Researcher biography

Amanda Lee is Professor Public Health Policy in the School of Public Health (SPH) within the Faculty of Medicine. She is also Affiliate Professor at the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health. Amanda has expertise in preventative health, public health nutrition, health policy, food systems and Indigenous nutrition and health. Her major area of research is the development, implementation and evaluation of public health policy actions to prevent and help manage non-communicable disease (NCD), with a focus on regulatory policy responses targeting obesity, poor diet and food insecurity, in both developed and low- and middle-income countries. Amanda now co-ordinates the SPH mentoring program, and was previously Head of the Division of Health Promotion and Equity at SPH. Her work takes a strong systems focus, underscored by the three pillars of health and wellbeing; equity; and environmental sustainability.

Amanda’s leadership skills are exemplified by appointments such as: Chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Dietary Guidelines Working Committee and Infant Feeding Guidelines Sub-Committee (2008-2013); Senior Advisor for The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre at The Sax Institute; Member of the NHMRC's Nutrient Reference Values Steering Group Advisory Committee (2012-21); Member of the Australian Academy of Science's Nutrition Committee (2014-21); Chair of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’s Consumer and Public Health Dialogue (2014-19); Member of the interim Board of Health and Wellbeing Queensland (2019-20); and member of advisory groups for the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Surveys (2009-11; 2020-22) and the two most recent Australian Burden of Disease studies. At the invitation of the CSIRO and two Australian Government Departments, she presented on health aspects at three national dialogues for the UN Food Security Summit 2021.

Amanda has worked in government, not-for profit, Aboriginal community-controlled and consultancy, as well as academic, sectors. She worked for the people of Minjilang who, in the 1980s, demonstrated using objective biomedical indicators that rapid and sustained improvements in diet, nutrition and health are possible. Among more recent projects Amanda: led scoping of a new National Nutrition Policy; conducted two systematic reviews of discretionary foods and another on fats and oils for the NHMRC; finalised the national Healthy Weight Website; conducted a rapid review of portion sizes for the Healthy Food Partnership; and assessed evidence to help prioritize obesity and nutrition policy actions in two state jurisdictions. On invitation, she consults to several Indigenous health organisations, with relationships on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yunkuntjatjara Lands (APY) Lands spanning four decades. She developed the Healthy Diets ASAP (Australian Standardised Affordability and Pricing) methods which are providing insights into ecomomic assess to healthy diets, and, globally, lead the food price and affordability domain of the International Network for Food and Obesity/Non-communicable Diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS). Globally, she has conducted several nutrition policy workshops, contributed to three scoping reviews on dietary patterns and health for the World Health Oranization, is a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Network of World Obesity, Policy and Prevention, and an expert advisor to Canada, PR China and other countries on dietary guidance and health.

Since joining UQ, Amanda has been a Chief Investigator (CI) on research programs totaling over $A22 Million, currently including as CIA on an MRFF funded project to improve food security on the APY Lands, and as CI on the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health (RE-FRESH); the NHMRC Special call: Giving Aboriginal and Torres STRait Islander children the best start in life: improving healthy food availability and food security in remote Australia; and the NHMRC Partnership Centres for Better Health-The Partnership Centre on Systems Perspectives on Preventing Lifestyle-Related Chronic Health Problems, also known as The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (TAPPC). She has recently completed two other MRFF funded projects as CIA- one on Diet and chronic disease prevention: supporting implementation of priority actions in the food and nutrition system, and another on Improving Aboriginal Food Security with remote and urban communities.

Amanda has published over 75 scholarly articles in quality, high profile peer reviewed journals and has written numerous reports and blogs and been interviewed for several podcasts. She maintains an active twitter account followed by several decision makers.