Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Professor Michael Baker, Department of Public Health

MBChB, FNZCPHM, FAFPHM, FRACMA, DComH, DObst

Michael Baker image 2020

Professor of Public Health; Director, Health Environment Infection Research Unit (HEIRU); Co-Director, He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme; Co-Director, Public Health Summer School

Teaches PUBH734 Health Protection

Contact details

Tel +64 4 918 6802
Fax +64 4 389 5319
Email michael.baker@otago.ac.nz

Research interests and activities 

Michael is a public health physician and Professor in the Department of Public Health. He is passionate about opportunities to organise society in ways that promote health, equity and sustainability.

In 2013 Michael was awarded the Liley Medal (Health Research Council) for his contribution to the health and medical sciences. In 2014 he was a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Science Prize as a member of He Kainga Oranga / Housing and Health Research Programme. In 2015 he was the NZ-UK Link Foundation Visiting Professor at the School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London.

His work during 2020-21 has been dominated by assisting with the Covid-19 pandemic response. Michael is a member of the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Group and has been a leading architect and advocate for the Covid-19 elimination strategy. He established a programme of research on the epidemiology, prevention and control of Covid-19 in NZ and internationally (Co-Search), which has generated a large amount of published research and commentary aimed at improving the pandemic response.

Michael’s work on public health, and the Covid-19 response in particular, was recognised by a number of recent awards including: the Critic and Conscience of Society Award (from Universities NZ), the Public Health Champion award (from the Public Health Association of NZ), being made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM), his selection as the 2020 Wellingtonian of the Year, and the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize in 2021.

Michael has a wide range of public health research interests, with a focus on infectious diseases, environmental health, and improving housing conditions. Specific research areas include:

  • infectious disease epidemiology
  • emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19 and pandemic influenza
  • food safety and enteric diseases such as campylobacteriosis
  • zoonoses and One Health
  • immunisation and vaccine preventable diseases
  • the health effects of household crowding, home injuries, and homelessness
  • seasonality of disease, health effects of climate change
  • public health surveillance and outbreak investigation
  • global health security, e.g. the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005)
  • science communication

Michael has worked in a range of roles, including being a medical advisor to a Minister of Health, for regional public health services, at a Crown Research Institute (ESR), and for the World Health Organisation in Manila and Geneva. Since 2003 he has been based full-time at the University of Otago, Wellington. Specific positions include:

^ Top of page

Publications

Riggs, L., Keall, M., Howden-Chapman, P., & Baker, M. G. (2021). Environmental burden of disease from unsafe and substandard housing, New Zealand, 2010-2017. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 99, 259-270. doi: 10.2471/BLT.20.263285

Shackleton, N., Li, E., Gibb, S., Kvalsvig, A., Baker, M., Sporle, A., … Milne, B. J. (2021). The relationship between income poverty and child hospitalisations in New Zealand: Evidence from longitudinal household panel data and Census data. PLoS ONE, 16(1), e0243920. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243920

Gray, L., Rose, S. B., Stanley, J., Zhang, J., Tassell-Matamua, N., Puloka, V., Kvalsvig, A., … Murton, S. A., … Baker, M. G. (2021). Factors influencing individual ability to follow physical distancing recommendations in Aotearoa New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic: A population survey. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2021.1879179

Ammar, S. E., McIntyre, M., Baker, M. G., & Hales, S. (2021). Imported arboviral infections in New Zealand, 2001 to 2017: A risk factor for local transmission. Travel Medicine & Infectious Disease, 102047. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2021.102047

Wilson, N., Baker, M. G., Blakely, T., & Eichner, M. (2021). Estimating the impact of control measures to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 associated with air travel into a COVID-19-free country. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 10766. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-89807-y

Chapter in Book - Research

Howden-Chapman, P., Chisholm, E., Telfar Barnard, L., Viggers, H., O'Sullivan, K., Bennett, J., Bierre, S., Preval, N., Randal, E., Tiatia, R., Ombler, J., Amore, K., Rivera-Muñoz, G., … Davies, C., Aspinall, C., Oliver, J., Baker, M., Keall, M., … Crane, J., & Pierse, N. (2017). Housing, energy and health in resilient cities. In P. Howden-Chapman, L. Early & J. Ombler (Eds.), Cities in New Zealand: Preferences, patterns and possibilities. (pp. 95-106). Wellington, New Zealand: Steele Roberts Aotearoa.

Baker, M., Zhang, J., & Howden-Chapman, P. (2013). The health effects of social housing: The Social Housing Outcomes Worth study. In S. Bierre, P. Howden-Chapman & L. Early (Eds.), Homes people can afford: How to improve housing in New Zealand. (pp. 33-40). Wellington, New Zealand: Steele Roberts Aotearoa.

