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Ann Larson

Featured Member: Ann Larson

We regularly interview, feature and promote Pollinators members. This time we’re learning more about our Chairperson Ann Larson .

Pollinators Chairperson, Ann Larson works with clients and organisations all over the globe from the co-working space at CityHive in Geraldton.

Ann is a Demographer, Social Researcher and Population Health Specialist who loves her work. She spent eleven years leading the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health before starting her current business Social Dimensions with partner Peter Howard two years ago.

Social Dimensions evaluates government and private service programs that aim to make positive changes in the communities where they operate. Ann says this is a three step process that involves helping groups clarify their questions, collecting information with in depth interviews and other qualitative and quantitative methods and finally interpreting the data.

“We help organisations, government agencies and businesses that are trying to make a difference to understand the extent of the difference they are making and we pull together evidence that helps them be more effective,” she said.

Recently, Ann finished a project reviewing a large US government program that has been operating for 30 years. The project involved health and population surveys in as many as 90 different countries.

“This is one of the most important sources of health information in the world. It is the data that World Health Organisation, the World Bank and most importantly that individual countries use to determine the health of their population and if services are getting to them.”

“It’s a fantastic program of the US Government and I was on the first external evaluation team that they have had look at this program for fifteen years so it was a real privilege,” she said.

Ann said being based in a regional centre doesn’t create problems for her work.

“The nice thing is that internationally living in Geraldton is not seen as a problem. Geraldton is no more remote than Sydney.”

“In Australia yes, people on the East coast and even in Perth see it as a huge obstacle,” she said.

Ann finds the flexibility of the CityHive co-working space suits her needs.

‘Being away so much it is nice to have some place that isn’t necessarily expecting you to be there on a regular basis,” she said.

Social Dimensions current project is  with the City of Greater Geraldton to investigate how well information and messages about the city’s activities are communicated to local people.

To find out more about Social Dimensions go to www.socialdimensions.com.au or follow Ann on Twitter. And if you are asked to give a little of your time for a survey about the City of Greater Geraldton say …Yes!

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