DR Jess Heerde

DR Jess Heerde


  • Homelessness prevention and early intervention (childhood trauma; exposure to violence; victimisation; quantitative research; qualitative research)
  • Homelessness, health and social behaviour (modifiable predictors of youth homelessness; prevention; early intervention)
  • Lifecourse developmental psychology (developmental origins, modifiable predictors, and consequences of behaviour)
  • Youth health and behaviour (mental health, substance use, violence)



  • I am a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Paediatrics (Melbourne Medical School), Research Fellow (Westpac Scholars Trust) and Honorary Research Fellow (Centre for Adolecent Health, Population Health Studies of Adolescents, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute).

    My primary research focus is on youth homelessness. I investigate modifiable predictors of youth homelessness and associated problems and identify feasible targets for prevention, economic investment and policy reform.

    More broadly, my research interests centre on promoting the health and wellbeing of adolescents and young people. I have experience teaching in Victorian secondary schools, conducting life skills and mental health programs in the not-for-profit sector, and tutoring and lecturing in health promotion and public health in University settings. In the last decade, I have been conducting research, writing and consulting in the field of adolescent health, with a specialised focus on homelessness among young people, and its outcomes on health and social behaviour.

    I have a strong passion for, and commitment to, leadership through my research and to improving the lives of young Australians and their families. I have a particular interest in the use of therapeutic dogs working in research with homeless young people. I am extremely committed to ensuring that my research is relevant to homeless youth and that my research findings are successfully disseminated and translated into practice and policy to benefit others. I am available to consult and collaborate on projects, and for media interview. I am available for RHD supervision.



Member of

  • Council to Homeless Persons. Member 2018 -
  • Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth. Member, Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth 2017 -
  • Westpac Scholars Trust Advisory Group. Member, Westpac Bicentennial Foundation Advisory Group 2017 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • Heerde, J.A. (2016). Predictors, health and social consequences of youth homelessness: A longitudinal study. Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, Westpac Research Fellowship. Total 3-year funding: $444,149.00.

    Heerde, J.A., Hemphill, S.A. & Toumbourou, J.W. (2016). The influence of modifiable risk and protective factors for violence among homeless youth. Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Population Health Theme Funding, $20,000.00.

    Hemphill, S.A., Heerde, J.A., Toumbourou, J.W., Herrenkohl, T.I., Le, H., Catalano, R. (2014), Prevent crime and save money: Application of return-on-investment models in the Australian context. Criminology Research Council, $90,909.00.

    Hemphill, S.A. & Heerde, J.A. (2013), ARACY-DEEWER Bullying Definition Report. Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, $10,000.00 AUD

    Heerde, J.A. & Hemphill, S.A. (2013), ‘Seeking to survive’: Exploring and Understanding violent behaviours and victimisation among homeless youth. Australian Catholic University Early Career Research Incentive Award, $4,000.00 AUD

    Heerde, J.A. & Hemphill, S.A. (2013), Help-seeking behaviour of homeless youth for injury and illness: Improving health service accessibility. Australian Catholic University Research Grants Scheme (Academic Staff), $4,610.00 AUD

    Hemphill, S.A. & Heerde, J.A. (2013), What are the predictors and outcomes of formal and informal help-seeking behaviour in adolescents? Australian Catholic University HDR Scholarship Tender (Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research).

    Heerde, J.A. & Hemphill, S.A. (2013), Hearing the silent voices - Insights into the hidden experiences of homeless young people. Australian Catholic University New Staff Strategic Initiative Grants Scheme, $1,187.00 AUD

    Murphy, B., McIver, S., Heerde, J., Evans, S., Dyer, J. Redpath, T., Currey, J., Forbes, H., Larkin, H., Moore   


Education and training

  • PhD, Deakin University 2012
  • BSc, Deakin University 2005
  • BEd, Deakin University 2004
  • BSc, Deakin University 2004

Awards and honors

  • Westpac Research Fellowship, 2016



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am available to supervise honors, Masters and RHD students. My research areas of interest centre on promoting the health and wellbeing of adolescents and young people, and in particular young people experiencing homelessness. My current research focuses on the influence of risk and protective factors on homeless youth’s health and behaviour, particularly in relation to mental health, violence, victimisation and help-seeking. My research seeks to inform prevention programs leading to improved outcomes for all youth.