School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Annual Research Symposium

Infectious Diseases

Welcome to the Advances in Public Health and Health Services Research at UNSW Annual Research Symposium

Public health aspects of infectious diseases

'The fuss about face masks' - Professor Raina MacIntyre Debate Highlights: 'Planning for emerging epidemics is a waste of time' The Great Debate: Planning for emerging epidemics is a waste of time
'The global burden of malaria and the challenge of eradication' - Professor Graham Brown 'Routine doesn't mean boring: Data for control of infectious diseases' - Professor John Kaldor  


The sixth Annual Symposium on "Advances in Public Health and Health Services Research at UNSW" was held on Thursday, 4 September 2014 at the John Niland Scientia Building, Kensington Campus, UNSW.

The conference showcased the most exciting elements in infectious disease research from UNSW Medicine, including the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, The Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, The Kirby Institute and The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.

The program included a focus on malaria, emerging infections, sexually transmitted infections, vulnerable populations, translation and policy, epidemiology and modelling, global infectious disease, risk behaviours and infections including presentations (poster and talks) by academics and postgraduate research students from the School and Centres.

The day also included a lively debate featuring our keynote speaker and senior UNSW academics who argued the topic ‘Planning for emerging epidemics is a waste of time’. An afternoon methods session featuring data linkage was followed by an interactive Q&A session. The event concluded with an awards ceremony accompanied by drinks and canapés.


Overview of School and Research Centres

The School of Public Health and Community Medicine is a leading postgraduate educator in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region through our Master in Public Health, International Public Health and Health Management programs. We offer a MPH specialisation in Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Control, , as well as a graduate diploma and certificate in Infectious Diseases Intelligence.  Our students can also choose from exciting work-based options such as internships. We also have a large PhD and research degree program, as well as an elite DrPH program, the UNSW Future Health Leaders Program. One of the major flagship areas of research strength at SPHCM is infectious diseases. The School has multidisciplinary expertise in epidemiology, mathematical modelling, health economic evaluation and social and clinical research in infectious diseases, vaccines and infectious disease risks in special risk populations. We also host a NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Immunisation of special risk populations.

The Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity (CPHCE) is a leading Australian research centre in primary health care and equity. Its research streams are Primary Health Care System Development, Family and Community Ecology, Prevention and Management of Chronic Conditions and Primary Health Care Informatics, and it is made up of researchers based at the Centre at Randwick, in SPHCM, in the General Practice Unit at Fairfield and at CHETRE at Liverpool.  It has close links with neighbouring Local Health Districts and Medicare Locals, and works with health services, clinicians and government to build research capacity and support the translation of research evidence into practice.

The Kirby Institute is recognised internationally as a research leader in the fields of HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections. The Institute’s primary functions relate to the coordination of national surveillance programs, clinical research and clinical trials. The Institute also contributes to training of health professionals, and development and implementation of health policy and programs. The Institute has an extensive range of collaborators, including the other national research centres, State and Territory Health Departments, public and private clinical units, national and international organisations, and the corporate sector including the pharmaceutical industry.

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) is a premier research institution in Australia and is recognised internationally as a Research Centre of Excellence. The overall mission of NDARC is to conduct and disseminate high quality research and related activities that increase the effectiveness of responses to alcohol and other drug related harm. NDARC was established at UNSW in 1986 and is funded by the Australian federal government as part of its National Drug Strategy.



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Professor Graham Brown
Foundation Director of the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne

Professor Graham Brown, Foundation Director of the Nossal Institute and past Head of Infection and Immunity at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research and of the Victorian Infectious Diseases Service at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and James Stewart Professor of Medicine

Graham has also worked in education and research in Papua New Guinea and Tanzania and completed his MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has served on various national and international review committees and was a member of the Strategic Advisory Council for The Bill and Melinda Gates Children's Vaccine Program.

Graham has held a number of appointments advising the Tropical Disease Research Program of the World Health Organization and is currently Chair of the Malaria Vaccine Advisory Committee

He serves on the board of Roll Back Malaria, representing the Research and Academia constituency, and is Chair of the Scientific Consultants Group of the USAID Malaria Vaccine Development Program.

His research interests include immunity to malaria, particularly malaria in pregnancy, and the challenge of malaria elimination.

In 2010, he was made a member of the Order of Australia for service to medicine in the field of infectious diseases.

Professor Brown will speak on 'The global burden of malaria and the challenge of eradication'.


