School of Population Health

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Health Systems and Management

Our research aims to enhance the design, organisation and delivery of health services and health systems. Our researchers are currently engaged in projects to improve quality & safety, governance and reform, financing and economic evaluation of health services from primary care to tertiary care in Australia and overseas.

We are committed to research that strengthens health system capacities for reducing the disease burden within Australia and globally by enhancing the quality of health systems and service from within.

Coming from a diverse set of complementary disciplinary backgrounds, we use translational research to impact on healthcare practices and outcomes.  

Our team includes clinicians, clinical epidemiologists, psychologists, health economists and health service researchers who work collaboratively with health services, government, industry and consumer groups across Australia and internationally.

Our team focuses on:

  • Health leadership and organizational change.
  • Professional education, learning and workforce development.
  • Workforce productivity, psychological health and wellbeing.
  • Quality and safety in health care delivery.
  • Health systems governance and reform.
  • Health systems modelling and improvement.

The team have many recent collective and individual achievements evidenced in grant success, publications and impact in practice.

School Staff


Dr Augustine Asante
Senior Lecturer Health Economics and Financing & Co-Director International Public Health Program

Dr Augustine Asante is a health economist with over 10 years’ experience researching across the health system building blocks, particularly health financing and human resources for health. He has worked extensively in the Asia-Pacific region and sub-Saharan Africa evaluating complex health systems interventions. He has worked as a consultant health economist for the World Bank in Timor-Leste and also consulted on health system issues for a number of multilateral and bilateral agencies.


Augustine Asante


Associate Professor Chinthaka Balasooriya
Associate Professor in Medical Education

A/Professor Balasooriya is a nationally recognised expert in Medical Education. He has received a range of university and national level awards in educational excellence. Chinthaka leads a range of research projects in medical education, based within the UNSW Medicine program and within clinical training programs.  Chinthaka has 15 years of experience designing and implementing the UNSW Medicine program.


Chinthaka Balasooriya


Associate Professor Margo Barr
Associate Professor Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity

A/Professor Barr is an epidemiologist with interest and expertise in large scale cohort studies, behaviour risk factor and disease surveillance, primary health care and welfare, and survey and data linkage methodology. She is interested in supervising projects related to health service research, ideally using the resource, to inform primary and community services planning, program development and evaluation.


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Associate Professor Ben Harris-Roxas
Associate Professor CPHCE

A/Prof Harris-Roxas is Director of the South Eastern Research Collaboration Hub (SEaRCH), a joint initiative of the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District and UNSW. His research focuses on priority populations’ health service needs, health impact assessment, and integrated care.Research interests include health service planning, health equity, health impact assessment, and evaluation.


Image Ben Harris-Roxas


Associate Professor David Heslop
Associate Professor

A/Prof Heslop is a Primary Care clinical and Occupational and Environmental Medicine practitioner with research interests in resilient health care systems, particularly in the fields of health protection, emergency health response, and high risk/austere health care environments. His research focuses on using computational modelling and simulation to answer clinical systems questions in high risk/novel clinical environments.


David Heslop


Ebony Lewis
Associate Lecturer 

Ebony Lewis has come from a background of Emergency nursing with a passion for improving the end-of-life experience for older people with advanced chronic illness. She has extensive experience in geriatrics assessment and gerontology research. Ebony is currently contributing to projects on prognostic preferences in hospitals, identification of elders at risk in in residential aged care, and optimising Advance Care Planning in general practice.


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Professor Mary-Louise McLaws
Professor of Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology, Public Health and Health Services

Prof McLaws' research areas include: infection prevention and control, clinical improvement and safety and evidence based practice. She supervises projects broadly relating to: Infection prevention and control; Antibiotic resistance and prescribing; Surveillance of healthcare associated infections; Hand hygiene – behaviour and surveillance; Patient safety – related to infection prevention such as development and evaluation of care bundles and pathways to reduce infection.


Mary-Louise McLaws


Dr Lois Meyer
Senior Research Fellow, Postgraduate Learning and Teaching, Associate Dean Education

Lois undertakes strategic curriculum development and instructional design across the postgraduate programs.  Lois has a strong research interest in tracing the learning and career trajectories of the School's students and the implications of their postgraduate studies for strengthening capacity in health organisations. Her background is in health professional educational and workplace learning with an emphasis on Human Resource Development and workforce capacity. Her areas of principal research interests are in curriculum design, professional education and workplace learning. 


Lois Meyer


Associate Professor Anthony Newall
Associate Professor in Health Economics

A/Prof Anthony Newall's main research area is the economic evaluation of infectious disease prevention strategies, as well as the mathematical modelling and statistical analyses that inform these evaluations. He has over 60 peer-reviewed publications on a range of vaccine preventable diseases, including the epidemiology and cost-effectiveness of prevention strategies for influenza (seasonal and pandemic), pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, and human papillomavirus. 


