Assoc Prof Anita Heywood

Associate Professor in Public Health, Director of the Master of Public Health
Institution: University of New South Wales, Sydney
Current Insitution Location: Australia

Phone Number: +61 2 9385 3667
Website: Go to website

Level 3, Samuels Building (F25), Faculty of Medicine, UNSW, Sydney, 2052, Australia

Migration Health Research Area/Expertise:
Associate Professor Anita Heywood (B. Sc (Biomed), MPH, Ph.D.) is an infectious diseases epidemiologist at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Sydney, Australia.

She leads a program of research aimed at understanding immunization gaps in at-risk groups, particularly adult travelers and migrants and the use of routinely collected data to evaluate immunization programs. Anita’s research focuses on three key areas: vaccine-preventable disease epidemiology; travel-associated infectious disease risks; and migrant, refugee, and international traveler immunization gaps. Her work on travel health has highlighted the increased risks of migrant Australians has been presented to the Communicable Diseases Network Australia. Her enhanced surveillance of notifiable travel-associated diseases identified the high risk of migrants and their children. Her report outlining key recommendations arising from a national immunization stakeholder workshop has been used to advocate for changes to the national immunization register for migrants and refugees. Her review of the evidence for measles elimination in Australia and a subsequent paper outlining alternative criteria published before elimination was declared have both had significant policy implications and tabled as discussion papers at various WHO regional offices. Her currently funded research includes a large serosurvey of university students, including international students, which aims to determine travel health behaviors and population immunity to a range of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Since 2007, Dr. Heywood has published over 60 peer-reviewed journal publications and has co-authored 1 book chapter. She has received >$1.65 million in grant funding as Chief Investigator, and an additional $3 million as Associate Investigator. She was a named researcher on the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre for Research Excellence grant (AUD$2.5M) “Immunisation in Under-studied and Special Risk Populations” on which she led the research stream on traveler, migrant, and refugee immunization. Dr. Heywood was awarded the NHMRC Public Health Postgraduate Research Scholarship for her doctoral work (2007-2010). She is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Travel Medicine and has been a member of the International Society for Travel Medicine (ISTM) Scientific Committee since 2014 and the Asia Pacific Travel Medicine Society Scientific Committee since 2015. In 2018 she was elected as a member of the ISTM Migrant and Refugee Interest Group.

Previously, Anita Heywood held a policy role at Australia’s National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), supporting the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) for Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) vaccine submissions. In this role, she produced several in-confidence technical reports for ATAGI for new program vaccines including MMRV, herpes zoster, and HPV. She was also a technical writer for the 9th and 10th editions of The Australian Immunisation Handbook, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella and zoster chapters. These guidelines are extensively used and include best practice recommendations for immunization providers.

Research Focus/Expertise on Relevant Migrant Categories:
International/Cross-Border Migration
Refugees (Children, Adolescents, Adults, Elderly)

General Research Focus/Expertise: 
Immigration health examinations
Vaccine preventable diseases/immunization

Relevant Publications

Title Author Year Published Link to Publication
Reducing infectious disease inequities among migrants Anita E Heywood, Rogelio López-Vélez 2018
Measles: a re-emerging problem in migrants and travelers Anita Heywood 2018
Modelling the decline and future of hepatitis A transmission in Australia Duleepa Jayasundara, Ben B Hui, David G Regan, Anita E Heywood, C Raina MacIntyre, James G Wood 2018
Improving access and provision of pre-travel healthcare for travellers visiting friends and relatives: a review of the evidence Anita E Heywood, Nicholas Zwar 2018
Immunisation for refugees in Australia: a policy review and analysis across all States and Territories Abela Mahimbo, Holly Seale, Anita E Heywood 2017
Challenges in immunisation service delivery for refugees in Australia: A health system perspective A Mahimbo, H Seale, M Smith, A Heywood 2017