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Dr Jennifer Summers image 2020PhD, AKC, DHMSA, PGDPH, PGCAP, BSc, CStat, FHEA, MRSNZSenior Research Fellow; BODE3Affiliate of Kings College London, United Kingdom

Contact details

Fax +64 4 389 5319

Research interests and activities

Jennifer joined the University of Otago as a Senior Research Fellow in 2020. She is currently a member of the Health Environment & Infection Research Unit (HEIRU). Jennifer is involved with COVID-19 related research, and is part of the Co-Search team. She is currently researching the COVID-19 response amongst island jurisdictions including New Zealand and supervises postgraduate students in Public Health.

Jennifer's previous role at Otago University was in the Burden of Disease Epidemiology, Equity and Cost-Effectiveness Programme (BODE3), and she held a previous position in the the Division of Health and Social Care Research at King's College London, United Kingdom as a Medical Statistician.

Jennifer was awarded her PhD in 2013 from the University of Otago in Public Health, titled 'The Burden and Risk Factors for Death from the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic amongst the New Zealand Military Forces of World War One'. Jennifer was also awarded a Diploma in the History of Medicine from the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in 2020, titled 'An Overview of Vaccine use amongst the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces during World War One'.

Jennifer's research interests include investigating aspects of life-course, historical and infectious disease epidemiology; specifically transmission and containment of influenza, both pandemic and seasonal strains. Jennifer also has research interests in historical epidemiology, military history, pandemic preparedness, disease modelling (including transmission dynamics), health workforces and policy, and statistical methodologies. Jennifer is a Chartered Statistician (CStat) from the Royal Statistical Society, United Kingdom.

Health Environment & Infection Research Unit (HEIRU), Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, University of Otago, New Zealand


Summers, J., Harwood, M., Bennett, J., Baker, M., & Wilson, N. (2024). Comparing two pandemics: A century apart. The Briefing, (15 March). Retrieved from

Summers, J., Kvalsvig, A., French, N., & Baker, M. G. (2024). Campylobacter. In L. M. Santiago-Connolly (Ed.), Encyclopedia of food safety (vol. 2): Infectious agents and toxins and their route into the food chain. (2nd ed.) (pp. 96-110). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-822521-9.00035-6

Wilson, N., Summers, J. A., Harper, G., & Thomson, G. (2023). The unseen casualties of the First World War: Insights from a randomly selected military sample. New Zealand Medical Journal/Te ara tika o te hauora hapori, 136(1584), 38-55. Retrieved from

Baker, M. G., Kvalsvig, A., Plank, M. J., Geoghegan, J. L., Wall, T., Tukuitonga, C., Summers, J., Bennett, J., Kerr, J., Turner, N., … Betty, B., … French, N., & Wilson, N. (2023). Continued mitigation needed to minimise the high health burden from COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal/Te ara tika o te hauora hapori, 136(1583), 67-91. Retrieved from

Grout, L. M., Kvalsvig, A., Summers, J., Gottfreðsson, M., Baker, M., & Wilson, N. (2023). To prepare for future pandemics, we can learn from the OECD's top two performers: New Zealand and Iceland. The Conversation. Retrieved from

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