives through a series of school visits, by running community barbecues and breakfast events, presenting information about the study at school conferences, community and service provider meetings, joining community networks and, being visibly present on a regular basis within the community. Research team members have also embraced opportunities to participate in less formal activities such as camping, fishing and cultural events with local community members. Regular communication and input into project design was facilitated through consumer reference group meetings, publishing regular study newsletters and keeping in touch with key stakeholders via email and telephone.

Community researcher partnerships

The employment of Aboriginal community members as community researchers on this project has been fundamental to developing shared understanding and expectations for culturally and contextually sensitive research practices and processes between researchers and community members. Locally employed community researchers have provided language and cultural support to families participating in the research and non-Aboriginal research staff. This two way research partnership has been central to the project being accepted by the community and to maximising participation from schools and families.

Additional funding has been received to enable locally based Aboriginal research staff to complete a Certificate II in Community Services between 2017 and 2018. By doing so, community researchers working on this project will develop the research skills to complement their existing expertise and knowledge which will enable them to seek employment across other research projects taking place in the Fitzroy Valley. This already occurred in 2015 whereby Alert Program® Community Researchers were able to be employed on the Fitzroy Valley FASD Prevention research project that is also conducted by the Telethon Kids Institute.

What did we do?

It has been a busy second half of the year for the Kimberley Alert Program® project. The team has continued visits to Fitzroy Valley schools and communities to collect data and support schools to implement the Alert Program®. The data collection phase of this four-year project is due for completion in December.

Work in the Fitzroy Valley has been supported by community researchers Sue Cherel, Samantha Ahfat, Irene Passenger and Marissa Williams. Bree Wagner (study coordinator), Emma Adams (Data and statistics manager) and Gayle Segar (research assistant) have been working hard to enter, check and clean data. Data analysis will begin in early 2018.  Bree is currently working with the Kimberley Education Regional Office to discuss future steps for the schools who have received the program in 2016 and 2017.

We congratulate Sue Cherel who was announced as a semi-finalist in the WA Regional Achievement and Community Awards for her work on the Alert Program® project. We also congratulate Sue and Bayulu community researcher Rebecca Smith for completing their Certificate II in Community Services through North Regional TAFE through the generous financial support from '100 Women'.


As the year draws to a close, we wish to thank Maureen Carter, CEO of Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services for her continued guidance and support.

Our thanks are also extended to our chief investigators, collaborators from the Departments of Education and Health, the Fitzroy Valley communities and schools participating in the project and our team colleagues here in Perth.

We ackowledge the funding from '100 Women' to support our community researchers.

We look forward to sharing results of this project with you in the second half of 2018!

Community researchers

Community Researchers Sue Cherel, Becky Smith, Sam Ahfat, Irene Passenger and Janice Moora travelled to Perth and spent a week at the Telethon office during April, 2017. This trip was also made possible through a grant received from '100 Women'.

During this week the community researchers shared their knowledge of cultural protocols and language with other Telethon Kids Institute researchers, learnt about research methods and the broader work of Telethon Kids, and participated in forums with the Alcohol and Pregnancy and FASD research group and the Kulunga Aboriginal Research Development Unit. 

Three 100 Women members also attended an afternoon tea at Telethon Kids where they met with Sue, Becky, Sam, Irene, Janice, Tracy and Bree. The women shared stories and learnt about the '100 Women' vision.  A delicious afternoon was provided, including damper prepared by Sam, Becky and Tracy. 

Photo Kimberley Community Researchers