Sharon joined RegNet as Professor of Health Equity in May 2014 and became Director in July 2014. She also serves as the Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the Australian National University. In 2010 she was awarded an inaugural Australian Research Council Future Fellowship to investigate the interface between health equity, social determinants (food systems) and climate change, based at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, ANU. Between 2005 and 2008 she worked with Sir Michael Marmot as the Head of the Scientific Secretariat (University College London) for the World Health Organisation’s landmark global Commission on Social Determinants of Health. In 2008 she was asked by the Rockefeller Foundation to convene and chair a global research network on urban health equity (GRNUHE), which reported in 2010. Before moving to Australia, she worked for many years in the Department of Health Promotion, National University of Ireland, Galway. She is an interdisciplinary social health researcher, with a disciplinary background in public health.
Sharon’s work focuses on a) the conceptual and practical integration of input from multiple disciplines, sectors and mixed methods research in the pursuit of health equity, b) studying the role of structural factors in affecting health inequities, including trade and investment, urbanisation, food systems, and climate change; c) analysis of policy processes and their effectiveness at addressing health inequities, and d) applying system science theories and methods to healthy public policy studies. She is a chief investigator on several current major research collaborations in the determinants of health inequities, including the five year NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Social Determinants of Health Equity; Trade policy (ARC Discovery grant Trade policy: maximising benefits for nutrition, food security, human health, and the economy), Climate adaptation and Urban planning policy (CSIRO flagship multi-centre research program Urbanism, climate adaptation and health) and Food policy (NHMRC Partnership Centre on Systems Perspective on Preventing Lifestyle-related Chronic Health Problems; ARC Discovery grant Shrinking the food-print by creating consumer demand for sustainable and healthy eating and ARC Linkage Grant Modelling policy interventions to protect Australia’s food security in the face of environmental sustainability challenges).
She is co-founder of the Global Action for Health Equity Network (HealthGAEN), a global alliance concerned with research, training, policy and advocacy related to action in the social and environmental determinants of health equity, and chairs Asia Pacific HealthGAEN.
Research interests: Governance and regulation as it relates to health equity; social determinants of health; health inequalities; global health; food systems; climate change; and public policy processes and health equity