This Connected Community is concerned with issues in public health from an interdisciplinary angle, and the relationship between the local relevance of global complex problems. The recent experience of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought public health to the fore and shown that health challenges are central to modern societies and, by nature, multifaceted. 
Public health, by definition, brings together multiple stakeholders, health professionals, policy organisations, government as well as the public. The CC aims to engage with these multiple audiences and develop new learning opportunities, research and evidence-based policy.   
The community is led by a group of international experts who are working together on a broad range of topics related to inequalities, public health nutrition, policy development, digital learning and health, amongst others. 
The community intends to create a virtual placement scheme and, more broadly, develop a portfolio for student connectedness beyond the traditional designs.  
Watch this space for more information on 2023-24 activities and ways to engage. 

Connected Community Activities

Coming up
coming soon
Past activities

How to get involved?

(Students and educators)
CC Lead: Prof Debbi Marais - 
Local Facilitator: Dr Mélina Delmas: 

Connected Community Members

Click on names below to see picture and short biography
Lead: Debbi Maris (UW). Email:

Debbi is the Director of Postgraduate Education at Warwick Medical School and a Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy, demonstrating strategic leadership to enhance student learning, with a focus on enhancing teaching quality, establishing effective organisational policies and/or strategies for supporting and promoting others (e.g. through mentoring, coaching) and championing an integrated approach to academic practice. She has more than 20 years of experience in the higher education environment gaining expertise in teaching and assessment (internally and externally) at under- and postgraduate levels; programme and course coordination; quality assurance, curriculum development and reform; student recruitment & selection and mentoring & pastoral care. Debbi originally qualified as a Dietitian and worked in the public sector in South Africa for 8 years. Thereafter she entered academia, at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, University of Aberdeen and is currently at the University of Warwick. As a Chair in Health Sciences Education, Debbi is committed to supporting and promoting innovative teaching, reflective practice and enhancing the student experience. Furthermore, Debbi is a post-doctoral researcher with a focus on Pedagogical and Public Health Nutrition research. She has a proven track record in successfully supervising postgraduate student research (PhD and Masters level) and experience of writing research proposals and securing external funding as part of collaborative teams. Debbi has excellent communication skills as evidenced by her publications, reviewer role and international, national and public engagement presentations in educational, nutrition and public health disciplines. 

Partner: Dragan Ilic (Monash). Email:

Professor Dragan Ilic is the Deputy Head (Education) of the School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine (SPHPM). He is also the Director, Teaching & Learning and Head, Medical Education Research & Quality (MERQ) unit at SPHPM. Dragan is responsible for overseeing the education portfolio at the SPHPM, which includes undergraduate, postgraduate and professional education programs. Dragan is internationally recognised for his expertise in evidence-based practice (EBP) and health professions education. He is a board member of the International Society of Evidence-based Health Care (ISEBHC), editorial member of Cochrane Urology and member of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Health Professions Educators (ANZAHPE). He sits on a variety of health professions journals, including the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions as Reviews Editor. Dragan also sits on a variety on panels including University affiliated research panels and teaching committees, and NHMRC research panels. He is a previous recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Exceptional Performance. 

Partner: Tamar Abzhandadze (GU). Email:
My professional activities involve both clinical practice and research. As a clinician, I work as a senior occupational therapist and specialist at the Department of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. I have extensive experience of providing in-patient rehabilitation for stroke survivors at this hospital, using evidence-based interventions and assessments. As a researcher, I conduct studies at the Rehabilitation Medicine Research Group at the University of Gothenburg and perform postdoctoral work at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics at Karolinska Institutet. My research areas are stroke and dementia. 
Partner: Göran Bondjers (GU). Email: 
Göran Bondjers is a Senior Professor and Researcher at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Gothenburg. He earned his PhD in 1972 and his MD in 1980. He has been a member and chairman of various boards including APHRC, CARTA and the Board for Health Economics at the University of Gothenburg, and he was the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Capacity Building in Human Resources for Health and Public Health for several years. He was awarded an honorary professorship by Hanoi Medical University as well as Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg. He has published extensively in the following areas: Vascular biology, Lipoprotein and lipid metabolism, Clinical cardiovascular research, Atherosclerosis research, Nutrition, Management, Public Health including Human Resources for Health, and Reproductive health.
Partner: Sónia Dias (UNL). Email: 
Sónia Dias is Dean and Full Professor at the National School of Public Health - NOVA University Lisbon, Portugal. She has a PhD in International Health. Has developed her scientific activity on health promotion, disease prevention and socio-behavioural sciences, with a particular focus on health inequalities, as well as in evaluation of health interventions and policies. Has vast experience in projects, namely financed by the European Union. She has acted as consultant for several international organizations. She has co-authored 150+ papers in peer-reviewed indexed journals and published several book chapters and books. 
Partner: Rene English (SU). Email:

Coming soon

Partner: Håkan Billig (GU). Email:
Coming soon