Maxine A. Whittaker, MBBS,  MPH , PhD, FAFPHM is the Dean of the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences and Deputy Director of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) at James Cook University (Feb 2016),

She was previously (2008-2016) Professor of International and Tropical  Health and Co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Health Information Systems, Director of the Health Information Systems Knowledge Hub, Program Director of the Australian Initiative on Control and Elimination of Malaria/Pacific Malaria Initiative Support Centre and co-Secretariat of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network.

 Maxine Whittaker has lived and worked in Bangladesh, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Papua New Guniea 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 research interests are in fields of operational and health services research 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 (http://www.expandnet.net/) has contributed to a body of work published by WHO on this topic.She is presently leading the Malaria Elimination Research Agenda work on social sciences and co-chairing the Health Systems panel (http://www.malariaeradication.org/malera-refresh) 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.

She is a :

·       member of the Scientific Advisory Group of icddr,b which breings together a range of global scientific leaders to: build capacity in the training and mentorship of young scientists on their career pathways; increase the involvement of international scientists on site at icddr,b; increase partnership opportunities with other world-class organisations; increase icddr,b’s ability to undertake research outside of Bangladesh, and align icddr,b’s research focus with our research priorities.  

·       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.

·       Section Editor for Health Systems and Social Science of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

·       Senior Editor for Biomedicine Hub 

·       Member of Faculty for the Science of Malaria Eradication course (http://scienceoferadication.org/) (an intensive weeklong foundational leadership development course that provides participants with a multidisciplinary perspective on approaches to malaria elimination and eradication) conducted by a consortium of IS Global, Harvard School of Public Health and Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

·       Co-chair of the Health systems strengthening panel for the malERA refresh (http://www.malariaeradication.org/malera-refresh) : Malaria Eradication Scientific Alliance malERA Refresh updates the malaria eradication research and development agenda (malERA) first published in 2011. The overarching goal is to update the multi-disciplinary R&D agenda for malaria elimination and eradication, which can be acted upon by the malaria community, scientific community, and funders to accelerate progress.

·       Board of Trustees member of the icddr,b (http://www.icddrb.org/) : one of the world’s leading global health research institutes. Based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, committed to solving public health problems facing low- and middle-income countries through innovative scientific research – including laboratory-based, clinical, epidemiological and health systems research. 

·       member of the RBM Country and Regional Support Partners Committee 

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).





  • TM5501: Tropical Medicine (Level 5; TSV)
  • TM5563: Public Health Leadership and Crisis Management (Level 5; TSV)
  • Global health advocacy
  • Co-Chair WHO Research panel for Reproductive program of the Human reproduction program (HRP)
  • Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network
  • capacity building and development
  • Global health policy
  • Medical anthropology
  • Malaria and other infectious diseases
  • One Health
  • Health systems research
  • Operational and implementation research
  • global public health
  • health systems
  • One Health
  • 2009 to 2015 - Professor, University of Queensland School of Public Health (Brisbane, Australia)
  • 2009 to 2014 - Director, Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health (Brisbane, Australia)
  • 1994 to 2001 - Senior Lecturer/Lecturer, University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia)
  • 1991 to 1992 - Visiting Fellow, Child Survival Project, Department of Demography and National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, (Canberra)
  • 1989 to 1990 - Operations Research Scientist,, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
  • 1986 to 1988 - Resident Associate,, The Population Council, (Lusaka, Zambia)
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 1985 - • 1985 Life Member International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA)
  • 1984 - Honorary Life Member, Australian Medical Students Association
  • 2001 - Dr Jerusha Jhirad Oration Award. Presented at the Silver Jubilee Conference of Medical Women International Association (MWIA)
  • 1998 - University of Queensland Short Fellowship

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 54+ research outputs authored by Prof Maxine Whittaker 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

Australian Research Council - Special Research Initiatives Scheme

Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine

Indicative Funding
$42,000,000 over 4 years
AITHM intends to build Australian research capacity in tropical health and biomedical sciences, to improve national capacity to identify risks to health security and biosecurity from re-emerging infectious diseases prevalent in tropical countries, and to undertake research which targets improvements in health outcomes and service delivery for regional, remote, and under-served communities in tropical Australia. This requires expansion of tropically based research facilities, the researcher skill base, and research programs.
Louis Schofield, Maxine Whittaker, Robyn McDermott and Alex Loukas (Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Tropical Health and Medicine; Northern Australia

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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.

  • Qualitative Studies into the Barriers of Infectious and Parasitic Disease Interventions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Developing Local Models to Strengthen and Improve Capacity in Health Research in Melanesia (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Mapping the actors and factors in the private fertility decision making process in Zambia (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Know-do gap: Exploringfactors Influencing the Integration of Risk Communication Principles into Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response in a High and Low Income Setting (PhD , Secondary 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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