Researcher biography

Internationally leading and respected for cutting-edge population health work, Professor Philip Schluter is pioneering Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) framed research on non-communicable diseases (NCD), and their direct links to good health and wellbeing (SDG3), education (SDG4), reduced inequality (SDG10), and indirect links to other SDG goals. While infectious diseases (such as COVID-19) have the potential to massively impact on people and societies – in the long term, NCD inflict a greater overall population burden. Most of Philip’s publications fall within this NCD scope. His more recent focus is on paediatric oral health, a modern (neglected) epidemic, with publications in JAMA Pediatrics and NZMJ, amongst others, provided considerable interest to the scientific community and to the media alike. The JAMA Pediatrics paper findings were used to inform Government’s policy and the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor updated recommendations around water control and fluoridation – a contentious topic that continues to polarise people. Much of this work falls within the umbrella of the Child Population Health theme he leads within the University of Canterbury’s Child Well-being Research Institute.

Philip is also an international population health research leader in disaster epidemiology. There is growing recognition of health as a core dimension in disaster risk management, and this catalysed the development of Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM). The World Health Organization (WHO) established a Thematic Platform for Health-EDRM Research Network (TPRN). Following Philip’s research work with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) initiated by Christchurch’s earthquake and aftershock sequence (2010-2011), he was invited to join the WHO TPRN. In this capacity, he led one chapter and was the senior author (behind his doctoral student) on a second for an open source book: WHO Guidance on Research Methods for Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management (see: This is the first comprehensive book dealing with Health-EDRM, targeting both clinical and non-clinical audiences. He was also invited to be the New Zealand lead on an eight countries in four continents study looking at the population-based psychosocial impacts of COVID-19. This work is undertaken in conjunction with the WHO, Public Health England, and various august international bodies and researchers. In this capacity, he is also a named investigator on a successful Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) investigating the psychological effects of the March 15 Mosque attacks. Philip also remains the academic lead for the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey, now managed by the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) after CERA was disbanded, which tracks the wellbeing of residents within greater Christchurch since the earthquake and aftershock sequence (2010-2011).