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Professor Tony Blakely, Department of Public Health

MBChB, MPH, PhD, FAFPHM

tony blakely photo

Research Professor, Director of HIRP and BODE³

Contact Details 

Tel 64 4 918 6086
Cell 64 21 918 608
Email tony.blakely@otago.ac.nz
Blog blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert

Research Interests and Activities 

Tony is an epidemiologist. His research covers a range of topic areas intersecting with methodological advancements.

Since 2010, he directs the HRC-funded Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness Programme (BODE³). This programme builds infrastructure (e.g. linked routine datasets) and capacity (e.g. epidemiological and economic decision modelling) to rapidly assess the health impact and cost effectiveness of a range of preventative and cancer control interventions – and examine their equity impacts. In 2016-2021 BODE³ is modelling a range of preventive interventions, under three objectives: 1) dietary and physical activity interventions; 2) interventions stratified by absolute CVD risk; and 3) comparing the impact of multiple interventions on timing of health gains and costs (savings), productivity and welfare cost implications, and morbidity impacts – especially around the retirement age.

Tony initiated and implemented the New Zealand Census-Mortality Study (NZCMS) in the late 1990s, a pioneering study linking the national censuses with mortality data to allow monitoring and research on ethnic and socio-economic inequalities and the contribution of smoking to mortality (the NZ census periodically includes smoking). He has also led the parallel study, CancerTrends, that links census and cancer registration data to allow cancer incidence and survival studies. Built around these two studies, Tony directed the Health Inequalities Research Programme from 2004 to 2010, a programme that included a panel study of 20,000 adults followed up for eight years (Survey of Family, Income and Employment, SoFIE-Health), and a series of neighbourhoods research projects.

Tony also has research interests in nutrition (e.g. a large randomised trial of price discounts and personalised education – the SHOP study) and health services. Cutting across all Tony’s research is a strong focus and interest in epidemiological and quantitative research methodologies (e.g. causal mediation analysis, simulation modelling). He teaches short courses in epidemiological methods. Tony has published approximately 300 peer reviewed journal articles. As of 2016, Tony also holds an appointment at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, Melbourne University.

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Publications

Blakely, T., McKenzie, S., & Carter, K. (2013). Misclassification of the mediator matters when estimating indirect effects. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 67, 458-466. doi: 10.1136/jech-2012-201813

Tobias, M., Blakely, T., Matheson, D., Rasanathan, K., & Atkinson, J. (2009). Changing trends in indigenous inequalities in mortality: Lessons from New Zealand. International Journal of Epidemiology, 38(6), 1711-1722. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyp156

Gunasekara, F. I., Carter, K., & Blakely, T. (2011). Change in income and change in self-rated health: Systematic review of studies using repeated measures to control for confounding bias. Social Science & Medicine, 72(2), 193-201. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.10.029

Ni Mhurchu, C., Blakely, T., Jiang, Y., Eyles, H. C., & Rodgers, A. (2010). Effects of price discounts and tailored nutrition education on supermarket purchases: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(3), 736-747. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28742

Blakely, T., Tobias, M., & Atkinson, J. (2008). Inequalities in mortality during and after restructuring of the New Zealand economy: Repeated cohort studies. BMJ, 336(7640), 371-375. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39455.596181.25

Journal - Research Article

Blakely, T., McKenzie, S., & Carter, K. (2013). Misclassification of the mediator matters when estimating indirect effects. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 67, 458-466. doi: 10.1136/jech-2012-201813

Hales, S., Blakely, T., & Woodward, A. (2012). Air pollution and mortality in New Zealand: Cohort study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 66(5), 468-473. doi: 10.1136/jech.2010.112490

Meredith, I., Sarfati, D., Ikeda, T., & Blakely, T. (2012). Cancer in Pacific people in New Zealand. Cancer Causes & Control, 23(7), 1173-1184. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-9986-x

Blakely, T., Soeberg, M., Carter, K., Costilla, R., Atkinson, J., & Sarfati, D. (2012). Bias in relative survival methods when using incorrect life-tables: Lung and bladder cancer by smoking status and ethnicity in New Zealand. International Journal of Cancer, 131(6), E974-E982. doi: 10.1002/ijc.27531

Witten, K., Blakely, T., Bagheri, N., Badland, H., Ivory, V., Pearce, J., … Schofield, G. (2012). Neighborhood built environment and transport and leisure physical activity: Findings using objective exposure and outcome measures in New Zealand. Environmental Health Perspectives, 120(7), 971-977. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104584

