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Professor Joan Cunningham is a social epidemiologist with over 20 years’ experience in the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians. She has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts (Sociology), Master of Liberal Arts (Psychology) and Doctor of Science (Epidemiology), all from Harvard University. She is currently Professor, Senior Principal Research Fellow and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research, where she co-leads a Centre of Research Excellence and a Strategic Research Partnership to improve the care of, and outcomes for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer.
Professor Cunningham’s core focus is on equity in health and health care and she has experience in both quantitative and qualitative research, as well as in data development. Her research has spanned a range of topics including the social determinants of end-stage renal disease and other chronic diseases, health system performance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer, the health impacts of discrimination, the health of Indigenous people in urban areas and improving the quality, availability and use of routinely collected data about Indigenous Australians.
Professor Cunningham has a strong interest in developing people and building research capacity and was awarded the Australasian Epidemiological Association’s Mentoring Award in 2011 in recognition of her work in this area. Since 2000, she has been supported by $17.7 million in grants and consultancies, including approximately $10.9 million in competitive grants from the NHMRC.