Personal details

Dr Jo Durham
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Health,
School - Public Health and Social Work
IHBI Membership
Institute of Health Biomedical Innovation (IHBI),
IHBI Health Projects,
IHBI Public Health and Social Work - HDHS
Discipline *
Public Health and Health Services
+61 7 3138 3390
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Identifiers and profiles
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Doctor of Philosophy (Curtin University)

Professional memberships
and associations

Public Health Association Australia   World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine   Australasian Evaluation Society      Australian Association for Research in Education

Co-Chair Community of Practice for Action on HIV and Mobility (QLD)


* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Prior to becoming an academic I was a Country Program Director and advisor in international development in organisations such as the UN Development Programme, UNICEF and the Ministry of Labour Social Welfare, Laos. My role was to help improve the lives of those whose health and livelihoods were damaged by war, working in countries as diverse as Lao PDR, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Lebanon, South Sudan and the Kurdish Region of Iraq. Increasingly, I was asked to evaluate programs and to show that what we did worked. With a desire to provide the highest quality evidence base for such important work so that it could inform other programs, I came to academia. Now as a teacher, researcher and evaluator at the Queensland University of Technology, I bring this background to my work with governments, development agencies and communities to find practical solutions for reducing health inequities and vulnerability to disasters. I am particularly interested in working collaboratively with all stakeholders to find innovative solutions to complex or “wicked” problems in global public health that are often considered just “too hard”. Some of my partners in research and practice include the University of Health Sciences, Laos (Lao PDR), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), MANA Community Mentoring and the Ethnic Communities Council Queensland. At QUT I bring my real-world, contemporary experience into my coordination of the Graduate Certificate in Emergency and Disaster Management. The focus of my teaching is to link practice with theory to prepare graduates for the different careers within the field. I am as equally passionate about reducing health inequities and vulnerability to disasters as I am about helping to equip the next generation of evidence-based practitioners with the skills they will need to continue this necessary work.
Research interests:

  • Cross-cultural community based research
  • Refugee, migrant and ethnic minority health
  • Mixed and cross-cultural methods
  • Theory based evaluation
  • Realist approach to research and evaluation  
This information has been contributed by Dr Jo Durham.


I have a Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language and Graduate Certificate in Higher Education. I am also a Higher Education Academy Fellow ( I have a particular interest in collaborative approaches to teaching and learning and linking theory with real-world practice to equip graduates with the skills they will need in practice. I currently coordinate the four units that make up the Graduate Certificate Health Sciences (Emergency and Disaster Management) . The Graduate Certificate links the theory with the practical, real-life challenges in managing disasters. The course draws on my own experiences as well as those of others who have worked for example, with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Australian Defence Forces and Queensland Health. In the course we take a problem-solving approach to look at how we can reduce the population health effects of common hazards such as flooding, bush fires, earthquakes and consider the practical and ethical challenges when working in disasters. Often, natural disaster and conflict overlap to produce complex humanitarian crises, as in the tsunami in conflict-affected Aceh and Sri Lanka in 2004. As such, the course attracts a range of participants from around the world and there is plenty of opportunity to debate issues disaster management and humanitarian leadership with a range of experienced practitioners. Honours, Masters and HDR supervision is also central to my teaching and research agenda and I welcome inquiries from potential student interested in undertaking research related to access to healthcare, social determinants of health and health equity and the protection of health in complex humanitarian emergencies, disasters and the nexus between health, climate change and disasters.   All the PhD students and several Masters students whom I have mentored have published articles in peer-reviewed journals. I take person-centred approach in supporting students in the preparation of the theses, while also foregrounding skill development.

This information has been contributed by Dr Jo Durham.


Jo has worked for UNICEF, UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Mine Action Services (UNMAS) and international NGOs.  She conducted numerous consultancies for both international, government and non-government organisation in the area of evaluation, program design and professional training.  In collaboration with colleagues, Jo is currently working on participatory Arts and Wellbeing project with young Pacifica (aged 16-24) funded by the Queensland Mental Health and a project to increase access to HIV Testing and PrEP for at risk populations of refugee background, funded by Queensland Health. Jo also works with colleagues in the Lao PDR on a number of projects in Lao PDR, including disaster risk management and resilience.    

Jo also supervises higher degree research students involved in practical areas of health and disasters. This includes health equity, refugee, migrant and ethnic minority health, health aspects of disasters, the burden of injury from explosive remnants of war and participatory and realist approaches.

Jo is interested in enquires from students interested in undertaking a higher research degree related any of the topics above.

This information has been contributed by Dr Jo Durham.


For publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.