My work as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at RegNet, ANU with Prof. Sharon Friel encompasses two projects. The first examines the globalization of food systems and public health nutrition impacts in the Asia-Pacific region. The work has already provided strong support for a theory of nutrition transition, that with economic development and the integration of food systems into the global economy, populations shift from healthier traditional diets to more Westernised diets high in ultra-processed foods. The work further demonstrates that market factors, in particular the increasing presence and power of transnational food and beverage corporations, play an important role. Ongoing research will examine how, in the context of extensive and ongoing trade liberalization, governments across the region might strengthen regulatory capacity to counter-act these trends. The second project is part of an ARC Discovery Grant that aims to quantify the impact of specific trade agreements on food systems, population nutrition and health. It is intended that this work will help to elucidate the potential health impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement currently under negotiation.
I am also an Associate Lecturer at the Crawford School of Public Policy on the course Health Policy in a Globalizing World and a post-graduate student supervisor. As a Research Officer there I contributed to a number of forthcoming publications on trade liberalization and the alcohol, tobacco and processed food industries of Asia. I have also made extensive contributions to methodology publications on causal process tracing, and elite interviewing in policy studies.
My PhD thesis was grounded in social constructivism, agenda-setting and regulatory theory. It explored how and why public health issues come to receive political priority at both national and global levels using obesity as an example of a ‘wicked’ policy problem. This work also included a comparative analysis of political priority for various cancers in Australia.