Dr Patrick John Harris

My Expertise

Public health and public policy / healthy public policy 

Health equity


Urban issues

Land use

Environment and Climate

Impact Assessment


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I am a senior research fellow and acting director at the Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation ( I am an applied public health social scientists who is interested in complex real world policy issues. I am co-located at UNSW and South Western Sydney Local Health District. I focus on research that makes a difference at the local level as well as connecting with national and international research, policy and...view more

I am a senior research fellow and acting director at the Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation ( I am an applied public health social scientists who is interested in complex real world policy issues. I am co-located at UNSW and South Western Sydney Local Health District. I focus on research that makes a difference at the local level as well as connecting with national and international research, policy and practice. My broad interest is addressing health equity through public policy. My main areas of expertise are the intersections of health and equity with infrastructure and urban planning, and climate adaptation for health with a policy lens. 

I have been involved in over Aus$9.5 mill in funding, including NHMRC, ARC, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and other funding including consultancies for Australian and international agencies including the World Health Organisation. 

I am an international expert in cross-disciplinary working to progress healthy public policy. This includes transdisciplinary knowledge and collaboration, and understanding how governance and intersectoral action can be developed to improve health and wellbeing in public policy making. 

I coordinate the Policy Studies course as part of the Masters of Public Health. I am also experienced in teaching and running workshops to progress healthy public policy. This includes different processes like impact assessment, program logic, and realist evaluation. I have run workshops all over the world and nearly all Australian jurisdictions. 

I am involved in several journals, including being (co) Editor in Chief of the new Oxford University Press Open Access Journal, 'Infrastructure and Health: Big Connections for Wellbeing'  

I recently published a book on my work over the past decade, 'Iluminating Policy for Health: Insights from a Decade of Researching Urban and Regional Planning' wth Palgrave MacMillan 

My Grants

  • Beck, B, ... Harris, P. et al Sustainable active transport infrastructure interventions focussed on implementation science and intersectoral action. 2023-2027, NHMRC CIHR, $1,250,000

  • Shram, A., Friel, S., Townsend, B., Harris, P. Evaluating Systems Change for Health Equity: A Case Study of Australia’s COVID-19 Policy Response, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Ideas Scheme 2022-25, $483,109
  • valentine, K. Blunden, L., Liu, E., Veeroja, Harris. P. & Horton, C. Better support for clients with complex needs: the role of housing providers. Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), 2022-23, $95,000
  • Nykiforuk, C., De Leeuw, E., Harris, P., Hyshka, E., Montesanti, S., Pabayo, M., Springett, J. Social and Public Health Response to COVID-19: Intervening to address Financial Strain and Mental Health Consequences of the Pandemic. Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), 2020, $449,223 CAN
  • Buckle, C., Gurran, N., Phibbs, P., Harris, P., Lea, T. Informal, marginal, and short-term accommodation under Covid-19: housing system risks and opportunities. Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), 2020, $47,514
  • Jan, S., Shanthosh, J., Harris, P. Haigh, F. et al. Institutionalising a whole-of-government approach to chronic disease prevention. The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, National Health and Medical Research Council, 2019-2020 - $200,000.
  • Baum, F, McDougal, C., Harris P., Marinova, D., McDermott, D., Fisher, M. et al. Australian Research Council (ARC). Policy orientation of non-health sectors to social determinants of health, 2016-2019 - $699,000.
  • Harris, P. National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship: Collaborating to Create Healthy Built Environments: Including Health in a Land Use Planning System, 2015-2019 – $309,000
  • Baum, F. Friel, S., Kay, A., McDermott, D, Labonte, R., Zeirsch, A., Strazdins, L., Harris, P. Mackean, T., Newman, L. NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on Social Determinants of Health Equity: Policy research on the social determinants of health equity, 2015-2020 $2,400,000
  • Harris, E., Baum, F., Wise, M., Furler, J., Lawless, A., Harris, P., Harris-Roxas, B., Dennis, S., Kemp, L. The impact of an Equity Focused Health Impact Assessment (EFHIA) on local planning to better meet the needs of vulnerable populations. Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute, Canberra, 2012-2013 – $149,000
  • Harris, P. NHMRC People Support PHD Scholarship to investigate how health impact assessment can influence public policy development, 2010-2013$77,000

My Qualifications

PhD, Masters of Public Health, BA (Hons) Social Psychology

My Awards


  • South Western Sydney Local Health District Quality Awards 2023 (Finalist): Healthy Places Program.

