Menzies Centre for Health Governance

Modern capitalism and the future of health

In this talk, Nicholas Freudenberg, from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health and Health Policy, discusses the role of 21st century capitalism in

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Public health sector urged to address unhealthy power of digital giants- Professor Sharon Friel writes for Croakey

Public health experts including Professor Sharon Friel argue the importance of regulating digital platforms like Facebook and Google, in safeguarding public health.

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Image: Professor Sharon Friel (RegNet)

Living in the 21st century poses real opportunities to improve human development and health – there is more knowledge than ever before about the causes of poor health and health inequities, and a greater understanding about key areas for action that will improve human health, equitably. However, the 21st century also brings new challenges for health e.g. climate change, increased financial and corporate control of global supply chains, and new levels of inequality. There are many unanswered questions and little understanding of how to steer, shape and monitor actions across institutions and sectors to enable positive and equitable health outcomes.

The Menzies Centre for Health Governance focuses on complex systems, regulatory governance, and health equity. We seek to understand the dynamic systems of institutions, actors and ideas that shape multisectoral public policy, market practices and products, and the actions of civil groups. Our research spans the political, commercial, environmental, social and cultural determinants of health inequities.


The aim of our work is to provide evidence related to these complex systems, which through proactive engagement with key change markers across society, will help contribute to a fairer, more sustainable and healthier society within Australia, across the Asia Pacific region and globally.

Governance for health equity is necessarily interdisciplinary and requires the use of multiple methods. We are researchers from public health, political science, sociology, systems science, psychology and economics. We use a plurality of methods including evidence synthesis, complex systems modelling, political and social science qualitative techniques, and policy analysis. Given the international and interdisciplinary nature of our research, we believe that collaboration is imperative between researchers, government officials, industry, and non-government organisations. Using extensive national and international academic and policy-related networks, we employ a cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-border approach in our work.

Our research themes include:

  • The social determinants of health equity
  • Political economy of health
  • Trade, investment and health
  • Healthy and sustainable food systems
  • Climate change and global health inequities
  • Complexity, systems and disease prevention

Our People

The Menzies Centre for Health Governance brings together interdisciplinary researchers, policy makers and civil society groups.


  • Prof Sharon Friel – Centre Director
  • Dr Ashley Schram – Deputy Director
  • Dr Belinda Townsend – Deputy Director
  • Dr Liz Bluff
  • Dr Yandisa Ngqangashe
  • Dr Melanie Pescud

PhD Scholars

  • Nicholas Coatsworth
  • Sharni Goldman
  • Tony Keissler
  • Janice Lee
  • Sora Lee
  • Dori Patay

Affiliate Researchers and Visiting Fellows

  • Honorary Prof Fran Baum, RegNet
  • Honorary A/Prof Judith Healy, RegNet
  • Dr Rebecca Dodd, Visiting Fellow, the George Institute
  • Dr Argnagretta Hunter, Visiting Fellow, Doctors for the Environment
  • Tim Hollo, Visiting Fellow, The Green Institute

Please see the People tab for more information on our researchers.

Advisory Board

The Menzies Centre for Health Governance Advisory Board represents the diversity of health equity stakeholders including government, researchers and NGOs. It provides strategic advice on the Centre’s research directions and approaches to knowledge dissemination, and facilitates engagement with key policymakers and change agents. The current Advisory Board (2019-2020) is:

  • Mr Terry Slevin, CEO, Public Health Association of Australia
  • Dr Tessa Boyd Caine, CEO Health Justice Australia
  • Ms Jacqueline Phillips, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Australian Council of Social Services
  • Dr Sandro Demaio, CEO, VicHealth
  • Dr Lisa Studdert, Deputary Secretary, Commonwealth Department of Health
  • Prof Emily Lancsar, Research School of Population Health, ANU
  • Prof Sharon Bessell, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU
  • Prof Mark Howden, Climate Change Institute, ANU


The Menzies Centre for Health Governance brings together RegNet researchers, policy makers and civil society groups.

Research projects

Menzies Centre for Health Governance research projects.

News & events

Menzies Centre for Health Governance news, including event listings and podcasts.

Contact us

Our contact details and location.

Related cluster(s)

 Society, safety and health cluster hero

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet