Emma has worked in Indigenous health, with asylum seekers and refugees, and with children with disabilities (in Australia and briefly in Bolivia). She completed her PhD in political science and international relations regarding the ways in which social structures shape human experiences, with a particular focus on asylum seekers' human rights and engagement in meaningful activities. Her current research areas include projects with asylum seekers, and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with chronic conditions (in partnership with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health)
As a co-developer (with Prof. Sylvia Rodger and Dr. Tammy Aplin, University of Queensland) and teacher of a human rights course to undergraduate and masters OT students she is a passionate advocate for occupational perspectives on human rights, community development, and communication for social change. She also has a teaching focus on culturally responsive occupational therapy (OT) practice.
In 2013, when she was at Oxford University's Centre on Migration Policy and Society (COMPAS) as a visiting academic and when studying in Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland, she developed an understand of the value of engaging with international bodies and society more broadly regarding OT perspectives on human rights issues.
Within Occupational Therapy Australia, Emma has convened the Queensland Occupational Justice Special Interest Group since 2009, which currently runs a children in detention (OT KiDS) project. OT KiDS aims to support the social and emotional wellbeing of children seeking asylum. With Emma's leadership, the group submitted a report to a national inquiry into children in detention by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2014.