Harris, R., Purdie, G., Robson, B., Wright, C., Zhang, J., & Baker, M. (2007). Appendix 3: Estimating Māori hospitalisations and cancer registrations. In B. Robson & R. Harris (Eds.), Hauora: Māori standards of health IV: A study of the years 2000-2005. (pp. 249-259). Wellington, New Zealand: Te Rōpū Rangahau Hauora a Eru Pōmare, University of Otago.

Baker, M., Milosevic, J., Blakely, T., & Howden-Chapman, P. (2004). Housing, crowding and health. In P. Howden-Chapman & P. Carroll (Eds.), Housing & health: Research, policy and innovation. (pp. 57-69). Wellington, New Zealand: Steele Roberts.

Howden-Chapman, P., Crane, J., Baker, M., Cunningham, C., & Matheson, A. (2004). Reducing health inequality through improving housing: He Kainga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme. In P. Howden-Chapman & P. Carroll (Eds.), Housing & health: Research, policy and innovation. (pp. 83-92). Wellington, New Zealand: Steele Roberts.

Baker, M. G., Goodyear, R., & Howden-Chapman, P. L. (2003). Household crowding and health. In What is the extent of crowding in New Zealand?: An analysis of crowding in New Zealand households 1986-2001. (pp. 58-87). Wellington: Statistics New Zealand.

Martin, D., Walker, S. J., Baker, M. G., Roberts, A., & Lennon, D. R. (1996). Epidemic of serogroup B meningococcal disease in New Zealand has parallels with that observed in the Netherlands, 1980-1990. In W. D. Zollinger, C. E. Frasch & C. D. Deal (Eds.), Pathogenic Neisseria. (pp. 496-497). Baltimore, Maryland: National Institute of Health.

^ Top of page

Chapter in Book - Other

Baker, M. (2002). Immunisations and malaria prophylaxis for travellers. In New Ethicals Catalogue 1997-2002. Auckland, New Zealand: Adis International.

^ Top of page

Journal - Research Article

Riggs, L., Keall, M., Howden-Chapman, P., & Baker, M. G. (2021). Environmental burden of disease from unsafe and substandard housing, New Zealand, 2010-2017. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 99, 259-270. doi: 10.2471/BLT.20.263285

Wilson, N., Baker, M. G., Blakely, T., & Eichner, M. (2021). Estimating the impact of control measures to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19 associated with air travel into a COVID-19-free country. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 10766. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-89807-y

Ammar, S. E., McIntyre, M., Baker, M. G., & Hales, S. (2021). Imported arboviral infections in New Zealand, 2001 to 2017: A risk factor for local transmission. Travel Medicine & Infectious Disease, 102047. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2021.102047

Gray, L., Rose, S. B., Stanley, J., Zhang, J., Tassell-Matamua, N., Puloka, V., Kvalsvig, A., … Murton, S. A., … Baker, M. G. (2021). Factors influencing individual ability to follow physical distancing recommendations in Aotearoa New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic: A population survey. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2021.1879179

Shackleton, N., Li, E., Gibb, S., Kvalsvig, A., Baker, M., Sporle, A., … Milne, B. J. (2021). The relationship between income poverty and child hospitalisations in New Zealand: Evidence from longitudinal household panel data and Census data. PLoS ONE, 16(1), e0243920. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0243920

Bennett, J., Zhang, J., Leung, W., Jack, S., Oliver, J., Webb, R., … Sika-Paotonu, D., Harwood, M., & Baker, M. G. (2021). Rising ethnic inequalities in acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, New Zealand, 2000-2018. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27(1), 36-46. doi: 10.3201/eid2701.191791

Thomas, S., Bennett, J., Jack, S., Oliver, J., Purdie, G., Upton, A., & Baker, M. G. (2021). Descriptive analysis of group A Streptococcus in skin swabs and acute rheumatic fever, Auckland, New Zealand, 2010–2016. Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific, 8, 100101. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2021.100101

Lorenz, N., Ho, T. K. C., McGregor, R., Davies, M. R., Williamson, D. A., Gurney, J. K., … Baker, M. G., & Moreland, N. J. (2021). Serological profiling of group A streptococcus infections in acute rheumatic fever. Clinical Infectious Diseases. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab180

Oliver, J., Robertson, O., Zhang, J., Marsters, B. L., Sika-Paotonu, D., Jack, S., Bennett, J., Williamson, D. A., … Pierse, N., & Baker, M. G. (2021). Early release-ethnically disparate disease progression and outcomes among acute rheumatic fever patients in New Zealand, 1989–2015. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27(7), 1893-1901. doi: 10.3201/eid2707.203045

Robertson, O., Nathan, K., Howden-Chapman, P., Baker, M. G., Atatoa Carr, P., & Pierse, N. (2021). Residential mobility for a national cohort of New Zealand-born children by area socioeconomic deprivation level and ethnic group. BMJ Open, 11, e039706. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-039706

