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This page includes a list of the current and former PhD students based at the Department of Public Health. It includes information on their theses and supervisors and is in chronological order based on the students start date from 2010 onwards.

Current PhD students

Emily Alexander
What Mothers Do: Understanding how maternal and child wellbeing can be better supported
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Amanda Kvalsvig

Sherif Ammar
Towards ecologically-based early warning system for arboviral disease transmission in New Zealand
Supervisors: Simon Hales, Mary McIntyre, Michael Baker

Clare Aspinall
The transfer and evolution of Housing First in New Zealand
Supervisors: Nevil Pierse, Philippa Howden-Chapman, Sarah Bierre

Keresi Rokorua Bako
Enhancing diabetes self-management in Fiji: A mixed method study with patients and health care providers
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Dianne Sika-Paotonu

Shashi Chandra
Enhancing diabetes self-management in South Asian (Indian) population in New Zealand: A mixed method study with patients and health care providers
Supervisors: Moira Smith, Louise Signal

Amanda D'Souza

Obstacles and opportunities to introducing healthy public policy in New Zealand
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Richard Edwards

Brodie Fraser
Meeting the needs of homeless LGBTIQ+ people
Supervisors: Hera Cook, Nevil Pierse

Caroline Fyfe
An investigation into long-term impact of refitting home insulation on the health of residents
Supervisors: Lucy Telfar-Barnard, Philippa Howden-Chapman

Frances Graham
Epidemiology and Legionellosis in New Zealand and environmental risk factors
Supervisors: Simon Hales, Nevil Pierse, P.White, Michael Baker

Tristram Ingham
The relationship between ethnicity and hospitalisation for Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) among infants/children
Supervisiors: Richard Edwards, K. Grimwood, Sue Crengle

Salina Iupati
Models of effective Community Based Specialist Palliative Care services
Supervisor: James Stanley

Paula King
Transforming research into child health equity: a 21st century approach
Supervisors: Donna Cormack, Richard Edwards

William Leung
Cost effectiveness childhood influenza vaccination
Supervisors: Michael Baker, Michael Keall

Amber Logan-Riley
Housing and wellbeing for Whānau Māori
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, Hera Cook, Keri Lawson-Te Aho

Krishtika Mala
Interventions for Group A Streptococcal Skin Infections
Supervisors: Julie Bennett, Michael Baker

Christina McKerchar
Healthy food availability for Māori children – A rights based approach
Supervisor: Louise Signal

Sharla McTavish
The Impact of Sepsis in Aotearoa New Zealand
Supervisors: Michael Baker, Amanda Kvalsvig

Kim Nathan
Investigating the role of safe
Supervisors: Neville Pierse, Philippa Howden-Chapman

Eloise Pollard
Planning for equity: Evaluating the application of the Health Equity Assessment Tool (HEAT) to promote health equity for Māori
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Bridget Robson

Ed Randal
Active transport - access, activity and health inequalities
Supervisors: Michael Keal, Caroline shaw, Alistair Woodward

Mathew Shaw
Title TBA
Supervisors: Louise Signal

Courtney Steel
The Health gains, cost and cost effectiveness of dietary and physical activity interventions targeting children and adolescents
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Cristina Cleghorn, Tony Blakely

Grace Teah
Exploring identity transitions as smokers become vapers
Supervisors: Janet Hoek, Mei-Ling Blank, Tamlin Cooper

Andrea Teng
Impact of sugar sweetened beverage taxation in the Pacific
Supervisors: Nick Wilson, Louise Signal

Helen Viggers
Feeling the chill: New Zealanders and cold homes
Supervisors: Michael Keall, K.Wickens

Zhang Wei
Housing experiences of recent Chinese immigrants in New Zealand
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, Geoff Fougere

Completed PhD students


Lara Rangiwhetu (Rapson)
Social Housing upgrades effect on tenants' health, education, safety and social cohesion
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, Nevil Pierse

