Professor Alistair Jack Woodward



I am an epidemiologist and public health doctor. I was Head of the School of Population Health at Auckland from 2004-2012 and previously led departments of public health at the University of Otago Wellington, and the University of Adelaide. My research and teaching is concerned primarily with environmental matters and the social determinants of health.  I have been closely involved with the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and am currently a lead author for the Australia and New Zealand chapter in AR6. I am working with colleagues from China Centres for Disease Control on environmental health issues in that country, and in New Zealand with studies to test the effects of street changes on walking and cycling.  Tony Blakely and I have written a book on the history of human life expectancy. With Cameron Muir, I completed Tony McMichael's last book. McMichael died in 2014 - his magnum opus, "Climate Change and the Health of Nations" was published by Oxford University Press in 2017. 

Check out the books here

The Healthy Country? A History of Life and Death in New Zealand. Alistair Woodward and Tony Blakely. Auckland University Press 2014

On the long list for the New Zealand Book of the Year Award 2016

““We were looking for 10 books that were superb versions of themselves. We think we have found them…[including], of all things, a medical treatise – with a polemical edge, a wealth of data and an abiding commitment to engaging the lay reader” Metro January 2016

"A carefully considered analysis of the complex particularities of time and place, including colonization, migration by healthy folk into a fertile and uncrowded ecology, global and local economic forces and social conditions. The book rises to the challenge of integrating evidence to understand what causes the health of populations to improve, falter and recover, and for which groups and which health conditions. This is epidemiology at its brightest." International Journal of Epidemiology August 2016

Climate Change and the Health of Nations. Anthony J McMichael with Alistair Woodward and Cameron Muir. OUP 2017

"Just as 'nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution', nothing in the health of human societies makes sense except in the light of material flows, energy flows and climate. This magisterial work illuminates that framework, combining historical sweep, environmental, biomedical and epidemiologic insight, common sense, and great compassion" Howard Frumkin, School of Public Health, University of Washington February 2017

View a presentation

2018 Redfern Oration Royal Australasian College of Physicians

Listen to an interview with RNZ host Wallace Chapman about environments and water and government inquiries

Recent blogs



Research | Current

Research interests

  • Environmental health
  • Tobacco control
  • Physical activity and health
  • Transport and health
  • Climate change
  • History of public health

Teaching | Current

POPLHLTH211 Introduction to Environmental Health

POPLHLTH725 Environmental Health

Areas of expertise

public health, epidemiology, environmental health

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Rodgers, A., Woodward, A., Swinburn, B., & Dietz, W. H. (2018). Prevalence trends tell us what did not precipitate the US obesity epidemic. The Lancet. Public health, 3 (4), e162-e163. 10.1016/s2468-2667(18)30021-5
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Boyd Swinburn
  • Woodward, A. J., & Samet, J. M. (2018). Climate Change, Hurricanes, and Health. American journal of public health, 108 (1), 33-35. 10.2105/ajph.2017.304197
  • Smith, M., Hosking, J., Woodward, A., Witten, K., MacMillan, A., Field, A., ... Mackie, H. (2017). Systematic literature review of built environment effects on physical activity and active transport - An update and new findings on health equity. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14 (1)10.1186/s12966-017-0613-9
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jamie Hosking, Melody Smith-nee Oliver, Adrian Field
  • Chang, K. M., Hess, J. J., Balbus, J. M., Buonocore, J. J., Cleveland, D. A., Grabow, M. L., ... Wilkinson, P. (2017). Ancillary health effects of climate mitigation scenarios as drivers of policy uptake: a review of air quality, transportation and diet co-benefits modeling studies. Environmental Research Letters, 12 (11), 113001-113001. 10.1088/1748-9326/aa8f7b
  • Ebi, K. L., Ogden, N. H., Semenza, J. C., & Woodward, A. (2017). Detecting and attributing health burdens to climate change. Environmental Health Perspectives, 125 (8).10.1289/EHP1509
  • McMichael, A. (2017). Climate Change and the Health of Nations. Oxford University Press. Pages: 400.
  • Gao, J., Woodward, A., Vardoulakis, S., Kovats, S., Wilkinson, P., Li, L., ... Li, J. (2017). Haze, public health and mitigation measures in China: A review of the current evidence for further policy response. Science of The Total Environment, 578, 148-157. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.10.231
  • Wild, K., Woodward, A., Field, A., & Macmillan, A. (2017). Beyond ‘bikelash’: Engaging with community opposition to cycle lanes. Mobilities, 1-15. 10.1080/17450101.2017.1408950
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kirsty Wild, Adrian Field


Contact details

Primary office location

TAMAKI BUILDING 730 - Bldg 730
Level 3, Room 374
New Zealand

Web links