Staff profile

AsPr Mardie Townsend

Position: Honorary Associate Professor
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Health & Soc. Dev.
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 92517278 +61 3 92517278



  • Doctor of Philosophy, Royal Melb Inst. of Technology, 1997


Member of the Australian Sociological Association,Member Public Health Association of Australia


Public Health Association of Australia

International Union for Health Promotion and Education

International Association for Ecology and Health


Teaching Interests

Unit Chair HSH736

Unit Chair HSH740

4 PhD students

1 masters major project student

2 masters minor project students

1 honours student

Conferences and seminars

Human Nature Connections : 'The importance of green spaces and urban parks for health and wellbeing'. Invited keynote presentation at Agencies for Nutrition Action Conference, Wellington, NZ, May 2009 'A World without Parks?' It Makes You Sick to Think of it!' Invited keynote presentation at Parks Forum Conference, Auckland, NZ, May 2008. 'The Nature Connection', Presentation to the 'Stirring the Possum' Public Forum, run by the South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources, at The Sanctury, Adelaide Zoo, April 2011. Healthy Environments, Healthy People: The effect of biodiversity on health and wellbeing of individuals and families in rural communities, Presentation to Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Board, Brush with Biodiversity Conference, Kingscote, KI October 2010 Climate Change and Human Health, Presentation to the Frankston City Council Community Workshop, May 2010 Healthy Parks = Healthy People? The Importance of Nature and the Outdoor Life, Presentation to the City of Melbournes Melbourne Conversations Public Forum, April 2010 Investing in Wellbeing: Healthy People, Healthy Business, Presentation to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia Forum, March 2010


Awards and prizes

1999 Recipient of the Vice-Chancellors Award for Outstanding Achievement in


2004 Recipient of the Vice-Chancellors Award for Excellent Contributions to

the Community

2005 Recipient of the Vice-Chancellors Award for Outstanding Achievement in

Teaching and Learning


Research projects

Associate Professor Townsend is involved in a range of School, Faculty and University committees:

She is a member of the following Deakin committees and groups:

Deakin University Environmental Policy Sub Committee

Deakin Graduate School of Business Advisory Board

School of Health and Social Development School Board

She is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for the journal EcoHealth, and regularly reviews articles for the following journals: Health Promotion International, International Journal of Consumer Studies, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, and Urban Forestry and Urban Greening.

Research interests

Associate Professor Townsend is involved, in collaboration with Parks Victoria and other partner organisations, in investigating the benefits of contact with nature

for human health and wellbeing. Current and recent research includes: an

investigation of health and wellbeing outcomes of differing levels of access to

nature for residents of high-rise housing; a study of mental health benefits of

hands-on nature based activities in primary schools; a nature based intervention

program for people suffering depression, anxiety and/or social isolation; an

assessment of health benefits of a visiting companion animal program in an acute

care hospital; several projects exploring the health and wellbeing outcomes of

bush adventure therapy programs in Australia; several projects exploring the

benefits of environmental volunteering; and a project assessing the valuing and

use of parks in high and low SES areas.

Other recent research undertaken by Associate Professor Townsend has included:

several studies of the use of parks and open spaces; a study of the cumulative

impacts of policy change on two small Victorian rural communities; a study for

the UK Housing Corporation on the housing needs and aspirations of British

women between 2000 and 2020; and a study of the role of physical activity and

sport in building social capital in rural communities.

Research page

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