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Dr Bronwyn Newman
Research Fellow in Health Management

Bronwyn has come from a Social Work background and has an interest in strategies to improve health access and inclusion for marginalised groups. Her doctoral thesis was about accessible mental health information for people with intellectual disability. Bronwyn’s research interests include accessible information, intellectual disability, health literacy, social policy and health service accessibility. Bronwyn is currently a Research Fellow on an NHMRC Ideas Project exploring patient engagement and safety amongst culturally and linguistically diverse communities.


Bronwyn Newman image


Dr Cathy O'Callaghan
Research Fellow in Integrated Care CPHCE

Dr O'Callaghan has experience in health promotion, public health and disease prevention research, evaluation and service development with a focus on working with vulnerable and priority populations. She has conducted research in the community and in health care services and has expertise in qualitative health research.


Cathy O'Callaghan


Dr Maha Pervaz Iqbal
Associate Lecturer in Primary Care

Dr Maha Pervaz Iqbal's specific research interests are student learning, educational design research with an interest in developing educational innovations in teaching and learning. As part of her Doctoral research she has developed an educational intervention to promote the key collaborative learning competencies in medical students.


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Associate Professor Holly Seale
Associate Professor, Infectious Diseases, Public Health and Health Services, Preventive Medicine, Epidemiology

A/Prof Seale has conducted behavioural research regarding infectious diseases and infection control. Recently, her work has focused on healthcare professional’s perceptions and behaviours regarding infectious diseases, particularly VPDs and examining new strategies for infection control using pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical measures. Her published studies have concerned communicable disease surveillance, social research, clinical trial outcomes, risk communication, immunisation coverage in at-risk groups, and the evaluation of education tools using qualitative and quantitative methods.


image - Holly Seale


Dr Anurag Sharma
Senior Lecturer Health Economics & Co-Director Public Health Programs

Dr Sharma is an applied Health Economist whose research involves rigorous applied methods using large and complex datasets. His recent research has focused on health system performance especially the hospital sector in Australia where he has investigated policy relevant issues such as reducing ED overcrowding, modeling hospital choice for elective surgery patients, and hospital behavior under activity based funding. Dr Sharma has also led a ARC Discovery grant on impact of health promotion policies such as taxing soft drinks to reduce obesity.  Dr Sharma has also been involved in projects focusing on public health issues in low-income settings such as Nepal, Mongolia and India. 


Anurag Sharma


Dr Catherine Spooner
Senior Research Fellow CPHCE

Dr Spooner has a disciplinary background in psychology and public health with a general focus on the how primary health care can reduce health inequities via the prevention and management of chronic diseases. She is currently working with others at CPHCE to build a program of research that aims to improve preventive health care for physical health of people with a severe mental illness (PWSMI). 


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Dr Ramesh Walpola
Lecturer in Health Management

Dr Ramesh Walpola is a pharmacist with research expertise and interest is in patient and medication safety. Ramesh’s current research spans a number of areas including patient and medication safety, safe delivery of care by carers, aged care, safety culture, health professional development and change management.


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Chimaera Evolution - computational modeling of complex emergencies and disasters

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Health security and protection has become increasingly uncertain in recent years. The assumptions that underpin preparedness and response decision are likely no longer valid. We are working to understand how to better plan, prepare for and respond to complex emergencies and disasters in this changing world.

UNSW’s School of Population Health has been working with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group to develop novel computational modelling and simulation approaches to understand and challenge key planning assumptions, explore the nature of various disaster scenarios in the contemporaneous social and health context, and to help optimise policy.

The study, led by Associate Professor David Heslop aims to develop computational modeling and simulation approaches using complexity theory, hybrid (agent based coupled with other forms) modeling and simulation, and multidisciplinary approaches to parametrisation, to understanding how disasters and emergencies unfold and how current and proposed policy influence positive and negative public health outcomes.

See Project Details


Health System Integration and Primary Health Care Development

image - CPHCE projects

This stream is focused on the role of primary health care in improving health and social care integration. Integration is approached at a number of levels and perspectives with the ultimate objectives of improving health and well being, service user experience and system efficiency/effectiveness. Key research areas include:

  • Primary Health Care System Development
  • Improving integration of services and continuity of care
  • Access to Primary Health Care

See Project Details

Health Systems teaching is represented through the following Programs:


Students within the Master of Public Health and those undertaking a dual Masters of Public Health/Masters of Health Leadership and Management can also graduate with a specialisation in Health Economic Evaluation. The specialisation is for students seeking skills in health economic evaluations and those wanting a career in health economics, and provides students with knowledge and skills in the principles of the economic evaluation of healthcare programs.  These are important tools to help decision makers obtain value for money in healthcare spending choices.


We have a range of course options that can be taken within our Masters Programs or as standalone courses with a Health Systems focus including:

Short Courses

The School has partnered with the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) to deliver practical and interactive experiences that will enable you to develop new skills, integrate the best evidence base into your practice, shift behaviours and catalyse the next stage in your career.  See our list of Short Courses here.