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Tim Chambers, Department of Public Health

Profile_Tim_ChambersBPhEd(Hons 1st Class) BA PhD (Public Health)

Senior Research Fellow; HEIRU

Contact details

Tel +64 21 100 4066
Email tim.chambers@otago.ac.nz

Research interests

Tim is a Fulbright Scholar (Harvard University) and a Senior Research Fellow in the Health, Environment and Infection Research Unit at the University of Otago, Wellington. His research interests include environmental health and infectious diseases. Tim’s current research investigates the potential health burden of drinking water contamination, with a focus on nitrate contamination. Tim has also contributed to the Covid-19 response through his work on digital contact tracing for multiple Government agencies.

Dr Chambers uses spatial and quantitative research methods to understand the connections between place, space and health. Tim’s research also uses innovative technological solutions – such as wearable cameras, GPS devices and Bluetooth tracking devices to understand complex human behaviour. Tim’s research agenda also has a strong equity and policy focus.

Dr Chambers completed his PhD in public health at the University of Otago in 2018. Dr Chambers also has degrees in Physical Education and Classical Studies. Tim was a research associate at Imperial College London before returning to the University of Otago in April 2020.

Current projects

The potential public health burden of nitrate contamination in drinking water

There is increasing evidence linking exposure to nitrate in drinking water to multiple negative health outcomes, including colorectal cancer, preterm births and neural tube defects. In many studies, the risk of the adverse health outcome was found to occur at drinking water nitrate levels significantly lower than New Zealand’s ‘Maximum Acceptable Value’ of 11.3 mg/L nitrate-nitrogen (Drinking water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (revised 2018)).

Primary aim: to investigate the potential public health burden of nitrate contamination in New Zealand drinking water.

https://www.ecan.govt.nz/your-region/plans-strategies-and-bylaws/canterbury-land-and-water-regional-plan/change-7/

Nitrate contamination in drinking water and adverse birth outcomes emerging evidence is concerning for New Zealand

Public health response to report on potential risk of nitrate from drinking water

Interventions to reduce alcohol’s harms to health: a modelling study

Alcohol consumption is a substantial health risk factor and is ranked seventh globally and fifth for the NZ population as a cause of morbidity and mortality in 2016. A wealth of international studies identify benefits from diverse alcohol interventions and the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) SAFER framework identifies highly effective strategies for governments to adopt. However, this evidence does not provide decision-makers with the information they require. The types of information that would really assist decision makers include answers to questions like:

“Which interventions will achieve the biggest health benefits if implemented in NZ?” and “Which will have the biggest impact in reducing health inequalities?”

Primary aim: Investigate the potential health impacts and health system cost impacts of key alcohol interventions for Māori and non-Māori.

Digital contact tracing: Trials of a Bluetooth-enabled contact tracing card

Speed and accuracy of contact tracing are key to controlling COVID-19 outbreaks. Contact tracing breaks the chains of human-to-human transmission through the identification and quarantining of people exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case. Traditional contact tracing is labour intensive, reactive and not easily scalable. Digital contact tracing (DCT) uses technology to track and trace contacts to address the limitations of manual contact tracing. Modelling studies assessing DCT show a reduction in secondary cases if these solutions are used together with other public health measures. However, to date, there is limited empirical evidence demonstrating the efficacy of DCT solutions. Further, large questions around the acceptability and privacy of these solutions remain.

Primary aim: to assess the acceptability and efficacy of a Bluetooth-enabled contact tracing card.

https://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/20201218-te-whatu-research-report.pdf

https://www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/information-releases/general-information-releases/contact-tracing-technologies-prototype-research-programme-key-documents

In the Media

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2021/02/study-finds-one-in-six-kiwis-exposed-to-high-levels-of-nitrates-in-tap-water-links-to-bowel-cancer.html

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/436879/up-to-800-000-new-zealanders-may-have-increased-bowel-cancer-risk-due-to-nitrates-in-water

https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018788472/further-work-planned-on-nitrates-in-drinking-water

https://www.newsroom.co.nz/heres-what-we-need-in-a-digital-contact-tracing-solution

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/environmental-groups-call-slash-nitrate-water-pollution

