Professor Colin MacDougall


College of Medicine and Public Health

place Health Sciences Building (2.14)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

I have a strong attachment to Flinders, having studied here and taught and researched in Public Health since 1990. My practice background includes clinical experience as a psychologist, the founding director of a community based service for children and families and as a chief planning officer in a health system. I have taught child and educational psychology and public health at tertiary level. My academic appointment has involved teaching public health at master's and doctoral levels and in the medical course. My research focusses on healthy public policy, the social studies of childhood and more recently the relationship between public health and climate change. Professional and community service involves co-convening the Child Health Special Interest Group of the Public HEalth Association and working to establish a medical course and School of Public Health at Patan Academy of Health Sciences in Kathmandu, Nepal. I am an Executive Member of the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity and also have an honorary appointment at the University of Melbourne in the Jack Brockhoff Child Health Program.

BA (Hons) MA (Flinders) Ph.D (Adelaide)
Honours, awards and grants

Vice Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award (Teaching Team) 2000
Visiting Expert in the New Zealand Social Science Research Capacity Building program 2007

European-Australian Public Health Award to teach and develop curriculum at Hamburg University of Life Sciences, Germany and Jagellonian University, Poland. (November 20 to 3 December 2010)

Visiting Professor, Social Sciences Research, University of Rennes 2, Rennes, France; in the Research Group on Space and Society. (September 12 to 31 October 2011)

Citizen Child Collaboration (Flinders University, University of Melbourne, The University of Auckland (NZ), Gunma University (Japan) Multidisciplinary research experiences promoting children as citizens in the making can increase understanding of the potential for, and limits to, how children negotiate agency in disaster contexts. (2012-)

International Advisory Board of Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal. (Jan 2012-)

For current research projects please see

Key responsibilities

Executive Committee, Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity, Flinders University

Chair, Discpline of Public Health Curriculum Committee

CO-ordinator, Undergraduate Public Health

I am an Executive member and Secretary of the Council for Academic Public Health Insitutions in Australasia.

Research expertise
Public health and health services
Research interests

My research is inspired by the World Health Organisation's Commission on the Social Determinants of Health:
"The toxic combination of bad policies, economics and politics is, in a large measure. responsible for the fact that a majority of people in the world do not enjoy the good health that is biologically possible. Social injustice is killing people on a large scale."

I try to play my part in researching social justice in three interlocking research areas:

  • the new social studies of childhood which, underpinned by a children's rights approach, seek to involve children in research, policy and practice decisions that affect their lives - with a developing interest in climate change and disasters;
  • policy that promotes equitable improvements in health and wellbeing;
  • the intersection of health and ecology to explore equitable public health responses to climate change: in particular water/drought and bushfires.

My research base is the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders. Here, I take part in interdisciplinary research collaboration and development.

For my work with childhood and bushfires in Victoria, I have a productive partnership with the School of Population and Global Health at Melbourne University as Principal Fellow (Honorary) in the Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program.

I am currently working with researchers at Flinders University, University of Melbourne University, University of New South Wales, University of Auckland, University College London, Lancaster University, Universitaire de Rennes 2 in France, and Glasgow Caledonian University.My research is always in teams and I enjoy working with people with the skills, values and humanity to be reflective and critical and, when necessary, to extend or develop research methods to answer complex or difficult research questions.

Teaching interests

I teach at undergraduate, masters and doctoral level and supervise DrPH and PhD research.

My teaching interests revolve around combining developing knowledge and understanding with reflection on practice with the aim of contributing to a fairer, more sustainable world. This fits the views of Paulo Freire who, writing in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, said that "Education either functions as an instrument facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."

I have participated in developing new curricula and courses: eg at Flinders Master of Primary Health Care; Doctor of Public Health; Master of Remote Health; Health, Professions and Society in the Flinders medical course, public health major in the Bachelor of Health Sciences. Internationally, the MPH at University of Western Cape, South Africa; mental health courses jointly with Flinders and University of Queensland; a School of Public Health (with an MPH) at Patan Academy of Health Sciences in Nepal; MPH at Divine Word University, Papua New Guinea. In all these endeavours I have worked to combine theory and practice, drawing on my own primary health care practice background. Crucially, this has involved thinking carefully on the pedagogy and practice of distance education: from print and post to fax to email to web and now to phones and wireless devices. I have taught at universities in New Zealand, France, Germany and Poland.

Topic coordinator
PHCA9201 Public Health Organisation
PHCA8510 Leadership for the New Public Health
Topic lecturer
MMED9999 Doctor of Philosophy
PHCA9300 Doctor of Public Health dissertationn
Supervisory interests
Child and adolescent health
Ecological public health
Public health
Public health and children
Expert for media contact
Community/Public Health
Childhood, Public Health and climate change
Public Health
University Teaching
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Community/Public Health
  • Universities
  • Childhood, Public Health and climate change
  • Public Health
  • University Teaching

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