Professor Steel holds the St John of God Professorial Chair of Trauma and Mental Health, a partnership between Richmond Hospital, the School of Psychiatry UNSW and the Black Dog Institute.
Professor Steel has worked in the field of traumatic stress for over 20 years as a researcher and clinician. His program of research has examined the prevalence, social determinants, and intervention models for mental health problems across diverse communities and settings with a particular focus on traumatic stress, forced displacement, conflict and complex emergencies. He has led a program of research that has examined the mental health of refugees and asylum seekers which has established a scientific evidence base to evaluate government policies in this domain recognised by a commendation from the Australian Human Rights Commission. Within the Asia-Pacific region he is currently involved in Australian Government NHMRC and ARC-funded research programs in Vietnam, Aceh Indonesia, Timor-Leste and amongst disadvantaged communities in Australia.
In addition to research, Professor Steel has a long history of clinical work with populations affected by trauma that has included working with the veterans and emergency services communities. He is a member of the DVA National Veteran Mental Health Clinical Reference Group and is currently the secretary of the Australian Association of Traumatic Stress Studies.