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Publications

Chambers, T., Hales, S., Shaw, C., Baker, M., Ball, J., Cleghorn, C., & Wilson, N. (2021). New Zealand's Climate Change Commission report: The critical need to address the missing health co-benefits of reducing emissions. New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1542), 109-118. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Chambers, T., Jackson, N., & Hoek, J. (2021). New Zealand's proposed ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport: A cost-effective, pro-equity and feasible move towards reducing alcohol-related harm. Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific, 13, 100218. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2021.100218

Chambers, T., Segal, A., & Sassi, F. (2021). Interventions using behavioural insights to influence children's diet-related outcomes: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 22, e13152. doi: 10.1111/obr.13152

Branca, F., Chambers, T., & Sassi, F. (2021). How to tackle childhood obesity? Evidence and policy implications from a STOP series of systematic reviews [Introduction]. Obesity Reviews, 22(2), e13181. doi: 10.1111/obr.13181

Freeman, N., Gage, R., Chambers, T., Blaschke, P., Cook, H., Stanley, J., Pearson, A., Smith, M., Barr, M., & Signal, L. (2021). Where do the children play? An objective analysis of children's use of green space. Health Promotion International, 36, 846-853. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daaa106

Anglemyer, A., Parker, L., Chiu, K., Chambers, T., Wilczynska, M., Grady, A., … Parry, M. (2020). Contact tracing technologies in epidemics: A rapid review [CRD42020188946]. PROSPERO. Retrieved from https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero

Working Paper; Discussion Paper; Technical Report

Wilson, N., Chambers, T., Kvalsvig, A., Mizdrak, A., Nghiem, N., Summers, J., Baker, M. (2020, July). NZ's "Team of 5 million" has achieved the lowest COVID-19 death rate in the OECD: But there are still gaps in our pandemic response. Public Health Expert blog. Retrieved from https://blogs.otago.ac.nz/pubhealthexpert/2020/07/22/nzs-team-of-5-million-has-achieved-the-lowest-covid-19-death-rate-in-the-oecd-but-there-are-still-gaps-in-our-pandemic-response

Other Research Output

Freeman, N., Gage, R., Chambers, T., Blaschke, P., Cook, H., Stanley, J., Pearson, A., Smith, M., Barr, M., & Signal, L. (2021). Where do the children play? An objective analysis of children's use of green space. Health Promotion International, 36, 846-853. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daaa106

Journal - Research Article

Anglemyer, A., Moore, T. H. M., Parker, L., Chambers, T., Grady, A., Chiu, K., Parry, M., … Bero, L. (2020). Digital contact tracing technologies in epidemics: A rapid review. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 8, CD013699. doi: 10.1002/14651858.Cd013699

Journal - Research Article

Anglemyer, A., Moore, T. H. M., Parker, L., Chambers, T., Grady, A., Chiu, K., Parry, M., … Bero, L. (2020). Digital contact tracing technologies in epidemics: A rapid review (Review). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 8, CD013699. doi: 10.1002%2F14651858.CD013699

Journal - Research Article

Liu, W., Barr, M., Pearson, A. L., Chambers, T., Pfeiffer, K. A., Smith, M., & Signal, L. (2020). Space-time analysis of unhealthy food advertising: New Zealand children's exposure and health policy options. Health Promotion International, 35, 812-820. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daz083

Journal - Research Article

McKerchar, C., Smith, M., Stanley, J., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Abel, G., Lacey, C., Gage, R., … Signal, L. (2020). Food store environment examination: FoodSee: A new method to study the food store environment using wearable cameras. Global Health Promotion, 27(3), 73-81. doi: 10.1177/1757975919859575

Journal - Research Article

Smith, M., Chambers, T., Abbott, M., & Signal, L. (2020). High stakes: Children’s exposure to gambling and gambling marketing using wearable cameras. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 18, 1025-1047. doi: 10.1007/s11469-019-00103-3

Journal - Research Article

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.

