Theme Member
Dr Natasha Howard


Phone: 08 8128 4232




PhD, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Adelaide, South Australia (2011)

Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours in Public Health), The University of Adelaide, South Australia (1999-2002)


Dr Howard’s training in social geography, public health and sciences has enabled a unique interdisciplinary perspective into research applications relevant for contemporary population health. In her research, she seeks to explore social issues through the lens of social institutional practice, including the health and education sectors, and across governmental and non-governmental organisations, and community networks. Notably, her interests lie in the questions related to the dynamic geographies of difference and inequality that are central to lived experiences.

Her work experience spans both the health and social sciences, applying mixed-method and interdisciplinary population approaches to investigate how the social determinants enable health and well-being among priority populations, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. She has expertise in (1) integrating geographical methodologies for applications relating to epidemiological analyses, (2) engaging with local community and state-based organisations to undertake participatory approaches with the health and social services workforce, and (3) developing classification systems for linking socio-environmental determinants of health measures to overarching theoretical constructs.

She has prior Course Coordinator experience (Nursing, Allied Health) and is the current Co-supervisor of three PhD Candidates, and supervised two PhD completions (2017). In her role at Wardliparingga, she supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their pathways within the university system, medical and allied health placements, and school work experience programs. Current research activities concentrate on how action-oriented population health interventions shape socio-environmental determinants of health across sectors (e.g., housing, education, social policy) and impact the experiences of people living with chronic conditions. Research projects include: “Predicting Renal, Ophthalmic, and Heart Events in the Aboriginal Community” (PROPHECY; GNT1086386 CIA-Brown), known to the community as the Aboriginal Diabetes Study, Cultural Pathways Program (Wyatt Trust) and “Understanding Stress and Staying Strong in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Human Services’ Workforce” (Lowitja Institute).

Research Interests

  • Social and environmental determinants of health
  • Health inequalities
  • Practice-based
  • Monitoring and surveillance systems
  • Public health advocacy


    1. Stankov*, I., NJ. Howard, M. Daniel et al. (2017). Unravelling policy, research and residents’ perspectives on built environments related to heart disease: A concept mapping approach. Int J Env Res Pub He, 14(2); 1-17. By engaging a wide range of stakeholders using a participatory concept mapping approach, this study aimed to achieve a more holistic and nuanced understanding of the built environments shaping disease risk.

    2. Lekkas*, P., C. Paquet, NJ. Howard et al. (2017). Illuminating the lifecourse of place in the longitudinal study of neighbourhoods and health. Soc Sci Med, 177; 239-247. Presents a conceptualisation of place-health relationships outlining that neighbourhoods and health are multi-dimensional and dynamic constructs. This manuscript proposes that changes in health may be intricately tied to neighbourhood change. Attracted a commentary and response.

    3. Ngo, AD., C. Paquet, NJ. Howard et al. (2013). Area-level socio-economic characteristics and incidence of metabolic syndrome: A prospective cohort study. BMC Public Health, 13; 681. Study prospectively examined the relationships between area-level socio-economic position and incidence of metabolic syndrome. Research to date has been cross-sectional associations.

    4. Carroll*, SJ., C. Paquet, NJ. Howard et al. (2016). Local descriptive norms for overweight/obesity and physical inactivity, features of the built environment, and 10-year change in glycosylated haemoglobin in an Australian population-based biomedical cohort. Soc Sci Med, 116; 223-243. Study found that local descriptive behavioural norms predicted HbA1c levels in a cohort drawn from the north-west region of Adelaide. The influence of norms varied according to the built environment, such as poorer walkability predicting increasing HbA1c.

    5. Paquet, C., TP. Orschulok*, NT. Coffee, NJ. Howard et al. (2013). Are accessibility and characteristics of public open spaces associated with a better cardiometabolic health? Landscape Urban Plan, 118 (Oct); 70-78. Showed that larger, greener and more active public open spaces are linked to better health. The first study to document the impact of public open space attributes on clinically measured risk factors.

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+61 8 8128 4000
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North Terrace Adelaide 5000 South Australia
Postal Address
PO BOX 11060 Adelaide 5001 South Australia
Key Partners
SAHMRI is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna Nation.

The SAHMRI community acknowledges and respects the traditional owners, the family clans who are the Kaurna Nation from the Adelaide Plains region of South Australia. We acknowledge the clans of the Kaurna Nation and the sacred knowledge they hold for their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna Nation, their ancestors and the descendants of these living family clans today.