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Professor Raina MacIntyre
Head of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at UNSW and Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology

Professor Raina MacIntyre is a public health physician and an expert in infectious diseases epidemiology. She is involved in studies of the transmission and prevention of infections in populations. Her most significant research is on the transmission and control of infectious diseases spread by the respiratory route. She has current research projects encompassing clinical trials and epidemiologic studies of face masks, vaccines, antivirals and other preventive measures in communicable diseases control. She also has projects in special risk populations such as health care workers, immunosuppressed, refugees and the frail elderly. Among many competitive grants, she leads a NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Population Health in immunization. She has done a large body of work on face masks and respirators with collaborators from the Beijing CDC in China and in Vietnam.

With over 240 peer-reviewed publications she also sits on several national and international expert groups and on editorial boards.  Among numerous career awards, she received the Sir Henry Wellcome Medal and Prize, from the Association of Military Surgeons of the US in 2007 for her work on bioterrorism, and has previously been awarded the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases Award for Advanced Research in Infectious Diseases (2003). She was also the winner of the 2012 Dean’s award, the highest honour awarded at UNSW Medicine. In 2014 she was the winner of the Public Health Association of Australia National immunization Award in recognition of her research in immunisation. She is also a co-director of ARM an infectious diseases emergency response network for Australia.

Professor MacIntyre will speak on 'The fuss about face masks'.


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Professor John Kaldor
Public Health Interventions Research Group and Professor of Epidemiology at The Kirby Institute, UNSW

John Kaldor is a NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow. He holds a doctorate in Biostatistics from the University of California. Berkeley, and began his research career at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France. For over 20 years he has built and led internationally recognised research programs at UNSW on the epidemiology and prevention of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections.

His research has covered a wide range of projects, including the development and implementation of public health surveillance systems, investigations of HIV-related cancer, cohort and cross-sectional investigations of risk factors for infectious disease transmission, and interventional trials of disease prevention strategies.

With over 400 peer reviewed scientific publications that have been cited collectively over 15,500 times, Professor Kaldor has been a highly influential contributor to public health knowledge. His work has guided policy in disease control, particularly in relation to the prevention of HIV infection. Professor Kaldor has also served on numerous policy and advisory committees in Australia and Internationally. He has had close working relationships with public health programs in a number of countries of the Asia-Pacific region, particularly Cambodia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Professor Kaldor is a past President of the Australasian Epidemiological Association, and currently serves as a ministerially appointed member of the Repatriation Medical Authority. He was co-chair of the 2012 International Microbicides Conference, held in Sydney.

Professor Kaldor will speak on 'Routine doesn't mean boring: Data for control of infectious diseases'.



Registration for the event is compulsory. Please RSVP (free of charge). 

Key Dates

17 June 2014 Registrations open
2 September 2014 Registrations close
4 September 2014 8:30am - 4:30pm Conference Open

If you need assistance with registration please send an email to Suzie Honan, Conference Administrator, email: 

