School of Public Health and Community Medicine

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WHO Collaborating Centre for eHealth

The UNSW World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for eHealth was established in 2013 as a multi-disciplinary collaborative research centre in eHealth and mHealth with UNSW Faculties of Medicine (School of Public Health & Community Medicine), Business and Engineering and their associated Research Centres. Its terms of reference and workplan (2013-7) are:

  1. Evidence-based evaluation and assessment of eHealth; and
  2. Scoping and appraising mHealth solutions.

Evaluation activities include optimizing the use of EHR data for research. An Internet of Things approach is used for collaborative mHealth activities.

The WHO CC is also a resource centre for the WHO Western Pacific and South East Asian Regional Offices in the implementation and evaluation of eHealth and mHealth tools used to address and improve health issues in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals. We are focused on national and international projects on the assessment of eHealth and mHealth tools for various applications in developing countries. In this role, we work very closely with the Working Council of the Asia electronic Health Information Network (AeHIN) and the WHO eHealth team in Geneva, New Delhi and Manila.

Research at the centre has been funded by the WHO, IEEE, ITU-D and governments of countries such as India, Bangladesh and Nepal. We have been engaged with the International Initiative on mHealth in Developing Countries (IEEE & ITU-D) and an assessment of eHealth in four Asia-Pacific countries, including China and India (WHO). These eHealth projects include tele-consultations, HIV/TB treatment, SMS reminders, mental health, smoking cessation and pandemic/disaster management.


Image - Teng Liaw


Prof Teng Liaw

Professor of General Practice UNSW
Director, WHO CC for eHealth, UNSW
T: +61 (2) 9616 8520

Teng Liaw is Professor of General Practice (UNSW) and Director of the Academic General Practice Unit in Fairfield, where he cares for patients and teaches registrars and health professional students and supervises Masters and PhD students from Information, Computer and Health Sciences conducting translational, informatics and data analytics research. Professor Teng is Co-Director of the UNSW WHO Collaborating Centre on E-Health which is hosted by the SPHCM. This is the avenue for his global eHealth research and capacity building in the Asia Pacific.  His work in integrating social business practice and principles with health and eHealth is the focus of his work with the Yunus Social Business Health Hub.

He is a recognised general practice and eHealth practitioner, educator and researcher as indicated by his election to Fellowship of the American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) and Foundation Fellowship of the Australasian College of Health Informatics; peer-reviewed publications and invited conference presentations, consultancies, professional committees; editorial boards; and peer-review panels for competitive grants and scientific conferences.

He has an excellent track record in winning competitive funding for his research in EHR-based data analytics and eHealth and clinical research. Professor Liaw’s international collaborative research examines EHR data for their fitness for patient care, quality improvement and research; and quality of software applications to collect, aggregate, link, analyse and display data. He has made sustained contributions to primary and integrated care and informatics research with a focus on cross-cultural health and disadvantaged populations. He has published 120+ peer-reviewed publications and 17 book chapters in the past 5 years.

He is Associate Editor of the International Journal of Medical Informatics and a Deputy Editor for Journal of Innovations in Health Informatics in Primary Care. He chairs the RACGP National Research & Evaluation Ethics Committee and sits on the RACGP Research Committee. He has enduring relationships with Commonwealth and state departments, RACGP, Primary Health Networks, Aboriginal Health organisations, and international networks in eHealth and integrated care research area.


Image - Padma Narasimhan


Dr Padmanesan Narasimhan

Assistant Director, WHO CC for eHealth, UNSW
T: +61 (2) 9385 3944

Dr Padmanesan Narasimhan is an Associate Lecturer at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine. He completed his PhD from the University of New South Wales, Australia in the area of tuberculosis transmission among household contacts in south India. His area of research includes health management, international health systems, understanding and application of ehealth models and disease management. He is also involved in teaching health services management, communicable disease emergencies and infectious disease epidemiology. He has published his research in leading international journals and conferences.

As well as clinical duties, Padma was involved in research, particularly in the areas of TB and HIV/AIDS, which included travel to the USA and France to present his research with colleagues. After completing his MPH with the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Padma was awarded the UNSW - University International Postgraduate Scholarship for a PhD at the School. Padma joined the School as a teaching and research academic this year. His contacts in his home town of Vellore at the Christian Medical College (CMC), one of the top medical schools in India, have given rise to a number of collaborations and benefits to the SPHCM. In 2013, Padma was integral in coordinating a link between the SPHCM and the Apollo Hospitals, India and arranging a series of infectious disease and biostatistics training programs. He also supervised e-health research projects in collaboration with the WHO collaborating centre for eHealth based at the SPHCM, UNSW. He has been recently been appointed as the Program Director of the MPH International program, an UNSW initiative to promote public health training in developing countries.


Image - Mahfuz Ashraf


Dr Mahfuz Ashraf

Lecturer, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney
T: +61 (2) 9385 8273

Mahfuz Ashraf draws on a diverse background to address socio-business problems at the intersection of Information Communication Technology (ICT) adoption and its impact on socio-economic development in resource poor settings e.g. rural/urban and indigenous communities. Mahfuz’s career spans in both professional and academic settings. Mahfuz devised marketing strategies for an Australian material handling company for identifying business opportunities of introducing telepresence robots in the Australian aged care market while working in WHO Collaborating Centre on eHealth, University of New South Wales in 2014-15.


