Dr Karen Bissell

Doctorate of Public Health - DrPH (LSHTM); MA, BA (University of Auckland)


Dr Karen Bissell is a part-time Senior Lecturer for the Health Systems Section, School of Population Health. She is a qualitative researcher, but also works with quantitative methods, especially as used in operational research and evaluation. She has an extensive list of publications with international colleagues and students, and has co-supervised 2 PhDs and 3 Master’s.

She holds a Doctorate in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a Master of Arts in Languages and Literature from the University of Auckland.

Her other part-time role is as Research Coordinator for the Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

From 1994 to 2017 she worked for an international NGO, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), in research; capacity-building; evaluation; technical assistance to country programmes; development of programmes, policies and strategies for lung health at global, national and subnational levels; partnership building; advocacy and social mobilisation.

Research | Current

  • Health policy, systems and service delivery
  • Policy transfer
  • Evaluation of public health interventions
  • Global health
  • Health care in low- and middle-income countries
  • Access to essential medicines
  • Tuberculosis
  • Asthma and other non-communicable diseases
  • Tobacco control and cessation
  • Operational research

Teaching | Current

POPLHLTH 705 Evaluation Research Methods (Course Director)

POPLHLTH 776 Public Health in Practice (Member of teaching faculty)


Postgraduate supervision


Master of Public Health. 2020. Soe San. School of Population Health, University of Auckland. ‘Smoking cessation in tuberculosis and HIV programmes in Myanmar’. Co-supervised with Prof. Chris Bullen.

PhD. Dr Ananth Kumar. 2020. School of Population Health, University of Auckland. ‘Feasibility, effectiveness and acceptability of a smoking cessation intervention in rural Indian healthcare setting’. Co-supervised with Prof. Chris Bullen.

Master of Public Policy. 2019. Nurul Prasetyorini. Public Policy Institute, Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland. ‘Cross-national analysis of biosimilar medicine policies’.

Master of International Community Health. 2018. Magde Nour. Department of Community Medicine, University of Oslo. ‘A study of the Prevalence of Asthma and Asthma Related-Symptoms in 13-14 year old School Children in Sudan’. Co-supervised with Prof. Asma El Sony and Mr Tennegedara Buhary Saheer.

PhD. 2016. Ezio Tavora dos Santos, Faculty of Medicine, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. ‘Social mobilisation and policy change in tuberculosis control, Brazil’. Co-supervised with Prof. Afrânio Kritski, Dr Anete Trajman, Dr Fatima Scarparo.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Board Member, Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association

Member, Steering Group, Global Asthma Network

Member, International Union for Health Promotion and Education

Member, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

Co-chair, Working Group on Asthma Management, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Bissell, K., Ellwood, P., Ellwood, E., Chiang, C.-Y., Marks, G. B., El Sony, A., ... Global Asthma Network Study Group (2019). Essential Medicines at the National Level: The Global Asthma Network's Essential Asthma Medicines Survey 2014. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16 (4).10.3390/ijerph16040605
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Philippa Ellwood, Eamon Ellwood, Innes Asher
  • Asher, I., Bissell, K., Chiang, C.-Y., El Sony, A., Ellwood, P., García-Marcos L, ... Strachan, D. (2019). Calling time on asthma deaths in tropical regions-how much longer must people wait for essential medicines?. The Lancet. Respiratory medicine, 7 (1), 13-15. 10.1016/s2213-2600(18)30513-7
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Innes Asher, Philippa Ellwood
  • Lagrou, D., Zachariah, R., Bissell, K., Van Overloop, C., Nasim, M., Wagma, H. N., ... Fricke, R. (2018). Provision of emergency obstetric care at secondary level in a conflict setting in a rural area of Afghanistan – is the hospital fulfilling its role?. Conflict and Health, 12 (1).10.1186/s13031-018-0137-1
  • Peruhype, R. C., Costa, S. G., Hoffmann, J. F., Bissell, K., Mitano, F., Sá LDD, & Palha, P. F. (2018). Directly Observed Treatment: planning perspectives, improvisation and transfer of policy. Revista brasileira de enfermagem, 71 (4), 1940-1948. 10.1590/0034-7167-2017-0493
  • Tripathy, J. P., Kumar, A. M., Guillerm, N., Berger, S. D., Bissell, K., Reid, A., ... Harries, A. D. (2018). Does the Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative (SORT IT) continue to influence health policy and/or practice?. Global health action, 11 (1)10.1080/16549716.2018.1500762
  • Ellwood, P., Asher, M. I., Billo, N. E., Bissell, K., Chiang, C. Y., Ellwood, E. M., ... Marks, G. B. (2017). The Global Asthma Network rationale and methods for Phase I global surveillance: Prevalence, severity, management and risk factors. European Respiratory Journal, 49 (1)10.1183/13993003.01605-2016
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Innes Asher, Philippa Ellwood, Eamon Ellwood
  • Bissell, K., Perrin, C., & Beran, D. (2016). Access to essential medicines to treat chronic respiratory disease in low-income countries. The international journal of tuberculosis and lung disease : the official journal of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 20 (6), 717-728. 10.5588/ijtld.15.0734
  • Kumar, A. M. V., Shewade, H. D., Tripathy, J. P., Guillerm, N., Tayler-Smith, K., Dar Berger, S., ... Harries, A. D. (2016). Does research through Structured Operational Research and Training (SORT IT) courses impact policy and practice?. Public Health Action, 6 (1), 44-49. 10.5588/pha.15.0062

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 507 - Bldg 507
Level 3, Room 3001
New Zealand