Associate Professor Joanne Porter


Joanne is the Director of the Collaborative Evaluation Research Group (CERG). She has guided the development of CERG (formerly CEU), managed a number of evaluations, and worked with industry partners including Gippsland Primary Health Network, Latrobe City Council, GippSport and Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENS).

Joanne is an experienced emergency nurse having worked in metropolitan, rural and remote emergency care centres. Joanne is a Fellow with the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia (CENA) and is a board member on the Victorian branch of CENA. She brings with her a career of clinical, research and leadership expertise.

Dr Michael Barbagallo

Deputy Director - Academic

Michael’s research interests include bioscience education, learning and teaching and reflective practices in health care.

He has extensive research experience in data collection and analysis techniques along with multiple publications in peer reviewed journals.

Michael is an active member of CERG, working on a number of evaluations and with industry partners including Latrobe City Council and Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLEN).

Valerie Prokopiv

Deputy Director - Operations

Valerie has extensive local knowledge and networks within Latrobe and is vital to community engagement success. She has a high level of administrative experience and is proficient at report writing and distribution. She has experience in marketing and public relations, development of web and print content including editing and finance management.

Val has extensive expertise as a research assistant working on a number of projects with Federation University on the Hazelwood Health study, and RMIT working with the Centre for People, Organisations and Work as a field researcher.

Dr Vaughan Reimers

Vaughan’s expertise lies in the field of marketing, covering a wide range of areas including retailing, sports marketing, permission email marketing, green marketing, demarketing (e.g. smoking cessation) and marketing in the educational sector.

He has significant expertise and extensive experience in conducting studies that focus on stakeholder needs, studies requiring large samples, survey design, sample selection and research software such as Survey Monkey.

Vaughan is regularly employed/engaged by external stakeholders to help 'translate' complex academic concepts and content into a 'language' that practitioners can understand and implement.

Elissa Dabkowski

Research Assistant

Elissa worked as a private practice physiotherapist in the Gippsland community for 14 years after completing her degree at Latrobe University Bundoora. Elissa decided to change careers to become a registered nurse, with the view of becoming a midwife. This view changed when Elissa discovered a love for research, which led her to successfully completing an Honours degree. She is currently in the middle of a PhD about falls prevention in hospitals via a full-time industry scholarship. She is an active member of CERG and has contributed to several projects and research publications.

Megan Jackson

Research Associate

Meg completed with Distinction a Bachelor of Nursing at Federation University in 2016, followed by an Honours degree in nursing in 2019. Meg is now undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Federation University, with a research project exploring the lived experience of emergency department nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meg has a range of clinical nursing experience in areas such as oncology, intensive care, emergency and women’s health, ensuring a diverse skill set. Meg has gained comprehensive research experience through Honours and PhD projects, in addition to working as a research assistant for the Hazelwood Health Study. Meg undertakes sessional academic teaching in the School of Health at Federation University, with a passion for education and development of best practice research outcomes.

Michelle Prezioso

Research Associate

Michelle has extensive research, administrative and community engagement experience gained from working both within the University sector and outside of the University sector in community engagement initiatives. In 2015, she completed her degree in Creative Arts at La Trobe University. She is currently completing a Bachelor of Fine Art at Federation University.

Her areas of expertise span across community outreach and engagement, research, high level administration, visual and info-graphic design, and fine art.

Robyn Wildblood

Research Associate

Robyn is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honors) at Federation University in Gippsland. Robyn joined the CERG in 2021, after a 15-year career with Services Australia. During her time with Services Australia Robyn became a specialist in the use Verint Speech Analytics technology gathering critical business intelligence for policy and business process improvement across three Federal Agencies. Robyn has extensive project management experience in project initiation, design, and consultation processes. Robyn particularly enjoys building relationships with stakeholders to ensure successful outcomes are achieved.


To engage CERG's evaluation services, collaborate with us or ask about our research, please get in touch via the Contact page.