Image - Jitendra Jonnagaddala


Dr Jitendra Jonnagaddala

Research Fellow, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney
T: +61 (2) 9385 8153

Jitendra is a Research Fellow with the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) under the Faculty of Medicine at UNSW Sydney. Jitendra’s research interests are in the secondary usage of routinely collected data. His focus is also on using social media data to detect disease outbreaks. He is also the main organiser of the International Workshop on Digital Disease Detection using Social Media (DDDSM). Jitendra has vast experience working in various ehealth and informatics roles. Jitendra leads a number of research projects working with diverse stakeholders such as UNSW, NSW Health, NSW Pathology and Cancer Institute NSW.  Prior to that he worked in Singapore for Singapore Health Services where he was primarily responsible for developing informatics solutions to enable translational research.   He is also a WHO international consultant on eHealth and Health information systems. As part of his consulting assignments he worked with various funding agencies, health ministries, and technical assistance agencies and not for profit organisations.


Our research can be placed under the following themes

  1. Infrastructure & tools to extract, link, share and use digital data,
  2. eHealth activities: Spatiotemporal systems for public health (e.g. disaster management) and clinical care (e.g. integrated care),
  3. mHealth tools and services for improving health outcomes: Elderly care and services, Communicable and non-communicable diseases,
  4. Citizen engagement: Yunus Social Business Health Hub,
  5. Measurement & evaluation: safety, usability and cost- effectiveness of eTools.

  • Informatics Capability Maturity (ICM) of health facilities in member countries to collect, manage and share health data to a national level to enable valid, reliable, accurate and useful monitoring of care processes and their impacts on sustainable development goal (SDG)-3 - Principal Investigator: Teng Liaw
  • Global eHealth, social business and SDG - A synergy - Principal Investigator: Mahfuz Ashraf
  • Social media and mHealth for Tuberculosis disease monitoring in NSW, Australia - Principal Investigator: Padmanesan Narasimhan
  • Mapping hot-spots for Tuberculosis in NSW, Australia using GIS (in collaboration with CRC SI, Australia) - Principal Investigators: Teng Liaw and Padmanesan Narasimhan
  • ICT, Disability and eHealth - Principal Investigator: Mahfuz Ashraf
  • Enterprise architecture in AeHIN member countries (SEARO & WPRO) - Principal Investigator: Jitendra Jonnagaddala
  • The OMOP-CDM harmonisation project, which includes Natural Language Processing - Principal Investigator: Jitendra Jonnagaddala
  • mHealth and geographical information systems (GIS) for public health (e.g. disaster management) and clinical care (e.g. integrated cancer care) purposes - Principal Investigator: Teng Liaw
  • Use case analysis to identify perceptions about mobile health services important for elders, people with special needs and vulnerability - Principal Investigator: Teng Liaw
  • Maintain the electronic Practice Based Research Network (ePBRN) infrastructure and tools to extract, link, share and use good quality digital data from integrated health neighborhoods to enable spatial comparative effectiveness research. - Principal Investigator: Teng Liaw
  • Conduct and research into the safety and quality of primary and integrated care - Principal Investigator: Teng Liaw
  • Assess the safety, usability and cost- effectiveness of e/m/teleHealth tools - Principal Investigator: Teng Liaw





First International Workshop on Digital Disease Detection using Social Media 2017 (DDDSM-2017)

WHO-CCE is organizing the First International Workshop on Digital Disease Detection using Social Media 2017 (DDDSM-2017) which will be held on 27 November 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan. DDDSM-2017 is co-located with the The 8th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (IJCNLP 2017). Please find more information on the workshop at

Workshop Description

Historically the disease outbreaks were detected based on trends observed in the official reports collected at various geographic levels as part of the pre-established surveillance programs. The major drawback of this approach is producing outbreak alerts in timely fashion. Advances in technology and rapid adoption of information sharing platforms such as social media platforms provide new data sources and unique opportunities for researchers to study disease outbreaks. Digital disease surveillance involves monitoring various digital information sources for early warning, detection, rapid response, and management phases.  Unlike manual systems, which relies on traditional disease surveillance program reports to monitor and predict early outbreaks, the current automated digital disease surveillance systems exploit mainly publicly available information on internet such as news, social media and search engines. The objective of this workshop emphasizes the application of the latest advances in advanced data mining algorithmic methods such as deep learning and online learning approach on social media data to detect early signals for an outbreak using social media.


Invitation to apply for the UNSW Scientia PhD scholarship

This project explores citizen and community engagement and equity through the lens of social business and eHealth in the context of achieving the WHO SDGs. A conceptual framework incorporating clinical and population health processes, impacts and outcomes will be developed and tested within the constructs of the WHO Integrated Patient-Centred Health System (IPCHS) Framework and eHealth Strategy. The use cases for this research will include cross-national and cross-cultural health, including Aboriginal health in Australia and WHO member countries in the Asia Pacific. Our network of eHealth and social business centres of excellence will collaborate in this integrative program of research.


WHO AeHIN Meeting in Qingdao 2017

Image - WHO AeHIN meeting in Qingdao Image - WHO AeHIN meeting in Qingdao


AeHIN Conference 2017

AeHIN conference AeHIN Conference 2017
AeHIN Conference 2017 AeHIN Conference 2017


MoU signing with CRC SI

eHealth WHO CC signing MOU WHO CC eHealth
MOU WHO CC eHealth  


Second Regional Forum of WHO Collaborting Centres in the Western Pacific

WHO CC Forum 2016



Workshop on mHealth for Developing countries in Kyushu University, Japan - February 2015

eHealth Workshop