Journal - Research Article

Chambers, T., Stanley, J., Pearson, A. L., Smith, M., Barr, M., Ni Mhurchu, C., & Signal, L. (2019). Quantifying children's non-supermarket exposure to alcohol marketing via product packaging using wearable cameras. Journal of Studies on Alcohol & Drugs, 80(2), 158-166. doi: 10.15288/jsad.2019.80.158

Journal - Research Article

Gage, R., Leung, W., Stanley, J., Reeder, A., Mackay, C., Chambers, T., Smith, M., Barr, M., & Signal, L. (2019). Studying third-parties and environments: New Zealand sun-safety research. Health Promotion International, 34(3), 440-446. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dax094

Journal - Research Article

Signal, L. N., Jenkin, G. L. S., Barr, M., Smith, M., Chambers, T. J., Hoek, J., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2019). Prime Minister for a day: Children's views on junk food marketing and what to do about it. New Zealand Medical Journal, 132(1492), 36-45. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

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

Journal - Research Article

Chambers, T., & Shaw, S. (2016). Female water polo players' experiences of male coaches' approaches to pain and injury. Graduate Journal of Sport, Exercise & Physical Education Research, 4, 29-42.

Journal - Research Article

Branca, F., Chambers, T., & Sassi, F. (2021). How to tackle childhood obesity? Evidence and policy implications from a STOP series of systematic reviews [Introduction]. Obesity Reviews, 22(2), e13181. doi: 10.1111/obr.13181

Journal - Research Other

Chambers, T., Hales, S., Shaw, C., Baker, M., Ball, J., Cleghorn, C., & Wilson, N. (2021). New Zealand's Climate Change Commission report: The critical need to address the missing health co-benefits of reducing emissions. New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1542), 109-118. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Journal - Research Other

Chambers, T., Jackson, N., & Hoek, J. (2021). New Zealand's proposed ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport: A cost-effective, pro-equity and feasible move towards reducing alcohol-related harm. Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific, 13, 100218. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2021.100218

Journal - Research Other

Chambers, T., Segal, A., & Sassi, F. (2021). Interventions using behavioural insights to influence children's diet-related outcomes: A systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 22, e13152. doi: 10.1111/obr.13152

Journal - Research Other

Gurtner, M., Gage, R., Thomson, G., Jaine, R., Stanley, J., Smith, M., Barr, M., Chambers, T., & Signal, L. (2019). Are children smoke-free at home? Using wearable cameras to study children's exposure to smoking and smoking paraphernalia in private spaces [Short report]. Child: Care, Health & Development, 45, 306-309. doi: 10.1111/cch.12631

Journal - Research Other

Smeaton, A., McGuinness, K., Gurrin, C., Zhou, J., O'Connor, N. E., Wang, P., … Signal, L., Smith, M., Stanley, J., Barr, M., Chambers, T., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2016). Semantic indexing of wearable camera images: Kids’ Cam concepts. Proceedings of the ACM workshop on Vision and Language Integration Meets Multimedia Fusion. (pp. 27-34). New York, NY: ACM. doi: 10.1145/2983563.2983566

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Smith, M., Stanley, J., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Balina, A., Ni Mhurchu, C., … Wilson, N., & Signal, L. (2020). Children's healthy and unhealthy beverage availability, purchase and consumption: A wearable camera study. Proceedings of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity (ISBNPA) XChange. (pp. 702). International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. Retrieved from https://venuewest.eventsair.com/isbnpa-xchange-initiative

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Barr, M., Signal, L., Smith, M., Smith, J., Chambers, T., Zhou, J., … Hoek, J., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2017). Overexposed? Quantifying children's exposure to outdoor food advertising. Proceedings of the 15th World Congress on Public Health. Retrieved from https://wcph2017.entegyapp.com/Page/28/554/26/1459

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Barr, M., Signal, L., Smith, M., Stanley, J., Chambers, T., Zhou, J., … Ni Mhurchu, C. (2017). Quantifying children's exposure to outdoor food advertising. Proceedings of the 7th Activity and Nutrition Aotearoa Conference. (pp. 75). Retrieved from https://ana.org.nz

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

McKerchar, C., Signal, L., Smith, M., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Stanley, J., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2017). Confronting the convenience: The role of convenience stores in New Zealand children's food environments. Proceedings of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting. (pp. 150). ISBNPA. Retrieved from https://www.isbnpa.org

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

McKerchar, C., Smith, M., Stanley, J., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Ni Mhurchu, C., & Signal, L. (2017). Confronting the convenience: The role of convenience stores in children's food environments. Proceedings of the 15th World Congress on Public Health. Retrieved from https://wcph2017.entegyapp.com/Page/28/165/26/1459

