Ro Mcfarlane


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Food, Health and the Environment (Future of Food in the Capital region)
Ecological literacy, sustainability and Public Health
Health, ecosystem services and disservices of urban wildlife
Urban forest and health
Greenspaces and Health

1994 …2022

Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Dr Rosemary (Ro) McFarlane is an Assistant Professor in Public Health at the University of Canberra. She has significant experience and expertise at the interface between health, biodiversity, environmental sustainability and food production  - also known as One Health, EcoHealth, Planetary Health and Ecological Public Health.

Her unique perspectives derive in part from her initial training as a Veterinarian, and direct hands-on experience in primary production and natural resource management in marginal climatic and agronomic regions. Her PhD training was with the late Professor Tony McMichael and his team of experts in the area of the health impacts of climate and broader ecological change.

Ro works extensively with community groups and government to develop landscape-level health solutions. She facilitated the declaration of the 9.8 million ha Ngaanyatjarra Indigenous Protected Area, W.A., and was an instigator of Australian Antarctic Division’s biosecurity measures to protect Antarctic wildlife from human and livestock diseases. She has a long association with Landcare in NSW, ACT and NT, Catchment Management Associations and local food producers.

Ro  also works on collaborative projects with WHO, IUFRO, IUCN, and other international organisations. She is currently co-ordinating lead author on the Health chapter of the Nexus Assessment (Biodiversity Water, Food Health and Climate ) for the Intergovernmental Panel of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).  

Her current research explores health linkages in ecosystem service frameworks and translating global environmental sustainability policy to local solutions. This includes local food system resilience, quality of parks and greenspace on health and wellbeing and zoonotic disease ecology.

Research interests

Climate Change Adaptation Resilience and Recovery Network

Future of Food in the Capital Region research group

Co-ordinating lead author/Health - Nexus Assessment/ Intergovernmental Panel of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).  

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
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, PhD, Australian National University

… → 2014

Award Date: 1 Jul 2014

Master, Master of Resource Science (Ecostystem Management), University of New England

… → 2005

Award Date: 1 Nov 2005

Bachelor, B>VSc., University of Sydney

… → 1989

Award Date: 1 Nov 1989

External positions

Fellow, Frank Fenner Foundation

1 Sep 20171 Sep 2019

Visiting Fellow, Australian National University

1 Nov 20151 Nov 2016


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