Wilson, N., Nghiem, N., Foster, R., Cobiac, L., & Blakely, T. (2012). Estimating the cost of new public health legislation. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 90(7), 532-539. doi: 10.2471/BLT.11.097584

Eyles, H., Ni Mhurchu, C., Nghiem, N., & Blakely, T. (2012). Food pricing strategies, population diets, and non-communicable disease: A systematic review of simulation studies. PLoS Medicine, 9(12), e1001353. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001353

Gunasekara, F. I., Carter, K., & Blakely, T. (2011). Change in income and change in self-rated health: Systematic review of studies using repeated measures to control for confounding bias. Social Science & Medicine, 72(2), 193-201. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.10.029

Blakely, T., Ni Mhurchu, C., Jiang, Y., Matoe, L., Funaki-Tahifote, M., Eyles, H. C., Foster, R. H., McKenzie, S., & Rodgers, A. (2011). Do effects of price discounts and nutrition education on food purchases vary by ethnicity, income and education? Results from a randomised, controlled trial. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 65(10), 902-908. doi: 10.1136/jech.2010.118588

Blakely, T., Shaw, C., Atkinson, J., Cunningham, R., & Sarfati, D. (2011). Social inequalities or inequities in cancer incidence? Repeated census-cancer cohort studies, New Zealand 1981-1986 to 2001-2004. Cancer Causes & Control, 22(9), 1307-1318. doi: 10.1007/s10552-011-9804-x

Blakely, T., Pega, F., Nakamura, Y., Beaglehole, R., Lee, L., & Tukuitonga, C. F. (2011). Health status and epidemiological capacity and prospects: WHO Western Pacific Region. International Journal of Epidemiology, 40(4), 1109-1121. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyr014

Sarfati, D., Blakely, T., & Pearce, N. (2010). Measuring cancer survival in populations: Relative survival vs cancer-specific survival. International Journal of Epidemiology, 39, 598-610. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyp392

Ni Mhurchu, C., Blakely, T., Jiang, Y., Eyles, H. C., & Rodgers, A. (2010). Effects of price discounts and tailored nutrition education on supermarket purchases: A randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(3), 736-747. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28742

Strand, B. H., Grøholt, E.-K., Steingrímsdóttir, O. A., Blakely, T., Graff-Iversen, S., & Næss, O. (2010). Educational inequalities in mortality over four decades in Norway: Prospective study of middle aged men and women followed for cause specific mortality, 1960-2000. BMJ, 340, c654. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c654

Jeffreys, M., Sarfati, D., Stevanovic, V., Tobias, M., Lewis, C., Pearce, N., & Blakely, T. (2009). Socioeconomic inequalities in cancer survival in New Zealand: The role of extent of disease at diagnosis. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 18(3), 915-921. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.epi-08-0685

Pearce, J., Hiscock, R., Blakely, T., & Witten, K. (2009). A national study of the association between neighbourhood access to fast-food outlets and the diet and weight of local residents. Health & Place, 15(1), 193-197. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.04.003

Ni Mhurchu, C., Blakely, T., Funaki-Tahifote, M., McKerchar, C., Wilton, J., Chua, S., & Jiang, Y. (2009). Inclusion of indigenous and ethnic minority populations in intervention trials: Challenges and strategies in a New Zealand supermarket study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 63(10), 850-855. doi: 10.1136/jech.2008.081109

Tobias, M., Blakely, T., Matheson, D., Rasanathan, K., & Atkinson, J. (2009). Changing trends in indigenous inequalities in mortality: Lessons from New Zealand. International Journal of Epidemiology, 38(6), 1711-1722. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyp156

Richardson, K., Blakely, T., Young, J., Graham, P., & Tobias, M. (2009). Do ethnic and socio-economic inequalities in mortality vary by region in New Zealand? An application of hierarchical Bayesian modelling. Social Science & Medicine, 69(8), 1252-1260. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.07.036

Blakely, T., Tobias, M., & Atkinson, J. (2008). Inequalities in mortality during and after restructuring of the New Zealand economy: Repeated cohort studies. BMJ, 336(7640), 371-375. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39455.596181.25

Blakely, T., Fawcett, J., Hunt, D., & Wilson, N. (2006). What is the contribution of smoking and socioeconomic position to ethnic inequalities in mortality in New Zealand? Lancet, 368, 44-52. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68813-2

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