Graciela Rivera-Munoz
Can evidence-based practice policy in health promotion answer the call of global health security?
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, Vivienne Ivory

Stella Vickers
Exploring the relationships between smoking and quitting behaviors and mental health and perceived stress
Supervisors: Hera Cook, Richard Edwards


Mike Bedford
Infectious disease risk for children and their families associated with early childhood education service environmental conditions
Supervisors: Lucy Telfar-Barnard, Julian Crane, Julie Bennett

John White
Commercial and health influences on food labelling policy in New Zealand and Australia: a case study
Supervisors: George Thomson, Louise Signal

Jude Ball
Describing & explaining trends in key adolescent risk behaviors in high income countries
Supervisors: Richard Edwards, Hera Cook, Dalice Sim


Jane Oliver
Investigating potentially modifiable factors that increase the risk of children developing GAS pharyngitis and acute rheumatic fever
Supervisors: Michael Baker, Nevil Pierse

Losa Moata'ane
Inequalities and health in Pacific communities: Policy implications
Supervisors: Peter Crampton, Philippa Howden-Chapman

Melissa McLeod
Equity In Cost Effectiveness Analysis
Supervisors: Tony Blakely, Ricci Harris

Tim Chambers
Children's everyday exposure to alcohol advertising: An analysis using automated camera technology
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Moira Smith

Amanda Kvalsvig
Pre-hospital parenteral antibiotic treatment for meningococcal disease
Supervisors: Michael Baker, Tony Blakely


Michelle Barr
Classification of food & beverage making: a comparison using available nutrient profiling models
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Moira Smith

Trang Khieu
Estimating the health burden of influenza in New Zealand
Supervisors: Michael Baker, Lucy Telfar-Barnard, Nevil Pierse

Sarah McKenzie
How should we be evaluating the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy?
Supervisors: Sunny Collings, Gabrielle Jenkins

Inga O'Brien
Supported self-management: a novel cancer survivorship care pathway
Supervisors: Diana Sarfati, Louise Signal

Frederieke Van Der Deen
Using simulation modelling to estimate the future smoking prevalence, health, and cost impacts of tobacco endgame strategies
Supervisors: Nick Wilson, Tony Blakely


Eli Chisholm
Movement for change: New Zealand renters and the conditions of their homes
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, Geoff Fougere

Ruth Cunningham
Health outcomes for mental health service users - exploring the case of cancer
Supervisors: Sunny Collings, D.Peterson, Diana Sarfati

Rebecca Gray
Smoking as an "informed adult choice" among young New Zealanders
Supervisors: Richard Edwards, Janet Hoek

Caroline Shaw
Quantifying the health effects of climate change mitigation policies in New Zealand
Supervisors: Richard Edwards, Philippa Howden-Chapman, Simon Hales

Virginia Signal
Stomach cancer inequalities and the development of health care process and system interventions
Supervisors: Diana Sarfati, Jason Gurney, Jonathan Koea, Kevin Dew

Moira Smith
Attitudes of children and adults to the food environment in organised sport
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Richard Edwards


Nicholas Preval
Statistical and econometric approaches to evaluating large-scale public health interventions
Supervisors: Michael Keall, A.Grimes

Mary-Ann Thompson
Settlement of Kiribati Families and the Impact of Climate Change
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, Geoff Fougere


Kate Amore
Counting for something: Conceptualising and counting homelessness in Aotearoa New Zealand
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, Michael Baker

Mary-Ann Carter
Is Junk Food Promoted Through Sport?
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Janet Hoek, Richard Edwards

Carolyn Hooper
Belongingness: How neighbourhood gets under the skin
Supervisors: Vivienne Ivory, Geoff Fougere, Sunny Collings

Aparna Lal
Ecological change, water quality and diarrhoeal illness in New Zealand
Supervisors: Simon Hales, Michael Baker

Ramona Tiatia
Family central heating at home
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, S.Dean

