Personal details

Dr Niki Edwards
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Health,
School - Public Health and Social Work
IHBI Membership
Institute of Health Biomedical Innovation (IHBI),
IHBI Health Projects,
IHBI Public Health and Social Work - HDHS
Discipline *
Social Work, Policy and Administration, Public Health and Health Services
+61 7 3138 4656
+61 7 3138 4620
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Identifiers and profiles
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PhD (University of Queensland)

Professional memberships
and associations

Australian Association of Social Workers Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability  Australian Relatives and Friends of People Living with Mental Illness (arafmi),  Community Living Association Queensland Advocacy Incorporated National Association of Dual Diagnosis  European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disability 


intellectual disability, development disability, dual disability/dual diagnosis, psychopharmacology, chemical restraint, restrictive practices, international social work, disaster management, gender, disability

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Dr Niki Edwards is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology.

Prior to entering academia, she worked in health, disability and human services for more than 20 years. Dr Edwards’ research brings together clinical, governmental and academic perspectives to create a synthesised account of psychiatry, disability and disadvantage. Early in her career, Dr Edwards worked in psychiatric services as people with disabilities moved from institutional care/community development. Later, she worked clinically in hospital and rehabilitation settings and in public policy and public administration across government portfolios including family services, community services, disability and mental health.

Drawing upon this experience, Dr Edwards has contributed to many Department of Defence and Trade Australia Award Fellowships for fellows from Africa, Cambodia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nepal and the Pacific in the intersecting areas of disability, gender and inclusive disaster management. After completing a Master of Public Administration at the University of Queensland in 2000 and a PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Queensland in 2007 she now uses mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative designs) to research inclusion, diversity and gender equality.

Her teaching responsibilities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels include social work and human services students, and past involvement in the education of medical students and trainee psychiatrists.

Dr Edwards is one of the few accredited international trainers in the psychiatric assessment of adults with intellectual and developmental disability.

She was appointed to the position of Coordinator of the Undergraduate Social Work Programs in 2012 – current.

Key Research Interests

• Restrictive practices and people with cognitive impairment, including challenges associated with the diagnosis of mental illness in adults with intellectual and developmental disability

• Diversity and disability, including health and mental health and wellbeing of adults with cognitive impairment/adults with intellectual/developmental disability

• Human rights and vulnerable people, including decision making issues in relation to people with disability • Gender and inclusive development, including disaster management

• Medical education and clinical leadership challenges

This information has been contributed by Dr Niki Edwards.


Dr Edwards is the Coordinator of the Undergraduate Social Work Programs at QUT. She teaches into:

  • SWH 202 Health Wellbeing and Social Work (Unit Coordinator)
  • SWB 105 Human Rights
  • SWB 306 People, Community and Disability
  • SWH 311 Mental Health Social Work (Unit Coordinator)
  • SWB221 Professional Practice Processes and Assessment
  • SWN 005 Health, Wellbeing and the Human Condition (Unit Coordinator)
This information has been contributed by Dr Niki Edwards.


Dr Edwards enjoys teaching and connecting with community services supporting people with disabilities, their families and carers. She is a passionate advocate for inclusion and celebration of diversity.

Current research projects

Dr Edwards currently leads research examining psychotropic medication prescribed to adults with intellectual disability. She is undertaking research that examines the views of psychiatrists about adults with intellectual disability, including prescription of psychotropic medication to manage challenging behaviour (chemical restraint). Her research and teaching focuses on health and wellbeing, disability, human rights, gender and inclusive development/disaster management – locally, nationally and within the international context.

This information has been contributed by Dr Niki Edwards.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Current supervisions

  • A Definition of The Transparency Model: Promoting Translucent Communication in a Spinal Injuries Unit in Queensland
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Julie King
  • A Journey with No Destination: Lived experiences of warrior mothers of children with physical disability in Bangladesh
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Julie King

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)

Completed supervisions (Masters by Research)