Conference program

8:30- 8:45 Registration Opens
8:45- 10:30 Introductory Session / Chair: Professor Peter Gunning  / Gallery One
Acknowledgement of Country - Aunty Ali Golding, UNSW Aboriginal Elder
Welcome Address - Professor Peter Smith,  Dean UNSW Medicine
Keynote Address: The global burden of malaria and the challenge of eradication - Professor Graham Brown, The University of Melbourne
Keynote Address: The fuss about face masks - Professor Raina MacIntyre, UNSW
Keynote Address: Routine doesn't mean boring: Data for control of infectious diseases/ Professor John Kaldor, UNSW
10:30- 11:00 Morning tea and poster viewing / Tyree Room
11:00- 12:00 Session One / Epidemiology & Modelling / Chair: Dr Natacha Carragher
Estimating infectious disease parameters from routinely collected data - Dr James Wood
A systematic review of the avian & human epidemiology of influenza A H5N1 & H7N9 - Dr Chau Bui
Characterising Hepatitis C virus transmission dynamics in a high-risk incarcerated - Mr Neil Bretana
Characteristics associated with increased risk and burden of pertussis in older - Dr Surendra Karki
Session Two / Risk Behaviours & Infections / Chair: Professor Tony Butler / Gallery Two
Face touching: A frequent habit for self-inoculation of transmissible infections? - Professor Mary-Louise McLaws
Are further Hepatitis A outbreaks possible among men who have sex with men in Sydney, Australia? - Dr Hammad Ali
Human papillomavirus infection in teenage men who have sex with men: implications for HPV vaccination policy - Dr Huachun Zou
Hepatitis C (HCV)  testing and treatment among people who inject drugs (PWID) - Ms Kerryn Butler
12:00-1:00     Session Three / Vulnerable Populations / Chair: Professor Mark Harris / Gallery One
Antenatal care and infectious disease risk at Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney - Ms Dea Delaney-Thiele
The use of routinely collected clinical data to illuminate gaps in current research into STI and BBV in the urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population - Dr Mary Ellen Harrod
Testing for blood borne viruses among Indigenous prison entrants in Australia - Ms Dina Saulo
Immunisation coverage among a birth cohort of Aboriginal pre-school children in an urban community - A/Professor Elizabeth Comino
Session Four / Global Infectious Disease / Chair: Dr Bette Liu / Gallery Two
‘As for my infection, this was a national sadness, it was’: Elderly gay Chinese man’s experiences of living with HIV - Professor Heather Worth
Infection control survey in three Asian countries to examine policies and practices around the use of facemasks in healthcare settings - Mr Abrar Ahmad Chughtai
The contribution of travellers visiting friends and relatives to notified infectious - Dr Anita Heywood
Antibiotic prescribing practices and antibiotic resistance in Cambodia - Mr Chhorvoin Om
1:00- 2:00 Lunch and poster viewing / Tyree Room
2:00- 3:00 The Great Debate: 'Planning for emerging epidemics is a waste of time' / Chair: Professor Mark Harris / Gallery One
Affirmative side: Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, Dr Bridget Haire & Professor George Rubin
Negative side: Professor Heather Worth, Professor Andrew Grulich & Professor Graham Brown
3:00- 3:45 Methods Data Linkage / Facilitator: A/Professor Glenda Lawrence / Gallery One
Brief presentations on cutting edge collaborative data linkage studies followed by an interactive Q&A session
Presentations from Dr Janaki Amin, Dr Bette Liu, A/Professor Elizabeth Comino & Professor Louisa Degenhardt
3:45- 4:30 Awards Ceremony / Chair: Professor Peter Gunning / The Foyer
Presentation of SPHCM staff and student prizes & awards, including the Best Poster Prize accompanied by drinks and canapés



Advances in Public Health & Health Services Research

6th Annual Research Symposium: The Galleries & Tyree Room

At The John Niland Scientia Building (G19), University of New South Wales, Kensington Campus, Sydney.

View Map


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John Niland Scientia



There is a wide range of accommodation on campus and in close proximity to the University of New South Wales and our venues.

For more information, please contact or visit the Venues and Event website.


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The University Mall looking towards the John Niland Scientia

About Sydney

Sydney is one of the world’s most highly rated cities in terms of quality of life. It was ranked by The Economist's Global Liveability Report 2011 as one of the world's most liveable cities and was voted ‘world's best city’ by readers of Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler magazines. Why not come and decide for yourself!

For more information visit the UNSW International website



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Sydney Harbour


By car from the CBD:

Head up Oxford Street, turn right onto Flinders St, then continue to Anzac Parade and then UNSW.

By car from the Airport:

Proceed to O'Riordan Street, turn right onto Gardener's Road to the end, turn left at the large roundabout onto Anzac Parade - UNSW is only 4 blocks up Anzac Parade.

Public Transport:

Visit Sydney Buses or
call 131 500 for
more information

Routes 390, 391, 392, 394, 396 - 399 and L94 (express) depart from Circular Quay, and travel along Elizabeth Street, Liverpool St, Oxford St, Flinders St and Anzac Parade to UNSW, stopping at the main entrance.
Routes 393 and 395 depart from Railway Square (Central Railway Station), travel along Eddy Avenue, Elizabeth Street, Cleveland St and Anzac Parade to UNSW, stopping at the main entrance.
Route 400 travels between Rockdale, Airport and Bondi. The University is mid-route.
Route 370 travels between Leichhardt, Glebe, Newtown and Coogee, also stopping at UNSW.
Other minor routes, including 301 - 304 and 357 also service UNSW.

Parking at UNSW:

There are two major parking stations:
Barker Street Car park - Entry via Gate 14, Barker Street.
Botany Street Car park - Enter via Gate 11, Botany Street.

Parking on campus is available at minimum charge on weekdays. Short-term metered parking is available in both parking stations and at various locations around campus. Parking is free on weekends. Half and full day "pay and display" ticket machines are available on the top 2 levels of both Barker and Botany Street parking stations. Change machines are not available.