David is a public health researcher with two decades experience in addressing community health issues in remote areas of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. His work focuses on understanding the complex interplay between biomedicine, health service provision and socio-cultural understandings of health.

David uses participatory research methods with a range of partners from laboratory scientists, health service professionals and community leaders to address health issues of importance to local communities. His collaborative projects include investigating culturally appropriate TB services, locally appropriate sanitation and traditional use of medicinal rainforest plants in Malaita, Solomon Islands. In Papua New Guinea, he is collaborating with a range of partners to investigate the acceptability and feasibility of male circumcision for HIV prevention and faith-based responses to HIV. David enthusiastically supports research capacity building and incorporates capacity building across all research activities.

David lectures in research methods and global health, and is a founding member and leader of the ‘Responding to priority health challenges in Melanesia’ stream of the JCU Anton Breinl Research Centre for Health Systems Strengthening. He is also mentor in the Cohort Doctoral studies program in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Science. 

  • MD3012: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 2 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 55+ research outputs authored by Dr David MacLaren from 2007 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - Tropical Disease Research Regional Collaboration Initiative

Tropical partnerships to strengthen health systems responses to infectious diseases threats

Indicative Funding
$2,000,000 over 2 years
The Asia Pacific Region is facing frequent threats from emerging and existing infectious diseases. The capacity to mount a timely effective response is compromised in poorly functioning health systems seen in parts of the region. The resulting vulnerability affects the whole region, including Australia. Strengthening capacity to prepare and respond to these threats is thus a shared responsibility. This proposal aims to tackle the problem through collaboration with institutions, researchers and policy makers across the region, building on long held partnerships.
Emma McBryde, Sarah Larkins, Archie Clements, Barend (Ben) Marais, Peter Siba, Maxine Whittaker, Tom Burkot, David MacLaren, George Milne and Richard Speare (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian National University, The University of Sydney, Institute of Medical Research (PNG), College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and The University of Western Australia)
Health system strengthening; Infectious Diseases; Epidemiology; Disease Surveillance

Century Mining Ltd - Grant

Documenting Indigenous Plant Knowledge to Strengthen Conservation Management in Kwaio, Solomon Islands

Indicative Funding
The project is designed to deliver ongoing capacity-strengthening activities and training in project management, organizational governance and financial management to enhance local conservation efforts in the central mountains of the island of Malaita, Solomon Islands. Our larger goals include setting up a Kwaio CSO to manage conservation activities in the area (see ?Project Objectives? below), protect and conserve priority species on Malaita, and in the longer-term, work toward creating Protected Areas to protect globally threatened species. We also hope the project will serve as a conservation model for other Malaitan and Solomon Islands communities. The project is taking place with people of the Kwaio language group. The mountain Kwaio people are the largest Solomon Islands group still practicing their indigenous ancestral religion. The biodiversity conservation project is documenting the deep local knowledge of medicinal plants and bush foods found in the rainforest of Malaita, and building capacity to undertake similar projects in the future.
David MacLaren, John Laete?esafi, Esau Kekeubata, Jackson Waneagea, David Akin, Tommy Esau, Peter Massey, Michelle Redman-MacLaren, Ben Speare, Darren Crayn, Frank Zich, Humpress Harrington and James Asugeni (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Kwainaa Cultural Centre, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, New South Wales Health, Tropical Health Solutions Pty Ltd, College of Science & Engineering, Division of Tropical Environments & Societies, Pacific Adventist University (Atoifi Campus) and Atoifi Adventist Hospital)
Kwaio; Traditional Medicine; Solomon Islands; Medicinal Plants; Traditional Knowledge; Biodiversity Conservation

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation - Research Grant

How midwifery students at a university in PNG understand, experience and manage the provision of care to women following stillbirth

Indicative Funding
This study will describe and theorise the understanding of stillbirth and experiences of providing care to women following stillbirth with a cohort of midwifery students at a university in Papua New Guinea. The study will document social, cultural, spiritual and professional factors that inform the provision of care fro the perspective of midwifery students who have been maternal healthcare providers prior to enrolment. The study will contribute to the body of knowledge on stillbirth experiences in resources limited and complex social and cultural settings, and enhance collaboration between JCU and Pacific Adventist University.
Karen Cheer, Komla Tsey, David MacLaren and Jenny Kelly (College of Arts, Society & Education and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Stillbirth; Papua New Guinea; Grounded Theory; Midwifery Students

Fondation Segre Conservation Func - Research Grant

Community conservation of Solomon Islands endemic mammals

Indicative Funding
$48,475 over 2 years (administered by Australian Museum Research Institute)
The Solomon Islands archipelago has a unique fauna and flora - a western Pacific equivalent of the Galapagos. The region's largest native mammals are giant rats (Solomys and Uromys) and monkey-faced bats (Pteralopex). All species are considered to be endangered or critically endangered. This project aims to prevent extinctions and support community conservation efforts. Communities will identify giant rats and monkey-faced bats and collect basic biological information. This data will assist in defining conservation areas and link with ongoing JCU medicinal plants project in East Kwaio, Malaita Province.
Tim Flannery, K Helgen, Euan Ritchie, Joseph Thomas, T Leary and David MacLaren in collaboration with E Kekeubata, Tommy Esau and J Noro (Australian Museum, Smithsonian Institute, Curtin University of Technology, Tenkile Conservation Alliance, NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, College of Medicine & Dentistry and Kwainaa Cultural Centre)
Conservation; Kwaio

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • The Effectiveness of School-based Leprosy Screening and Education Programmes on Increasing the Early Detection of Leprosy in Timor-Leste’s Oecusse Enclave. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Improving Infection Control at Atoifi Adventist Hospital, Solomon Islands: a Mixed method approach in a resource poor setting (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Midwifery Students' Understanding of Stillbirth and their Experiences of Providing Stillbirth Care in Papua New Guinea (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • TB in Aboriginal communities: exploring different ways of control with regional/rural Aboriginal communities. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • When World's Collide: Where and When Anophelines and Humans Interact Impacts Malaria Transmission (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Developing Local Models to Strengthen and Improve Capacity in Health Research in Melanesia (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Health System Capacity to Provide Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in Papua New Guinea. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Integrating Medical Circumcision into Revived Male Initiatin Ceremonies in Yangoru-Sausia, Papua New Guinea: Is it Acceptable and Feasible? (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Towards a National Strongyloidiasis Control Program: Closing the Gap on Strongyloidiasis in Remote Indigenous Communities. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Straight Cuts’ and HIV Prevention: Translational Research on Conceptual, Methodological and Scientific Challenges in Papua New Guinea (2016, PhD , Associate Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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