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Evelyne de Leeuw

Evelyne de Leeuw joined CHETRE in September, 2015, and is based at the interface of health research, policy and practice at UNSW Australia, the South Western Sydney Local Health District/Population Health, and the Ingham Institute.

Professor de Leeuw holds a Masters in Health Policy and Administration (University of Maastricht, The Netherlands, 1985), MPH at the University of California at Berkeley in comparative health systems research (1986) and a PhD in health political science (Maastricht, 1989).

Since its initiation in 1986, she has been active in the international Healthy Cities movement. From 1992 to 2001 she held the position of Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research on Healthy Cities at the University of Maastricht. She assists WHO regionally and globally in Healthy City evaluation reporting, most recently in special issues of Health Promotion International and the Journal of Urban Health. She is known for her strong engagement with local health policies and politics and is a welcome speaker at both community and research events.
Professor De Leeuw has a reputation in building public health curricula in tertiary education around the world, establishing Schools of Public Health in The Netherlands, Denmark, advising such endeavours in Kazakhstan, Estonia and El Salvador, and negotiating a world class public health programme in the Medical School at Deakin University (Geelong, Australia).
She has been involved in WHO health promotion endeavours since the 1986 Ottawa Conference and attended all subsequent international health promotion conferences; at the fourth one (Jakarta, 1997) and eight one (Helsinki, 2013) she acted as conference rapporteur.

Evelyne held an appointment as Honorary Professor, Deakin University and currently at La Trobe University; Visiting Professor, Université de Montréal; and Visiting Professor, Maastricht University (The Netherlands). She is WHO European Research Director for Healthy Cities.

Evelyne is Editor-in-Chief of the international peer-reviewed journal Health Promotion International and considered a leading global health promotion scholar, as evidenced by her appointments to high-level research panels (e.g., the Academy of Finland, and Science Ministries in Japan and Germany).

She has published several books (notably on Healthy Cities with WHO, and Springer; on policy approaches to health promotion with Oxford University Press; on consumer health democratisation with Edward Elgar) and over 100 peer-reviewed articles, plus several dozen book chapters. With Fafard she edits the Palgrave Series in Public Health Policy Research. Her scholarship and writing focus on (1) methodologies for complex local health evaluations; (2) policy and governance for health innovation at the local level; and (3) action at the nexus between research, policy and practice.
In the latter area, her conceptual framework (‘nexus theories’) is used by health and medical research councils in The Netherlands, Germany and Canada to frame and assess calls for research proposals.

Though based in Australia with an admittedly Oceanic/Pacific ‘service area’, professor De Leeuw happily considers the world her oyster.

What sparked your interest in health equity?
Nearly 40 years ago I read Ivan Illich’s ‘Medical Nemesis’ and it really hit an open nerve: what we think to be God’s greatest gift to humanity (to paraphrase Roy Porter’s ‘The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity’) actually is a political enterprise, without a very firm evidence base, and often doing more harm than good. It’s been my mission to try and change things just a tiny bit for the better…

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