Job vacancy: Research Fellow - Climate Change and Health

19 Dec 2018 9:51 AM | Anonymous

Our Department of Preventive and Social Medicine

Our Department of Preventive and Social Medicine is long-established and one of the largest academic centres for public health in Australasia. It has a strong research and teaching base including epidemiology and biostatistics. Details of staff in the Department and scientific publications can be found on the Departmental website


The Role

This is an exciting time and an exceptional opportunity for the right candidate to join the University of Otago. Our Department of Preventive and Social Medicine is looking for a full-time Research Fellow to support the University’s capacity for research in the growing field of climate change and public health. This role involves supporting the development of relevant research projects, particularly securing the funds and research architecture needed to build an international-quality programme of research activities.

The position would suit a candidate who is enthusiastic about collaborative research relating to the impacts of climate change on health and health equity.


Your Skills and Experience

We are looking for candidates who have recent research experience and the following:

• Enthusiasm about contributing to the advancement of climate change and public health research.

• Good interpersonal skills.

• Good time management and ability to work independently.

• Content knowledge relating to climate change and health (impacts and adaption) and/or the following skill sets: public health methods, system dynamics or other participatory modelling; policy process; hauora Māori/Kaupapa Māori research; successful grant writing.

• PhD or equivalent doctorate in an appropriate field, or a high quality relevant postgraduate degree plus significant work experience in one of the desired content areas.

• A strong commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.

• Demonstrated capacity for independent research and a record of publications in refereed journals.


Further Details

This is a full-time, fixed term position for one year. This will ideally start towards the end of February 2019 and go through until late January 2020.

For further information, or to discuss the role in confidence – please contact Dr Alexandra Macmillan via email at



To submit your application (including CV and cover letter) please click the following link to the University of Otago's job listing: Applications quoting reference number 1802425 will close on Sunday, 20 January 2019.

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Letter to the Listener 28 July 2017 in response to Fever Pitch (Listener 21 July 2017)

Catherine Woulfe’s thorough investigation of rheumatic fever brings to the surface a range of important questions not only about this cruel disease, but also wider issues about health policy. The Government’s bold initiative to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever as one of its 'Better Public Service' targets in 2012 certainly raised awareness of rheumatic fever for the general public as well as communities and families directly affected. But even when medical science and the public have a clearer understanding of the immediate causes of rheumatic fever, interventions like the $65m ‘sore throats matter’ still won’t stop the epidemic. 

Ramona Tiatia’s blunt description of the experience of affected families not only painted a picture of the impact on affected families and communities, it also highlighted the invidious choices our health funders face.  How much should we prioritise health spending between response to the urgent need of young people whose lives and potential can be devastated by the disease versus the expense of addressing the economic and social factors that underlie the reasons we have this epidemic at all?   

As several of the clinicians interviewed pointed out, it’s only when the poverty and over-crowded housing issues are addressed that we will make a real difference.

Rheumatic fever illustrates the contradictions in our health system identified in the recent American Commonwealth Fund report. Of the 11 countries the Fund monitors, the work our health professionals do is ranked among the highest. But our overall performance as a health system falls to the middle ranking because of our poor performance on access and equity. The Fund also notes that our per capita expenditure is among the cheapest. 

Failure to invest in real prevention - that is, poverty, housing, good nutrition etc. - will continue to drive conditions like rheumatic fever, whether the immediate cause is strep throat or skin sores, until we invest upstream.

Why not spend more on these conditions - the economic and social determinants of health? 

We all pay in the long run - the young people whose misery we tolerate and whose potential remains unfulfilled, the families whose sacrifices are unrewarded, and the taxpayer who picks up the tab.

Ngā mihi,
Warren Lindberg

CE Public Health Association of New Zealand


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