Samatha Abbato presenting at a workshop.


Passionate about effective communication, evaluation use, and skill building

Pictures symbol.
Stories Symbol.
People Symbol.

Dr. Samantha Abbato is the Director of Visual Insights People, a dynamic, multidisciplinary team using a pictures and stories approach to evaluation.

Samantha Abbato and Associates have been operating as a consultancy since 2005. Sam is based in Brisbane, Australia and provides services to clients Australia-wide and internationally. She has a public health research background and completed her PhD in 1997 with the Melbourne Aboriginal community investigating the social and cultural context and lived experience of diabetes. She has held university teaching positions lecturing in both quantitative methods (Epidemiology) and qualitative methods (Medical Anthropology) for the School of Population Health, University of Queensland (1997-2000).


Sam is an active member of the Australasian Evaluation Society (AES) and a member of the American Evaluation Association (AEA).

Sam talking with participants during a workshop.
Sam working 1:1 with a workshop participant.


Extensive studies in qualitative methods of medical anthropology for completion of a three-year fieldwork-based ethnography to advance epidemiology.

  • PhD Epidemiology (Public Health) University of California at Berkeley, 1997

  • MPH (Epidemiology/Biostatistics) University of California at Berkeley, 1992

  • BSc (Hons) Physiology, Major in Pure Mathematics, Monash University, 1989


Sam is an enthusiastic proponent of:

  • Utilisation-focused evaluation, co-design and participatory-action approaches

  • Visual evaluation approaches, including digital evaluation story and data visualisation

  • Qualitative and quantitative approaches (Mixed-methods)

  • Communication for engagement and impact using 'pictures and stories'.

  • Assisting teams and individuals through experiential learning approaches or 'learning by doing'

  • Participatory approaches that involve staff, clients and communities in evaluation and research and link to grass roots interventions.

Workshop participants presenting painting.
Sam talking with workshop participants.