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Puloka, V., Smith, M., Stanley, J., Chambers, T., & Signal, L. (2017). Tonga's school food policy: An evaluation. Proceedings of the Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI) 10th Annual Conference. (pp. 5). Retrieved from http://www.otago.ac.nz/global-health/annual-conference

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Signal, L., Smith, M., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Stanley, J., Zhou, J., … Hoek, J., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2017). Marketing obesity? A real-time analysis of children's exposure to food marketing. Proceedings of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting. (pp. 204). ISBNPA. Retrieved from https://www.isbnpa.org

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Signal, L., Smith, M., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Stanley, J., Zhou, J., … Lanumata, T., Pearson, A., … Hoek, J., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2017). Saturated with junk: The extent of junk food marketing in children's everyday lives. Proceedings of the 7th Activity and Nutrition Aotearoa Conference. (pp. 52). Retrieved from https://ana.org.nz

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Smith, M., Balina, A., Stanley, J., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Ni Mhurchu, C., … Wilson, N., & Signal, L. (2017). Drink-up: Determining the nature and extent of children's beverage consumption using wearable cameras. Proceedings of the 15th World Congress on Public Health. Retrieved from https://wcph2017.entegyapp.com/Page/28/782/26/1459

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Smith, M., Stanley, J., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Balina, A., Ni Mhurchu, C., … Wilson, N., & Signal, L. (2017). Drink-up: Determining the nature and extent of children's beverage consumption using wearable cameras. Proceedings of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Meeting. (pp. 452-453). ISBNPA. Retrieved from https://www.isbnpa.org

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Chambers, T., Signal, L., Smith, M., Stanley, J., & Pearson, A. (2016). Bombarded with booze: Children's exposure to on-site marketing at alcohol outlets. Saúde e Sociedade, 25(Suppl. 1), (pp. 1309). [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Lowe, B., Smith, M., Jaine, R., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Stanley, J., … Ni Mhurchu, C. (2016). Watching the watchers: Quantifying the duration and nature of children's after-school screen time. Obesity Reviews, 17(Suppl. 2), (pp. 181). doi: 10.1111/obr.12403

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Signal, L., Smith, M., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Stanley, J., Jenkin, G., Ni Mhurchu, C., … Gurrin, C. (2016). Kid's Cam: The frequency, duration and nature of children's everyday exposure to food and beverage marketing. Saúde e Sociedade, 25(Suppl. 1), (pp. 151-152). [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Signal, L., Smith, M., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Stanley, J., Zhou, J., … Jenkin, G., Lanumata, T., Pearson, A., … Hoek, J., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2016). Saturated with junk: The extent of junk food marketing in children's everyday. Obesity Reviews, 17(Suppl. 2), (pp. 182). doi: 10.1111/obr.12403

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Signal, L., Smith, M., Barr, M., Chambers, T., Stanley, J., Zhou, J., … Jenkin, G., Lanumata, T., … Pearson, A., Hoek, J., & Ni Mhurchu, C. (2016). Kid's Cam: Cutting edge methodology to study obesogenic environments. Obesity Reviews, 17(Suppl. 2), (pp. 180-181). doi: 10.1111/obr.12403

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Signal, L., Smith, M., Barr, M., Stanley, J., Jenkin, G., Chambers, T., Gage, R., … Ni Mhurchu, C. (2016). Automated anthropology: A new method of working with children and exploring their world. Saúde e Sociedade, 25(Suppl. 1), (pp. 1658). [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Smith, M., Signal, L., Barr, M., Stanley, J., Jenkin, G., Chambers, T., Gage, R., … Ni Mhurchu, C. (2016). Automated anthropology: A new method of working with children and exploring their world. Proceedings of the 3rd Aotearoa New Zealand Childhood Studies Colloquium: Children and Childhoods: Agency, Participation and Contribution. (pp. 20-21). Retrieved from https://www.ivvy.com/event/A1ZAMK/

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Chambers, T. J. (2018). The extent and nature of children’s real-time exposure to alcohol marketing using wearable cameras and GPS devices (PhD). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/8265

Awarded Doctoral Degree

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