A career in global health: Joel Negin

3 June 2019
Joel Negin, Head of School for Public Health shares his career in global health research.

From community development in Eastern Mali to water managment addressing epidemics in Fiji, Professor Joel Negin has devoted his life to ensuring a healthier world for all.

Professor Joel Negin in Liberia

Professor Joel Negin in Liberia

What inspired you to pursue a career in global health?

I was born in South Africa and my parents were born in Zimbabwe and I always had an interest in that part of the world. After high school, I spent a gap year teaching high school in Harare and then took a job in Johannesburg after graduation. Being in the region as the HIV epidemic took hold, it became clear that action on global health was a moral imperative for the global community.

What projects are you working on right now?

My three current projects represent the excitement and diversity of global health practice:

  • Most excitingly, I am leading a project in Fiji at the intersection of water management, land use and health to address epidemics of typhoid, leptospirosis and dengue. The nexus of environment and health is fascinating and the new frontier for global health practice.
  • I am working on a project in Vietnam on anti-microbial resistance at the district level, addressing overuse of antibiotics and how to reduce usage with incentives. 
  • I am working with UNICEF in Aceh, Indonesia, evaluating community level health improvement programs that strengthen the provision of health services at Posyandus, which are community health clinics focused on maternal and child health.
Joel Negin in Kenya

Joel Negin in Kenya


Career highlight?

I loved my time in Eastern Mali in Markala District where I was involved in a community development project. The Segou River was used to cultivate rice (on the edge of the Sahara!) while other crops suffered from insufficient water. The health facilities were understaffed, but there was a gleaming foreign-staffed acupuncture clinic!

It represented some of the anachronistic realities of global development – yet the people were committed and we were able to make real progress through partnership. We strengthened the community health facilities and started training a cadre of community health workers who covered about 100 households through outreach services.

Professor Joel Negin

Joel Negin
Head of School, Sydney School of Public Health
Joel Negin has been the Head of the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney since 2015.