About

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. He is a founding member of the Atoifi Health Research Group in Solomon Islands. David works in partnership with the Australian Museum and the Kwainaa'isi Cultural Centre in remote mountains of Malaita Province, Solomon Islands on a range of culture and conservation projects. 

David is convenor of the International Strategy Committee within the College of Medicine and Dentistry.  

David is currently chief investigator on grants worth over $5.5 million. These include

  • $750,000 NHMRC funded "Resolving Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) transmission" working with partners in Australia, Papua New Guinea and the United States to investigate viral transmission across the human foreskin.

  • $2million DFAT funded "Tropical partnerships to strengthen health systems responses to infectious disease threats" working with partners across Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and Eastern Indonesia to strengthen operational research skills in the region to respond to infectious disease in the tropics.

  • $2.5 million NHMRC funded "Australian Centre for the Control and Elimination of Neglected Tropical Disease" of which David is co-convenor of the Pacific Hub.

 

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

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
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 70+ research outputs authored by A/Prof 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) - DFAT Administered (aid) Simple Grant Agreement

Community led development, climate resilience and conservation in East Malaita

Indicative Funding
$400,000
Summary
Baru Conservation Alliance (BCA) was established a registered Non-Government Organisation in 2019 by leaders from East Kwaio, Malaita, Solomon Islands to coordinate ecological and cultural conservation in their tribal lands. This includes the holistic health and wellbeing of plants, animals and people living in prescribed conservation areas. This project, funded by the Australian High Commission in Solomon Islands allows JCU and the Australian Museum to build sustainable scientific and management capacities with the fledgling organisation. The project will support a series of local JCU supported projects within conservation areas that include TB, water and sanitation, reproductive health, community education and reforestation.
Investigators
David MacLaren, Michelle Redman-MacLaren and Tommy Esau in collaboration with Paul Flemmons, Dorothy Esau and Esau Kekeubata (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian Museum and Baru Conservation Alliance)
Keywords
Conservation; Kwaio; Solomon Islands; Community Health; Tuberculosis

Fondation Segre Conservation Func - Research Grant

Community conservation of Solomon Islands endemic mammals ? Phase 2

Indicative Funding
$77,500 over 3 years (administered by Australian Museum Research Institute)
Summary
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.
Investigators
Tim Flannery, K Helgen, Euan Ritchie, Jim 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, Kwainaa Cultural Centre and University of Papua New Guinea)
Keywords
Conservation; Kwaio

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
Summary
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.
Investigators
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)
Keywords
Health system strengthening; Infectious Diseases; Epidemiology; Disease Surveillance

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
$3,000
Summary
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.
Investigators
Karen Cheer, Komla Tsey, David MacLaren and Jenny Kelly (College of Arts, Society & Education and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Keywords
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)
Summary
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.
Investigators
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)
Keywords
Conservation; Kwaio
Supervision

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.

Current
  • 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)
  • TB in Aboriginal communities: exploring different ways of control with regional/rural Aboriginal communities. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Engagement and Participation of Faith based Organizations in the Health System Reforms in Soloman Islands (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)
  • The Role of Community Health Worker (CHW) Training to provide Fit-for-Purpose Workforce to Improve Material Health in Rural East Sepik Province (ESP), Papua New Guinea (PNG) (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Towards a National Strongyloidiasis Control Program: Closing the Gap on Strongyloidiasis in Remote Indigenous Communities. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
Completed
Collaboration

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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