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Contact Details

+64 4 385 5541 ext 4879
Senior Research Fellow
Department of Public Health (Wellington)
Research summary
Policy development


Dr Moira Smith is a Senior Research Fellow, Co-Director of the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit, and Teaching and Supervision Portfolio Leader of the wider Department of Public Health. Prior to becoming a member of the Department of Public Health in 2010, Moira had over 20 years’ experience in clinical dentistry, in New Zealand and the UK. Moira's doctoral study was conducted during the tenure of a Health Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellowship.

Moira’s research focuses on the broad determinants of health, gathering evidence to inform policy and (in turn) create supportive environments. Key areas of research interest include children's health, especially addressing harm from unhealthy food environments, alcohol and gambling, and oral health, particularly older people’s oral health and addressing inequities in oral health in Aotearoa. Her research uses qualitative research methods, policy research and mixed method designs.

Moira was a named investigator on Kids’Cam, an innovative research project that used wearable cameras to study the world children live in, and is currently co-leading Kids Online Aotearoa, which studies children’s online worlds, their engagement with it and its impact on their health and wellbeing. Moira leads a team investigating the feasibility of incorporating oral health care in aged care and is a named investigator in AWESSoM: Ageing Well through Eating, Sleeping, Socialising and Mobility, funded by the Ageing Well National Science Challenge.

Moira is an associate member of the Sir John Walsh Research Institute, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, Chair of the NZ Oral Health Clinical Advisory Network and Associate Editor of Gerodontology. She has supervised seven MPH and three doctoral students to completion, and is currently involved in the supervision of two MPH and five doctoral students.


Al Naasan, Z., Broadbent, J. M., Duncan, W. J., & Smith, M. B. (2024). "I lost my first tooth here": Syrian former refugees' experiences of oral healthcare in Dunedin, New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal/Te ara tika o te hauora hapori, 137(1591), 41-48. Retrieved from Journal - Research Article

Teng, A., Cleghorn, C., Signal, L., Smith, M., Te Morenga, L., Walby, E., & Wilson, N. (2024). Food and beverage taxes for a healthier diet: The Pacific experience. The Briefing, (31 January). Retrieved from Journal - Research Other

Bakri, N. N., Smith, M. B., Broadbent, J. M., & Thomson, W. M. (2023). Conceptualising a theoretical framework for planning and evaluating workplace oral health promotion programs. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/hpja.834 Journal - Research Article

Walby, E., Jones, A., Smith, M., Na'ati, E., Snowdon, W., & Teng, A. (2023). Food tax policies in Pacific Island Countries and Territories: Systematic policy review. Public Health Nutrition. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1017/S1368980023002914 Journal - Research Other

Zwanenburg, S. P., Vincent, K., Deng, J., Gurtner, M., Gage, R., Smith, M., & Signal, L. (2023). Kids’ digital distractions: An observation study of recorded everyday screentime by 12-year-olds. Proceedings of the Australasian Conference on Information Systems (ACIS). 110. Retrieved from Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

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