Staff profile - Catherine Bennett

Staff image

Prof Catherine Bennett

Position: Head Of School
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Health & Soc. Dev.
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 924 46149 +61 3 924 46149
Executive Assistant: Liliana Donisi
Phone Number: +61 3 924 46553



Professor Bennett has a distinguished career in public health practice, research, academic governance and teaching. Catherine joined Deakin in 2009 after more than eight years with the University of Melbourne as Associate Professor in Epidemiology, Deputy Chair of the Academic Programs Committee in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, and Director of Population Health Practice in the Melbourne School of Population Health. Prior to that, Catherine worked with the New South Wales and Victorian State Governments in a variety of senior positions, including Olympic Public Health Coordinator for Northern Sydney. Catherine is also founding Chair and President of the Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australia.

Biography summary

Professor Bennett is the inaugural chair in Epidemiology, and Head of the School of Health and Social Development. Catherine is also Director of Deakin Epidemiology, a research Unit that sits within Deakin Population Health, one of six strategic research centres located within the Faculty of Health.


  • Bachelor of Science, La Trobe University, 1985
  • Doctor of Philosophy, La Trobe University, 1995
  • Master of Applied Epidemiology, Australian National University, 2000


Teaching Interests

Catherine is recognised for her academic program leadership and academic governance expertise and has chaired national working parties on career and training pathways in Public Health and in Epidemiology. Catherine was part of the team who developed the new University of Melbourne Graduate Attributes for the Melbourne Model and advised staff across the university on ways to embed these within the curriculum.

Catherine also has an extensive teaching and curriculum development portfolio. She introduced infectious disease epidemiology into the Master of Public Health and Master of Epidemiology programs at the University of Melbourne and initiated and led the review and renewal of the postgraduate epidemiology curriculum and course structure. Her leadership in curriculum reform and the quality and success of the resulting postgraduate programs are widely recognised. 


Awards and prizes

In 2008 she was awarded the David White Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Melbourne, and an Australian Award for University Teaching from the Australian Learning & Teaching Council – the Award for Teaching Excellence (Biological Sciences, Health and Related Studies).


Research interests

An active researcher Professor Bennett leads an NHMRC funded national research collaboration focussed on the epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus (Staph, or “superbugs”) in the community. She and her team (Austin Health, PathWest, Dorevitch Pathology) are also collaborating with the Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases (Barwon Health & CISRO), Columbia University, New York, and Amphia Hospital, the Netherlands. Her current research collaborations extend into chronic diseases; working on a diabetes intervention evaluation project with colleagues at Deakin, and the epidemiology of allergies with the University of Melbourne.

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