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Professor Louise Signal, Department of Public Health

Louise signal photo

PhD, Dip Com Psych

Director of HePPRU

Contact details 

Tel 64 385 5541 ext 6477
Email louise.signal@otago.ac.nz

Research interests and activities 

Professor Louise Signal is a Director of the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit at the University of Otago, Wellington. She has worked and done research in the field of health promotion for over 30 years in a range of roles, including Senior Advisor (Health Promotion) for the New Zealand Ministry of Health. Louise is a social scientist with a PhD in Community Health from the University of Toronto. She is the Regional Director of the South West Pacific Region of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE).

Professor Signal’s research focuses on identifying and addressing environmental determinants of health. Her research has a strong focus on addressing inequities, particularly for Māori, Pacific and low-income communities. Key foci include obesity prevention, addressing harm from alcohol and gambling and tackling inequities in cancer treatment. Her research utilises qualitative research methods, policy research and mixed method research design. Professor Signal is principal investigator on an innovative research project that studies the world children live in, Kids’Cam. It utilises automated cameras to record children’s worlds. Currently there are 17 projects underway or completed using this data in New Zealand. She is currently leading similar research in Tonga in collaboration with Dr Viliami Puloka and the Tongan Government.

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Publications

Chambers, T., Pearson, A. L., Kawachi, I., Stanley, J., Smith, M., Barr, M., … Signal, L. (2018). Children's home and school neighbourhood exposure to alcohol marketing: Using wearable camera and GPS data to directly examine the link between retailer availability and visual exposure to marketing. Health & Place, 54, 102-109. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.09.012

Wilson, N., Signal, L., & Thomson, G. (2018). Surveying all public drinking water fountains in a city: Outdoor field observations and Google Street View. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 42(1), 83-85. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12730

Gage, R., Wilson, N., Signal, L., Barr, M., Reeder, A., & Thomson, G. (2018). Using Google Earth to assess shade for sun protection in urban recreation spaces: Methods and results. Journal of Health Communication. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10900-018-0522-0

Dew, K., Signal, L., Stairmand, J., Simpson, A., & Sarfati, D. (2018). Cancer care decision-making and treatment consent: An observational study of patients’ and clinicians’ rights. Journal of Sociology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1440783318773880

Gage, R., O'Toole, C., Robinson, A., Reeder, A., Signal, L., & Mackay, C. (2018). Wellington playgrounds uncovered: An examination of solar ultraviolet radiation and shade protection in New Zealand. Photochemistry & Photobiology, 94(2), 357-361. doi: 10.1111/php.12855

Authored Book - Research

Signal, L., Martin, J., Cram, F., & Robson, B. (2008). The Health Equity Assessment Tool: A user's guide. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Health, 44p.

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Edited Book - Research

Signal, L., & Ratima, M. (Eds.). (2015). Promoting health in Aotearoa New Zealand. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press, 312p.

Signal, L., Egan, R., & Cook, L. (Eds.). (2009). Reviews of health promotion practice in Aotearoa New Zealand 2007-2008. Auckland, New Zealand: Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand & Health Promotion and Policy Unit, University of Otago, 138p.

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Chapter in Book - Research

Dew, K., Cunningham, C., Davies, C., Tavite, H., Stairmand, J., Sarfati, D., & Signal, L. (2017). Māori-centered research and ethnomethodology: Cancer inequities and research by and for indigenous peoples. In SAGE research methods: Cases part 2. SAGE. doi: 10.4135/9781526409218

Signal, L., Ratima, M., & Raeburn, J. (2015). The origins of health promotion. In L. Signal & M. Ratima (Eds.), Promoting health in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 19-41). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Signal, L., & Ratima, M. (2015). Critical reflections and future challenges. In L. Signal & M. Ratima (Eds.), Promoting health in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 285-296). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Signal, L., Jenkin, G., Fougere, G., & Poata-Smith, E. (2015). The politics of health promotion. In L. Signal & M. Ratima (Eds.), Promoting health in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 162-187). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Signal, L., & Ratima, M. (2015). Introduction. In L. Signal & M. Ratima (Eds.), Promoting health in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 7-18). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Signal, L., Soeberg, M., & Quigley, R. (2013). Health impact assessment in local government: A New Zealand case study. In M. O'Mullane (Ed.), Integrating health impact assessment with the policy process: Lessons and experiences from around the world. (pp. 109-118). Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/med/9780199639960.003.0010

Walton, M., & Signal, L. (2010). Childhood obesity and the food environment. In J. Pearce & K. Witten (Eds.), Geographies of obesity: Environmental understandings of the obesity epidemic. (pp. 111-127). Farnham, UK: Ashgate.

Signal, L., & Egan, R. (2009). Reflections on best practice in health promotion in Aotearoa New Zealand. In L. Signal, R. Egan & L. Cook (Eds.), Reviews of health promotion practice in Aotearoa New Zealand 2007-2008. (pp. 129-135). Auckland, New Zealand: Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand & Health Promotion and Policy Unit, University of Otago.