  • UNSW South Western Sydney Clinical Campuses 2020:  Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation, Research Centre of the year

  • International Association of Impact Assessment, Institutional Award, 2010 – NSW HIA Project

  • Australian Health Promotion Association Ray James Memorial Award for excellence in health promotion research published in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 2010

My Research Activities

My research interests include health and health equity as cross cutting public policy issues, specifically within urban and regional planning and infrastructure policy and planning, and the use of impact assessment to improve public health. I have received research funding of Aus$9 million including fellowships and grants from the ARC and NHMRC. 

Broadly my current research activities are as follows:

- health equity

- healthy public policy / health in all policies 

- healthy urban planning 

- 'health' political science: new institutionalism, governance and urban politics 

- working with local government 

- city deals

- infrastructure planning and delivery

- refugees and asylum seekers 

- housing and health

- pandemics and cities

My Research Supervision

Supervision keywords

Areas of supervision

Public policy, urban issues, environment, equity, social and commercial determinants, climate change

Qualitative methods, policy analysis, realist research

Currently supervising

Glen Ramos - Pandemic preparedness and management. School of Population Health / CPHCE - w Deborah Lupton and Evelyne De Leeuw


Completed - Brendan Clifford (Housing and Homelesseness and Health) - University of Sydney w Andrew Wilson

My Engagement

I am co-located with South Western Sydney Population Health.

Current Committees: International Society of Urban Health: Accelerating City Equity Project, Oceania Working Group (2022-2023), Greater Sydney Heat Taskforce strategic advisor, Sweltering Cities Strategic Advisor


  1. Harris, P., Kent, J. The Conversation, July 2023, By Gutting the Greater Sydney Commission, The NSW Government is setting itself up for failure.

  2. Morrison, N., Harris, P. The Conversation March 9, 2022, Under-resourced and undermined: as floods hit south-west Sydney, our research shows councils aren't prepared.
  3. Harris, P., De Leeuw, E., Yashadana, A. The Conversation Sept 17, 2021. Chief Health Officers are in the spotlight like never before. Here’s what goes on behind the scenes.
  4. Buckle, C., Gurran, N., Harris, P., Phibbs, P., Shrivastava, R., and Lea, T. The Conversation, 2nd  December 2020. What did COVID do to rental markets? Rents fell as owners switched from Airbnb
  5. Harris, P. Healthy Urban Planning: Why is it so hard to achieve, and what might help? (Croakey,  Dec 2019)
  6. Harris, P. (Nov 19 Croakey) During catastrophic fire conditions, some timely questions for governments on climate policy:
  7. Harris, P., Jegosathy, E., The Conversation, 3rd December 2018, ‘Health impacts and murky decision-making feed public distrust of projects like WestConnex’
  8. Harris, P., Harris, E., Riley, E., Kent, J., Sainsbury, P. The Conversation, 17 April 2018 ‘With health assuming its rightful place in planning, here are 3 key lessons from NSW.’
  9. Schram, A, Baum, F., Fisher, M., Harris, P., Friel, S., Freeman, T. The Conversation, 22 June 2017 ‘Three Charts on: the NBN and the Digital Divide’.
  10. Harris, P., Kent, J., Sainsbury, P. The Conversation, 2 March 2017 'The mysterious disappearance of health from New South Wales planning laws'.
  11. Harris, P., Riley, E., Kent, J. (2016). The Conversation, 17 November, 2016. ‘Why transport projects aren’t as good for your health as they could be’.
  12. Kent, J., Harris, P., Sainsbury, P. (2015). The Conversation December 15, 2015 'A healthy approach: how to turn what we know about liveable cities into public policy’.
  13. Harris P., Armstrong, B. Kent, J. Op-ed: Mobile and healthy cities: can Australian policy catch up with the evidence? (Croakey 8th October 2015)
  14. Harris, P., Sainsbury, P. Should Mines Be Approved on Money Alone? The Conversation, 16 September, 2013.

Formal Policy Engagement:

  • Public Expert Witness: Climate change and the Planning System, 2024, NSW Parliament
  • Public Expert Witness: Sustainability of Energy Supply and Resources in NSW, 2020, NSW Parliament.
  • Public Expert Witness: Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Territorial Limits Bill), 2020, NSW Parliament
  • Health in Healthy Built Environment Principles for inclusion in the NSW standard online Development Control Plan, CityPlan for NSW Health, 2019
  • Public Expert Witness: NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Westconnex (2018), NSW Territorial Limits Bill (2020)
  • Expert Witness on behalf of NSW Environmental Defenders Office, 2015, 2017, 2022

My Teaching

I coordinate the Policy Studies unit PHCM9381 

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Liverpool Hospital

Liverpool BC NSW 1871


+61 (2) 8738 9310