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My major interest is in bringing the multi-disciplinary One Health concept to reality through education, research and in particular the development and implementation of integrated policies and operational programs to manage zoonotic disease in people, domestic animals and wildlife. For the past six years I have been teaching and leading a multi-disciplinary Master’s degree program and collaborative research projects to investigate and manage zoonotic diseases in South Asia, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
I am currently Academic Director for Massey University’s EU-funded ‘Education into Action’ program in South Asia (April 2014 – April 2017), leading a two-year full time Postgraduate One Health Epidemiology Fellowship Program involving 24 public health, animal health and wildlife health professionals who are based in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. The program, delivered through a mixed mode of distance learning and regional workshops, involves:
I have strong interpersonal skills, cultural understanding and am perceptive of human relationships. Through my involvement with research and teaching in South Asia, I have developed an understanding of the continuing education needs of professionals across multiple health disciplines and have well-developed skills in the design, organisation and delivery of continuing education programmes that meet these needs. I have been involved in managing complex relationships to build collaboration between government human and animal health institutions to facilitate the implementation of a One Health approach to zoonotic disease investigation and management. Likewise, I take a collaborative and participatory approach to establishing an organisational structure that supports delivery of our education and research programs in South Asia.
My strongest research interest and experience is in investigating and managing the role of wildlife in zoonotic diseases. I have experience and understanding of the particular challenges involved in wildlife disease research, through many years of researching the epidemiology of tuberculosis in wild animals in New Zealand. I led multi-disciplinary teams to prepare national wildlife disease and vector-borne disease surveillance strategies for New Zealand and developed methodology to prioritise wildlife pathogens for risk-based surveillance. Most recently I developed and taught Master’s level papers on wildlife epidemiology and ecosystems health.
I have been extensively involved in international consultancy advising on managing animal disease risks in the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. I worked with the Government of Samoa to strengthen biosecurity systems for maintaining freedom from economically important diseases plus early detection and response for disease incursions. I developed a strategic plan and ran training programs for strengthening veterinary epidemiology, and provided expert advice and training in surveillance systems for avian influenza in Southeast Asian countries.
I have a passion for multi-disciplinary research and teaching to strengthen the One Health approach to managing zoonotic diseases, and currently lead the academic program for an EU-funded One Health project in South Asia. I have worked extensively on biosecurity and strengthening epidemiology services in Asia and the Pacific. Having a particular interest in wildlife disease, I led multi-disciplinary teams to prepare national wildlife disease and vector-borne disease surveillance strategies for New Zealand and developed methodology to prioritise wildlife pathogens for risk-based surveillance. My research has focused on spatial and habitat patterns of wildlife-associated tuberculosis in New Zealand.
My major research interest is a multi-disciplinary One Health approach to investigating and managing zoonotic diseases in people, domestic animals and wildlife. Over the past four years I have been coordinating a research program involving twenty collaborative research investigation projects in South Asia (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), covering brucellosis, leptospirosis, rabies, anthrax, avian influenza, Nipah virus, scrub typhus, Japanese encephalitis, Q fever and Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever.
I am particularly interested and experienced in investigating and managing the role of wildlife in zoonotic diseases. I researched the epidemiology of bovine tuberculosis in wild animals in New Zealand for many years which was also the topic of my PhD (2000), with a particular focus on spatial epdeimiology and use of remotely sensed habitat data to predict wild animal populations and disease distribution. I have experience in the challenges of conducting field research into wildlife disease, with involvement in a multi-year longitudinal study of tuberculosis in possums.
Biosecurity is another major area of interest, experience and exertise, in particular disease surveillance. I led multi-disciplinary teams to review surveillance systems and prepare national wildlife disease and vector-borne disease surveillance strategies for New Zealand and developed methodology to prioritise wildlife pathogens for risk-based surveillance. I have designed and implemented surveillance for avain influenza in New Zealand, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems
Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000): Veterinary Epidemiology (070704): Veterinary Sciences (070700)