Signal, L., Cook, L., & Egan, R. (2009). Introducing reviews of health promotion practice. In L. Signal, R. Egan & L. Cook (Eds.), Reviews of health promotion practice in Aotearoa New Zealand 2007-2008. (pp. 1-3). Auckland, New Zealand: Health Promotion Forum of New Zealand & Health Promotion and Policy Unit, University of Otago.

Signal, L. (2008). Tools for health equity. In K. Dew & A. Matheson (Eds.), Understanding health inequalities in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 173-184). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Hearn, S., Martin, H., Signal, L., & Wise, M. (2005). Health promotion in Australia and New Zealand: The struggle for equity. In A. Scriven & S. Garman (Eds.), Promoting Health: Global perspectives. (pp. 239-254). Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Journal - Research Article

Chambers, T., Pearson, A. L., Kawachi, I., Stanley, J., Smith, M., Barr, M., … Signal, L. (2018). Children's home and school neighbourhood exposure to alcohol marketing: Using wearable camera and GPS data to directly examine the link between retailer availability and visual exposure to marketing. Health & Place, 54, 102-109. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.09.012

Gage, R., O'Toole, C., Robinson, A., Reeder, A., Signal, L., & Mackay, C. (2018). Wellington playgrounds uncovered: An examination of solar ultraviolet radiation and shade protection in New Zealand. Photochemistry & Photobiology, 94(2), 357-361. doi: 10.1111/php.12855

Dew, K., Signal, L., Stairmand, J., Simpson, A., & Sarfati, D. (2018). Cancer care decision-making and treatment consent: An observational study of patients’ and clinicians’ rights. Journal of Sociology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1440783318773880

Gage, R., Wilson, N., Signal, L., Barr, M., Reeder, A., & Thomson, G. (2018). Using Google Earth to assess shade for sun protection in urban recreation spaces: Methods and results. Journal of Health Communication. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10900-018-0522-0

Wilson, N., Signal, L., & Thomson, G. (2018). Surveying all public drinking water fountains in a city: Outdoor field observations and Google Street View. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 42(1), 83-85. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12730

Signal, L. N., Bowers, S. G., Edwards, R., Gifford, H., Hudson, S., Jenkin, G. L. S., Lanumata, T. S., Russell, M. L., Thomson, G., & Walton, M. D. (2018). Process, pitfalls and profits: Lessons from interviewing New Zealand policy-makers. Health Promotion International, 33(2), 187-194. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daw065

Gage, R., Leung, W., Stanley, J., Reeder, A., Mackay, C., Smith, M., Barr, M., Chambers, T., & Signal, L. (2018). Sun protection among New Zealand primary school children. Health Education & Behavior, 45(5), 800-807. doi: 10.1177/1090198117741943

Chambers, T., Stanley, J., Signal, L., Pearson, A. L., Smith, M., Barr, M., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2018). Quantifying the nature and extent of children's real-time exposure to alcohol marketing in their everyday lives using wearable cameras: Children's exposure via a range of media in a range of key places. Alcohol & Alcoholism, 53(5), 626-633. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agy053

O'Brien, I., Signal, L., & Sarfati, D. (2018). Wide-ranging impacts reported by NZ cancer survivors: Is supporting cancer survivor resilience a health sector role? Supportive Care in Cancer, 26(4), 1207-1213. doi: 10.1007/s00520-017-3943-x

Carter, M.-A., Signal, L. N., Edwards, R., & Hoek, J. (2018). Competing teammates: Food in New Zealand sports settings. Health Promotion International. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/heapro/day035

Signal, L. N., Watts, C., Murphy, C., Eyles, H., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2018). Appetite for health-related food taxes: New Zealand stakeholder views. Health Promotion International, 33(5), 791-800. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dax019

Smith, M., Stanley, J., Signal, L., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Balina, A., … Wilson, N. (2018). Children's healthy and unhealthy beverage availability, purchase and consumption: A wearable camera study. Appetite, 133, 240-251. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2018.11.004

Gage, R., Barr, M., Stanley, J., Reeder, A., Mackay, C., Smith, M., Chambers, T., Leung, W., & Signal, L. (2018). Sun protection and shade availability in New Zealand's outdoor recreation spaces. New Zealand Medical Journal, 131(1484), 30-37. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Signal, L., Semper, K., Stairmand, J., Davies, C., Millar, E., Dowell, T., … Mangin, D., & Sarfati, D. (2017). A walking stick in one hand and a chainsaw in the other: Patients’ perspectives of living with multimorbidity. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130(1455), 65-76. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Signal, L. N., Smith, M. B., Barr, M., Stanley, J., Chambers, T. J., Zhou, J., … Jenkin, G. L. S., Pearson, A. L., … Hoek, J., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2017). Kids'Cam: An objective methodology to study the world in which children live. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 53(3), e89-e95. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.02.016

Smith, M., Signal, L., Edwards, R., & Hoek, J. (2017). Children's and parents' opinions on the sport-related food environment: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 18(9), 1018-1039. doi: 10.1111/obr.12558

Chambers, T., Pearson, A. L., Stanley, J., Smith, M., Barr, M., Ni Mhurchu, C., & Signal, L. (2017). Children's exposure to alcohol marketing within supermarkets: An objective analysis using GPS technology and wearable cameras. Health & Place, 46, 274-280. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2017.06.003