Wilson, N., Blakely, T., Baker, M. G., & Eichner, M. (2021). Estimating the risk of outbreaks of COVID-19 associated with shore leave by merchant ship crews: Simulation studies for New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1529), 26-38. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Geoghegan, J. L., Douglas, J., Ren, X., Storey, M., Hadfield, J., Silander, O. K., … Baker, M. G., Murdoch, D. R., … de Ligt, J. (2021). Use of genomics to track Coronavirus disease outbreaks, New Zealand. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27(5), 1317-1322. doi: 10.3201/eid2705.204579

Kvalsvig, A., & Baker, M. G. (2021). How Aotearoa New Zealand rapidly revised its Covid-19 response strategy: Lessons for the next pandemic plan. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2021.1891943

Huang, Q. S., Wood, T., Jelley, L., Jennings, T., Jefferies, S., Daniells, K., Nesdale, A., Dowell, T., Turner, N., Campbell-Stokes, P., Balm, M., Dobinson, H. C., … Baker, M. G., … Werno, A., Grant, J., van der Linden, A., … Webby, R. J. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 nonpharmaceutical interventions on influenza and other respiratory viral infections in New Zealand. Nature Communications, 12(1), 1001. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-21157-9

Whitcombe, A. L., Hanson-Manful, P., Jack, S., Upton, A., Atatoa Carr, P., Williamson, D. A., Baker, M. G., … Moreland, N. J. (2020). Development and evaluation of a new triplex immunoassay that detects Group A Streptococcus antibodies for the diagnosis of rheumatic fever. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 58(9), e00300-20. doi: 10.1128/jcm.00300-20

Chung, A. W., Ho, T. K. C., Hanson-Manful, P., Tritscheller, S., Raynes, J. M., Whitcombe, A. L., … Oliver, J. R., Gurney, J. K., … Baker, M. G., & Moreland, N. J. (2020). Systems immunology reveals a linked IgG3-C4 response in patients with acute rheumatic fever. Immunology & Cell Biology, 98, 12-21. doi: 10.1111/imcb.12298

Geoghegan, J. L., Ren, X., Storey, M., Hadfield, J., Jelley, L., Jefferies, S., … Baker, M. G., Murdoch, D. R., … de Ligt, J. (2020). Genomic epidemiology reveals transmission patterns and dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in Aotearoa New Zealand. Nature Communications, 11(1), 6351. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-20235-8

Lake, R. J., Campbell, D. M., Hathaway, S. C., Ashmore, E., Cressey, P. J., Horn, B. J., … Baker, M. G., … French, N. P. (2020). Source attributed case-control study of campylobacteriosis in New Zealand. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.11.167

Graham, F. F., Hales, S., White, P. S., & Baker, M. G. (2020). Global seroprevalence of legionellosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, 10, 7337. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-63740-y

Walker, T. A., Waite, B., Thompson, M. G., McArthur, C., Wong, C., Baker, M. G., … Newbern, E. C. (2020). Risk of severe influenza among adults with chronic medical conditions. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 221, 183-190. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz570

Pierse, N., White, M., Ombler, J., Davis, C., Chisholm, E., Baker, M., & Howden-Chapman, P. (2020). Well Homes Initiative: A home-based intervention to address housing-related ill health. Health Education & Behavior, 47(6), 836-844. doi: 10.1177/1090198120911612

Prasad, N., Walker, T. A., Waite, B., Wood, T., Trenholme, A. A., Baker, M. G., … Newbern, E. C. (2020). Respiratory syncytial virus associated hospitalizations among adults with chronic medical conditions. Clinical Infectious Diseases. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa730

Cannon, J., Zhung, J., Bennett, J., Moreland, N. J., Baker, M. G., Geelhoed, E., … Jack, S. (2020). The economic and health burden of disease caused by Group A Streptococcus in New Zealand. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.11.193

Gray, L., MacDonald, C., Tassell-Matamua, N., Stanley, J., Kvalsvig, A., Zhang, J., Murton, S., … Puloka, V., … Baker, M. G. (2020). Wearing one for the team: Views and attitudes to face covering in New Zealand/Aotearoa during COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. Journal of Primary Health Care, 12(3), 199-206. doi: 10.1071/HC20089

Gilpin, B. J., Walker, T., Paine, S., Sherwood, J., Mackereth, G., Wood, T., … Baker, M. G., & Jones, N. (2020). A large scale waterborne Campylobacteriosis outbreak, Havelock North, New Zealand. Journal of Infection, 81, 390-395. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2020.06.065

Sanhueza, J. M., Baker, M. G., Benschop, J., Collins-Emerson, J. M., Wilson, P. R., & Heuer, C. (2020). Estimation of the burden of leptospirosis in New Zealand. Zoonoses & Public Health, 67, 167-176. doi: 10.1111/zph.12668

