Julie Bennett

Dr Julie Bennett is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Public Health in Wellington. She has a wide range of public health research interests, with a particular focus on infectious diseases, indoor air quality, housing and health. Her research activities currently have a strong focus on group A streptococcal infections, acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.

Julie is the lead researcher of SKIP RHD, a Trans-Tasman collaboration trialling subcutaneous infusions of benzathine penicillin for prevention of rheumatic heart disease. Julie also leads the “Isolate study” which aims to establish if group A streptococcal isolates detected prior to rheumatic fever differ from those collected on hospital admission. Julie project manages the “Endgame” project, led by Professor Michael Baker, which aims to develop an optimal strategy for ending rheumatic fever in New Zealand and the “START” study, led by Dr Nikki Moreland that aims to develop and validate biomarkers that may form the basis for a rheumatic fever blood test.

Julie is a member of He Kainga Organa, which was awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Team Prize in 2014. In 2020, Julie was awarded a University of Otago Research Grant to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the New Zealand housing market. She is a named Investigator on HRC funded research to maximise the health and well-being gains from housing, led by Ass Professor Nevil Pierse, and the MBIE funded public housing and urban regeneration project. Julie is a member of the New Zealand Indoor Air Quality Research Centre.

Key publications

  1. Zhang, J. Leung, W. Jack, S. Oliver, J. Webb, R. Wilson, N Sika-Paotonu, D. Harwood, M.
    Rising ethnic inequalities in acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, New Zealand, 2000-2018.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases,
    27(1), 36-46. doi: 10.3201/eid2701.191791
  2. Thomas, S. Jack, S. Oliver, J. Purdie, G. Upton, A.
    Descriptive analysis of group A Streptococcus in skin swabs and acute rheumatic fever, Auckland, New Zealand, 2010–2016.
    Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific,
    8, 100101.
  3. (Eds.), (2009).
    Do damp and mould matter? Health impact of leaky homes.
    Wellington: Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 172p.