Our Research

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Contact Details

  Street address:
Level 11, KGV Building
Missenden Road
Postal address:
Post Office Box M30
Missenden Road NSW 2050

Phone: (02) 9515-6111
Fax: (02) 9515-9610

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Public Health Unit

Public Health Unit

Our Research

While the main role of the Public Health Unit relates to its statutory responsibilities under the Public Health Act and other legislation, several of the unit's senior staff conduct translational research in a range of areas including communicable disease control, environmental health, epidemiology, public health emergency management and immunisation. We collaborate with other researchers at Health Protection NSW (NSW Ministry of Health), other local health district public health units, universities, laboratories and hospitals as well as other government agencies. Much of the public health unit's applied research relates to investigations of public health incidents or outbreaks. The public health unit has a strong interest in capacity building for applied public health research, epidemiological surveillance, communicable disease control investigations and evaluation. We train registrars and trainees in these methods. Staff are involved in teaching at the University of Sydney and University of Notre Dame, Sydney.

Projects or investigations underway or in planning include:

  • A medical record review of the acute rheumatic fever/rheumatic heart disease related admissions in Sydney Local Health District hospitals from 2003-2014
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of educational strategies aimed at addressing the barriers and facilitators to implementation of the national guidelines for prevention and management of influenza outbreaks
  • Reviewing the clinical epidemiology of Shigella testing in SLHD
  • Evaluation of local enhanced follow-up for pertussis in children aged 5-9 in SLHD
  • Surveillance of mothers and babies affected by incorrect vaccine storage on a maternity ward
  • Systematic literature review of epidemiological studies describing the infective dose for community-acquired Legionnaires' disease
  • Ebola Project - Experiences of return travellers from Ebola affected countries


  • Dr Marianne Dowsett, finalist of the regional Gerry Murphy Prize competition, to compete nationally in April 2017

Research Staff

  • Clinical Associate Professor Leena Gupta, Clinical Director Population Health and Director Public Health Unit
  • Dr Zeina Najjar, Public Health Staff Specialist
  • Dr Emma Quinn, Public Health Epidemiologist
  • Ms Essi Huhtinen, Public Health Clinical Nurse Consultant
  • Mr Andrew Ingleton, Clinical Nurse Consultant
  • Dr Kleete Simpson, Medical Epidemiologist

Higher Degree Students:

Public Health Medicine Registrars:

  • Dr Sheena Kakar
  • Dr Marianne Dowsett


  •  Travers Johnstone - Masters of Public Health, Sydney University

Publications and Presentations

Publication Details:
  1. Dowsett M, Quinn E, Gupta L. Legionnaires' disease cluster investigation in Sydney. [Accepted in Medical Journal of Australia in 2016, for publication in 2017]
  2. Ingleton A, Hope K, Najjar Z, Templeton DJ, Gupta L. Characteristics of gonorrhoea cases notified in inner and south-western Sydney, Australia: results of population-based enhanced surveillance. Sexual Health. 2016;13(5):484-488, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH15183
  3. Matenge S, Freeman B, Quinn E, Gupta L. Print media coverage of Ebola Virus Disease, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Pertussis. Australian New Zealand Journal of Public Health. [Accepted in Australian New Zealand Journal of Public Health in 2016, for publication in 2017]
  4. Merrit T, Hope K, Butler M, Durrheim D, Gupta L, Najjar Z, Conaty S, Boonwatt L, Fletcher S. Effect of antiviral prophylaxis on influenza outbreaks in aged care facilities in three local health districts in New South Wales, Australia, 2014. Western Pacific Surveillance and Response Journal. 2016;7(1):14-20, doi:10.5365/wpsar.2015.6.3.005
  5. Najjar Z, Gupta L, Pritchard-Jones J, Strasser SI, Levy MT, Liaw S, Cowie BC. A survey of Sydney general practitioners' management of patient with chronic hepatitis B. Medical Journal of Australia. 2016;204(2):74e1-e4.
  6. Najjar Z, Pritchard-Jones J, Liaw S, Gupta L. Barriers to optimal screening and vaccination of hepatitis B contacts: a survey of general practitioners in New South Wales, Australia. [Accepted in Public Health Research & Practice in 2016, for publication in 2017]

  1. Gupta L. Ward J, Ward P. The visibility of equity in Australian clinical practice guidelines (poster presentation). Guidelines International Network Conference, Philadelphia, September, 2016.

Contact details for department

Head of Department: Clinical Associate Professor Leena Gupta

Department/Unit: Public Health Unit
PO Box 374
Camperdown NSW 1450
Telephone: (02) 9515 9420
Facsimile: (02) 9515 6133
Web: www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/research/
Email: leena.gupta@health.nsw.gov.au