Robinson, A., Hulme-Moir, S., Puloka, V., Smith, M., Stanley, J., & Signal, L. (2017). Housing as a determinant of Tongan children's health: Innovative methodology using wearable cameras. International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 14(10), 1170. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14101170

Chambers, T., Pearson, A. L., Kawachi, I., Rzotkiewicz, Z., Stanley, J., Smith, M., Barr, M., … Signal, L. (2017). Kids in space: Measuring children’s residential neighborhoods and other destinations using activity space GPS and wearable camera data. Social Science & Medicine, 193, 41-50. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.09.046

Pearson, A. L., Bottomley, R., Chambers, T., Thornton, L., Stanley, J., Smith, M., Barr, M., & Signal, L. (2017). Measuring blue space visibility and ‘blue recreation’ in the everyday lives of children in a capital city. International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 14(6), 563. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14060563

Gage, R., Leung, W., Stanley, J., Reeder, A., Mackay, C., Chambers, T., Smith, M., Barr, M., & Signal, L. (2017). Studying third-parties and environments: New Zealand sun-safety research. Health Promotion International. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dax094

Signal, L. N., Stanley, J., Smith, M., Barr, M. L., Chambers, T. J., Zhou, J., … McKerchar, C., Pearson, A. L., Hoek, J., Jenkin, G. L. S., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2017). Children's everyday exposure to food marketing: An objective analysis using wearable cameras. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 14, 137. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0570-3

Chambers, T., Signal, L., Carter, M.-A., McConville, S., Wong, R., & Zhu, W. (2017). Alcohol sponsorship of a summer of sport: A frequency analysis of alcohol marketing during major sports events on New Zealand television. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130(1448), 27-33. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Gage, R., Leung, W., Stanley, J., Reeder, A., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Smith, M., & Signal, L. (2017). Clothing protection from ultraviolet radiation: A new method for assessment. Photochemistry & Photobiology, 93(6), 1513-1518. doi: 10.1111/php.12803

D'Souza, A. J., Russell, M., Wood, B., Signal, L., & Elder, D. (2016). Attitudes to physical punishment of children are changing. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 101(8), 690-693. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2015-310119

Barr, M., Signal, L., Jenkin, G., & Smith, M. (2015). Capturing exposures: Using automated cameras to document environmental determinants of obesity. Health Promotion International, 30(1), 56-63. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dau089

Thornley, L., Ball, J., Signal, L., Lawson-Te Aho, K., & Rawson, E. (2015). Building community resilience: Learning from the Canterbury earthquakes. Kōtuitui, 10(1), 23-35. doi: 10.1080/1177083X.2014.934846

Stairmand, J., Signal, L., Sarfati, D., Jackson, C., Batten, L., Holdaway, M., & Cunningham, C. (2015). Consideration of comorbidity in treatment decision making in multidisciplinary cancer team meetings: A systematic review. Annals of Oncology, 26, 1325-1332. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdv025

Dew, K., Signal, L., Davies, C., Tavite, H., Hooper, C., Sarfati, D., Stairmand, J., & Cunningham, C. (2015). Dissonant roles: The experience of Māori in cancer care. Social Science & Medicine, 138, 144-151. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.06.008

McKerchar, C., Bowers, S., Heta, C., Signal, L., & Matoe, L. (2015). Enhancing Māori food security using traditional kai. Global Health Promotion, 22(3), 15-24. doi: 10.1177/1757975914543573

Dew, K., Stubbe, M., Signal, L., Stairmand, J., Dennett, E., Koea, J., Simpson, A., Sarfati, D., … Holdaway, M. (2015). Cancer care decision making in multidisciplinary meetings. Qualitative Health Research, 25(3), 397-407. doi: 10.1177/1049732314553010

Pearson, A. L., de Latour, P., Kemp, G., Findlay, N., Halim, A., Atkinson, N., Chong, M., Cameron, R., Brown, C., Kim, G., Campbell, P., Hills, T., Jayawant, A., Chae, M., Bhagavan, C., French, C., Jenkin, G., Smith, M., & Signal, L. (2014). Understanding differences in access to water fountains and sugar-sweetened beverages in children. Health & Place, 30, 94-97. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2014.08.013

Jenkin, G., Madhvani, N., Signal, L., & Bowers, S. (2014). A systematic review of persuasive marketing techniques to promote food to children on television. Obesity Reviews, 15(4), 281-293. doi: 10.1111/obr.12141

Duignan, M., Signal, L., & Thomson, G. (2014). "Good intentions, but inadequate practices": Sun protection in early childhood centres: A qualitative study from New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 127(1389). Retrieved from http://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Smith, M., Jenkin, G., Signal, L., & McLean, R. (2014). Consuming calories and creating cavities: Beverages NZ children associate with sport. Appetite, 81, 209-217. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.06.015

Collings, S., Jenkin, G., Carter, K., & Signal, L. (2014). Gender differences in the mental health of single parents: New Zealand evidence from a household panel survey. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49(5), 811-821. doi: 10.1007/s00127-013-0796-6

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