Diana Sarfati
Developing new comorbidity indices for cancer populations using administrative data
Supervisors: Peter Crampton, Nevil Pearce

Matthew Soeberg
Ethnic and socioeconomic trends in cancer survival, New Zealand, 1991-2004
Supervisors: Tony Blakely, Diana Sarfati, Geoff Fougere


Keri Lawson-TeAho
Whaia Te Mauriora. In Pursuit of Healing. Theorising connections between soul healing, tribal self-determination and Maori suicide prevention in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Judy Li
The effectiveness of graphic warnings on cigarette packs in improving knowledge of harms of smoking and encouraging quitting
Supervisors: Richard Edwards, Janet Hoek, James Stanley

Kim O'Sullivan
Power and Control: A multiphase mixed methods investigation of prepayment metering and fuel poverty in New Zealand
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapaman, Geoff Fougere

Frank Pega
The effect of anti-poverty and in-work tax credits for families on self-rated health in parents in New Zealand: A cohort study of 6,900 participants of the Survey of Family, Income and Employment
Supervisors: Kristie Carter, Tony Blakely, Peter Davis


Johanna Reidy
Working Together: Governance at the interface between primary care and public health
Supervisors: Peter Crampton, Pat Neuwelt

Marie Russell
Travel time use on public transport: what passengers do and how it affects their wellbeing
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Jackie Cumming, James Stanley

Jennifer Summers
The Burden and Risk Factors for Death from the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic amongst the New Zealand Military Forces of World War One
Supervisors: Nick Wilson, Michael Baker

Esther Woodbury
Auto-mobile: Disabled Drivers in New Zealand
Supervisors: Sunny Collings, Philippa Howden-Chapman, William Levack

Juliet Rumball-Smith
Inequality in quality? The selection and use of quality indicators to investigate ethnic disparities in the quality of hospital care, Aotearoa New Zealand
Supervisors: Tony Blakely, Diana Sarfati, Phil Hider and Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll


Mavis J Duncanson
Unintentional domestic injury from fire and flame in Aotearoa New Zealand
Supervisors: Alistair Woodward, Clare Salmond, John Langley, Kevin Dew, Michael Bates

Nicole Hermanson
New Zealand social service community organisations as advocates for health: Not just "social justice heroes always on the periphery"
Supervisors: Louise Signal, Peter King

Nevil Pierse
Statistical causality in participant unblinded randomised community trial
Supervisors: Michael Keall, Richard Arnold

Sharon Ponniah
Addressing Smoking Among Young People in New Zealand - A Study of Youth Smoking and Smoking Cessation
Supervisors: Nick Wilson, Richard Edwards


Fiona Imlach Gunasekara
Rich and well, poor and sick? The relationship between income and self-rated health from the New Zealand household panel Survey of Family, Income and Employment (SoFIE)
Supervisors: Tony Blakely, Kristie Carter, Ivy Liu

Lucy Nguma
Health seeking and health related behaviour for type 2 diabetes mellitus among adults in an urban community in Tanzania
Supervisors: Richard Edwards, Peter Crampton

Christina Severinsen
Marginally grounded: Camping ground residence in New Zealand
Supervisors: Philippa Howden-Chapman, Kevin Dew

Lucy Telfar Barnard
Home truths and cool admissions: New Zealand housing attributes and excess winter hospitalisation
Supervisors: Michael Baker, Philippa Howden-Chapman

Mathew Walton
Promoting childhood nutrition through primary schools: A complex analysis of policy options
Supervisors: Louise Signal, George Thomson


George Thomson
A Divided State: Bureaucratic and Corporate Influences on Tobacco Control Policy-making in New Zealand 1984-2001 [Abstract].

Need some ideas for possible research topics?
Information and contact details for research groups within the Department


Kerry Hurley
Department of Public Health
University of Otago, Wellington
PO Box 7343
Wellington South 6242
New Zealand
Tel 64 4 385 5541 ext 4807
Fax 64 4 389 5319

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