2015 ACU Alumni Awards
Winner: Community Engagement Award
Dr Sarah Miller completed a Doctorate of Psychology (Clinical) at ACU in 2006 and has since received international acclaim for her community engagement work as a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist.
Sarah has specific expertise in the humanitarian sector and with trauma counselling, and is the only Australian Clinical Psychologist on the delegation list for deployment by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide psychological assistance in response to natural disasters and in conflict zones.
Sarah has assisted people living in extreme conditions, taken on extraordinary work and lived in some very difficult environments. Her professional challenges have been immense, including work in the drug and alcohol field, acute psychiatric assessment, providing risk assessments and treatment for people in prison, and with young people with learning difficulties at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Sarah also spent nearly two years flying in and out of remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory helping children who had been physically or sexually abused.
She has also held humanitarian roles with the International Red Cross Movement following the floods in Pakistan, the massacre in Norway, and in the Philippines in the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan; , as well as many domestic disasters including the Queensland floods, Northern Territory cyclone, and Victorian bushfires.
Through Sarah’s exemplary work at Port Phillip Prison, she was promoted after just nine months to manage, train and supervise a team of psychologists in the maximum security prison environment. Sarah co-developed a program for violent prisoners held in seclusion cells who were considered too high risk to participate in behavioural programs and to mix in group therapeutic activities.
In her work as a Clinical Psychologist, and later Mental Health Team Leader at the several Immigration Detention Centres, Sarah has witnessed the tragedy of people making a desperate plight to flee persecution. Many told horrific stories of their lives in their home countries and their experiences coming to Australia by boat, trying to seek asylum and a better life in Australia.
Sarah’s most recent humanitarian work was on deployment in Syria where her role was as the Mental Health Adviser to the ICRC delegation to make an assessment of the mental health needs of the staff and population following the enduring crisis.
Her current role is as the Principal Psychologist across Mental Health, Justice Health and Alcohol and Drug Services. She also has a private practice in Canberra.