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Personal profile


Rachel is currently Professor of Health Research with over 20 years of research experience in areas related to physical activity for the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Rachel has extensive experience of conducting large-scale trials in both clinical and community settings in the area of physical activity, health and disease prevention. More recently, Rachel has focused on the use and development of ecological models that emphasize multiple levels of influence on health behaviours. She has designed and led large-scale community interventions that have resulted in sustained behaviour change and improved health. Rachel has also led pioneering research that takes an ecological approach to sustaining and improving health, such as the United Kingdom Medical Research Council funded project "An ecological approach to promoting health-enhancing physical activity in a deprived inner-city population" that involved detailed mapping of the environment and evaluation of the relationship between environment, physical activity and health and health outcomes. Her research takes an integrated urban ecosystem approach to evaluating the influences of the built, natural and social environments on health behaviours, health and health outcomes. Rachel currently collaborates with the international team of researchers in the 12 country IPEN study that aims to pool data from over 14000 participants across the globe to better our understanding of environmental correlates of physical activity and obesity. Empirical findings from this trans-national research on these complex interactions will help inform policy and practice for future urban design http://www.ipenproject.org/IPEN_adult.html

Research Interests

Rachel's research interests focus on policy-relevant research in areas related to physical activity for health and wellbeing and on the design, delivery and evaluation of complex public health interventions. Rachel is currently undertaking research across a number of areas, including:


  • Exploring the inter-relationship between individuals and neighbourhoods in social, cultural and physical (built and natural) environments and their impact on health and health outcomes
  • Primary and secondary prevention programs for cardiovascular disease
  • Population base modeling of changes in risk factors for chronic disease and potential cost savings
  • Evaluation of primary healthcare provision in the aged care sector
  • Physical activity in school children
  • Indigenous tobacco control
  • Knowledge translation networks

Research interests

Member of Climate Change Adaptation Resilience and Recovery Network

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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