Baker, M. G., Grout, L., & Wilson, N. (2020). Update on the campylobacter epidemic from chicken meat in New Zealand: The urgent need for an upgraded regulatory response. Epidemiology & Infection. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1017/s095026882000299x

Toombs-Ruane, L. J., Benschop, J., French, N. P., Biggs, P. J., Midwinter, A. C., Marshall, J. C., … Baker, M. G., … Burgess, S. A. (2020). Carriage of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-and AmpC beta-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli from humans and pets in the same households. Applied & Environmental Microbiology, 86(24), e01213-20. doi: 10.1128/aem.01613-20

Nisa, S., Wilkinson, D. A., Angelin-Bonnet, O., Paine, S., Cullen, K., Wight, J., Baker, M. G., & Benschop, J. (2020). Diverse epidemiology of Leptospira serovars notified in New Zealand, 1999-2017. Pathogens, 9, 841. doi: 10.3390/pathogens9100841

Adnan, M., Gao, X., Bai, X., Newbern, E., Sherwood, J., Jones, N., Baker, M., … Gao, W. (2020). Potential early identification of a large campylobacter outbreak using alternative surveillance data sources: Autoregressive modelling and spatiotemporal clustering. JMIR Public Health & Surveillance, 6(3), e18281. doi: 10.2196/18281

Oliver, J., Upton, A., Jack, S. J., Pierse, N., Williamson, D. A., & Baker, M. G. (2020). Distribution of streptococcal pharyngitis and acute rheumatic fever, Auckland, New Zealand, 2010-2016. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 26(6), 1113-1121. doi: 10.3201/eid2606.181462

Wilson, N., Schwehm, M., Verrall, A. J., Parry, M., Baker, M. G., & Eichner, M. (2020). Detecting the re-emergent COVID-19 pandemic after elimination: Modelling study of combined primary care and hospital surveillance. New Zealand Medical Journal, 133(1524), 28-39. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Wilson, N., Boyd, M., Kvalsvig, A., Chambers, T., & Baker, M. (2020). Public health aspects of the Covid-19 response and opportunities for the post-pandemic era. Policy Quarterly, 16(3), 20-24.

McGregor, R., Whitcombe, A. L., Sheen, C. R., Dickson, J. M., Day, C. L., Carlton, L. H., … Bennett, J., Baker, M. G., … Moreland, N. J. (2020). Collaborative networks enable the rapid establishment of serological assays for SARS-CoV-2 during nationwide lockdown in New Zealand. PeerJ, 8, e9863. doi: 10.7717/peerj.9863

Wilson, N., Turner, N., & Baker, M. G. (2019). One hundred years ago in 1919: New Zealand's birth reduction shock associated with an influenza pandemic. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1507), 57-62. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Huang, Q. S., Bandaranayake, D., Wood, T., Newbern, E. C., Seeds, R., Ralston, J., … Baker, M. G., … on behalf of the SHIVERS investigation team. (2019). Risk factors and attack rates of seasonal influenza infection: Results of the Southern Hemisphere Influenza and Vaccine Effectiveness Research and Surveillance (SHIVERS) seroepidemiologic cohort study. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 219, 347-357. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy443

Ammar, S. E., McIntyre, M., Swan, T., Kasper, J., Derraik, J. G. B., Baker, M. G., & Hales, S. (2019). Intercepted mosquitoes at New Zealand's ports of entry, 2001 to 2018: Current status and future concerns. Tropical Medicine & Infectious Disease, 4(3), 101. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed4030101

Prasad, N., Huang, S., Wood, T., Aminisani, N., McArthur, C., Baker, M. G., … Newbern, C. (2019). Influenza associated outcomes among pregnant, post-partum, and non-pregnant women of reproductive age. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 219(12), 1893-1903. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz035

Mayfield, H. J., Smith, C. S., Lowry, J. H., Watson, C. H., Baker, M. G., Kama, M., … Lau, C. L. (2018). Predictive risk mapping of an environmentally-driven infectious disease using spatial Bayesian networks: A case study of leptospirosis in Fiji. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 12(10), e0006857. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006857

Oliver, J., Malliya Wadu, E., Pierse, N., Moreland, N. J., Williamson, D. A., & Baker, M. G. (2018). Group A Streptococcus pharyngitis and pharyngeal carriage: A meta-analysis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 12(3), e0006335. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006335

Boyd, M., Mansoor, O. D., Baker, M. G., & Wilson, N. (2018). Economic evaluation of border closure for a generic severe pandemic threat using New Zealand Treasury methods. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 42(5), 444-446. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12818

Oliver, J., Foster, T., Williamson, D. A., Pierse, N., & Baker, M. G. (2018). Using preceding hospital admissions to identify children at risk of developing acute rheumatic fever. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health, 54(5), 499-505. doi: 10.1111/jpc.13786

More publications...