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Dean, Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University

Maxine A. Whittaker, MBBS, MPH , PhD, FAFPHM is the Dean of the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences and Co--Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Vector Borne Disease and Neglected Tropical Diseases. She is the Co- Chair of the WHO Research Project Review Panel (RP2) of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research including the WHO Special Programme Of Research, Development And Research Training In Human Reproduction. She is an active member of the Public Health Association of Australia especially the special interest groups of international health, One Health and women’s health.

Maxine Whittaker has lived and worked in Bangladesh, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea and worked extensively in China, Fiji, Indonesia, Kenya, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Thailand , Tonga, Vanuatu, and Vietnam. She has extensive experience in project and programme design in health and development, especially in sexual and reproductive health and gender analysis, and using rapid formative research and anthropological methods and for a variety of international development partner and NGO organizations. She has developed local research teams in social sciences methods in Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Northern Queensland remote communities, and Vanuatu, and participated in the development of training materials and activities to support this capacity development. Maxine Whittaker remains active in scientific research especially in fields of operational and health services research, one health, infectious diseases, and medical anthropology, with a primary focus on sexual and reproductive health, health seeking behaviour and quality of care. She has a special interest in the issue of scaling-up pilot programmes into policy and practice, and as a founding member of Expandnet ( has contributed to a body of work published by WHO on this topic. From 2006-2009 she was the Senior Technical Health Adviser to the National Department of Health in Papua New Guinea where she was involved in health and development policy work, technical programme support especially in disease control and family health services, and a member of several national committees to advise the Ministry of Health (Child health, Maternal Health Ministerial Taskforce, family planning, Tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/STIs). She is presently leading the Malaria Elimination Research Agenda work on social sciences and co-chairing the Health Systems panel ( and is recognized as one of the leaders in re-invigorating social sciences and community participation in the malaria research agenda.

Since 2009 has been CI on research and project grants in the Asia Pacific region worth more than $A42.5 million including several from DFAT published more than 70 peer reviewed publications, and several project documents for development partners and countries, policy briefings, briefing papers, book chapters and commissioned papers.


  • –present
    Dean, Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University