Division executive

Focus areas

Public health, prevention and health promotion

Our public health research and teaching focuses on the prevention of premature morbidity and mortality through the promotion of healthy lifestyle choices in local, national, and global settings. Randomised trials and long-running observational studies are used to provide the evidence base to inform public health policy and practice. Targeted health areas include obesity; cancer; nutrition, physical activity/sedentary behaviour; alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATODs).

Infectious diseases

Research and teaching associated with infectious diseases in the division are focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public health interventions. The teaching program includes elective courses on communicable disease control in the undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Examples of the research focus include projects to explore new paradigms for surveillance of key communicable diseases, a project in Fiji to understand the factors associated with severe leptospirosis, and a Gates Grand Challenges award to develop a combined (multisectoral) metric for measurement of the burden of leptospirosis in Fiji (a One Health project). A new focus of the infectious diseases group going forward will be establishing a strong national research focus on HIV prevention and control, facilitated through the establishment of the Queensland Health Professorial Chair in HIV, led by Professor Charles Gilks.

Environmental health

Environmental health is a core element of our research and teaching activity and focuses on adverse risks and impacts that arise from the interaction of human populations with the total environment. Our research in this area aims to expand the current understanding of health impacts from population growth and distribution, and include impacts from environmental, social, economic, social and technology development and change.

Some examples of the research that is being undertaken include a focus on air pollution, including developing novel techniques to derive more accurate estimates of exposure to air pollutants by leveraging satellite data to support large-scale epidemiological studies and studying environmental health exposures and risks in the home environment with a specific focus on examining children’s exposure to toxicants in the home.