Prof Catherine Bennett



Chair in Epidemiology


Faculty of Health


School of Health & Soc. Dev.


Melbourne Burwood Campus


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



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.

Read more on Catherine's profile

Biography summary

Professor Bennett is the inaugural chair in Epidemiology, and was Head of the School of Health and Social Development from 2010 to 2019. Catherine is head of Deakin Epidemiolgy, a research unitwithin the Determinants of Health group in the Institute for Health Transformation..

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.

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. 


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).


No publications found

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

Life! diabetes prevention program: a randomised cluster control trial of its efficacy and cost effectiveness

Hon Prof James Dunbar, Emeritus Professor Rob Carter, Prof Edward Janus, Prof Catherine Bennett, Dr Sharleen O'Reilly, Prof Erkki Vartiainen

NHMRC Project Grant

  • 2011: $266,875
  • 2010: $321,466
  • 2009: $277,725

The epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus and antibiotic resistance in community-acquired

Prof Catherine Bennett, A/Prof Paul Johnson, Mr Geoff Coombs, Dr Gillian Wood

NHMRC Project Grant

  • 2011: $320,559
  • 2010: $335,982
  • 2009: $77,223

Inclusive Health Communication in Specialist Disability Accommodation

Dr Kate Anderson, Dr Joanne Watson, Dr Meredith Prain, Nathan Wilson, A/Prof Angela Dew, Patricia Frawley, Dr Amie O'Shea, A/Prof Melissa Bloomer, Prof Catherine Bennett

MRFF (DISER) - CRR Communications Strategies and Approaches During Outbreaks Grant

  • 2021: $109,047

Other Public Sector Funding

Public Health Workforce Capacity Building - Consultancy Agreement - Australian Network of Academic Public Health Institutions (ANAPHI) - QUT

Prof Catherine Bennett, Prof Bernie Marshall, Ms Berni Murphy

  • 2010: $40,000

Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Planning Review and Evaluation Support proposal 2011-2013 - Stage 1

Prof Catherine Bennett, Dr Matthew Dunn, Prof Evelyne de Leeuw

  • 2011: $26,696

Alcohol Culture Change in University setting

Prof Catherine Bennett, Dr Matthew Dunn, Prof Jo Williams

  • 2019: $65,000
  • 2018: $185,000
  • 2017: $150,000

Industry and Other Funding

Effectiveness of health promotion interventions delivered by local councils for healthy eating, physical activity, alcohol harm prevention and smoking cessation.

Prof Anna Peeters, A/Prof Kathryn Backholer, Prof Catherine Bennett, Dr Claudia Strugnell, A/Prof Gary Sacks, A/Prof Adrian Cameron

  • 2019: $75,000


Principal Supervisor

Patricia Louise Taylor

Thesis entitled: Embedding health promoting policy within Australian universities ¿ a smoke-free policy case study.

Doctor of Philosophy (Health & Social Development), School of Health & Social Development

Associate Supervisor

Humaira Maheen

Thesis entitled: Improving Women's Access to Continuum of Maternity-Care Services: A Maternity-Care Model for Rural Sindh, Pakistan

Doctor of Philosophy (Health & Social Development), School of Health & Social Development


Grace Kabaniha

Thesis entitled: A Novel Approach to Priority Setting for HIV/AIDS Prevention Among Adults in Uganda

Doctor of Philosophy (Health & Social Development), School of Health & Social Development


Lynne Millar

Thesis entitled: Community-based obesity prevention in children

Doctor of Philosophy (Health & Social Development), School of Health & Social Development