• Print this page

A great contributor

Dr Erica Bell, who has had a long and valuable research association with The Salvation Army, has died suddenly at the age of 52, following a brain haemorrhage and a coma.
Dr Erica Bell

e-connect pays homage to Dr Erica Bell, a talented, respected woman who helped many people

Dr Erica Bell, who has had a long and valuable research association with The Salvation Army, has died suddenly at the age of 52, following a brain haemorrhage and a coma.

Dr Bell conducting several research projects for the Army, including ‘Youth, Crime Prevention’, ‘Communities for Children (evaluations)’ and ‘Safe from the Start “States of Mind”.

The Tasmania Division’s social programme development and research manager Nell Kuilenburg told e-connect that Dr Bell was ‘an amazing researcher [who] believed in the mission of The Salvation Army, and was the initiator of the strong partnership between the University of Tasmania and The Salvation Army’.

In a speech in the senate, Senator Carol Brown cited Ms Kuilenburg’s respect for Dr Bell and said ‘the most exciting and profound was the Safe from the Start project. Associate Professor Bell worked on the successful tender proposal for the project and then conducted the research, which considered the impact of domestic violence on children.

‘This included an investigation into how violence affects the brain development of young children who witness violence and how workers and the community can respond. This project was so successful it attracted numerous grants so that it could be implemented nationally. It won a number of awards, including the top national award at the Crime and Violence Prevention Awards in 2012 and a NAPCAN award last year. 

‘The training has been done in all Australian states, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, and resources have also been distributed to many other countries. In the words of Nell Kuilenburg: “I have had an exciting journey with Erica. I admired her, respected her and loved her. She was always humble, gracious, inspirational, always believed the best of people, was positive and happy, thrived on hard work and challenges. She always had great ideas and was a great role model and she mentored me.

‘“The Salvation Army is greatly indebted to Erica— she contributed profound and remarkable reports and evaluations for us that have resulted in other successful funding outcomes. As an organisation we will miss her.”’

The Erica Bell Foundation was established in 2014 to celebrate excellence in literature and medical research in Tasmania, by awarding annual cash prizes to an emerging novelist and a first-time author of a medical research publication.