Belinda Townsend

Dr Belinda Townsend


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr Belinda Townsend is Deputy Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Governance and Fellow in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University. Belinda is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the interface between public health, governance, and political economy and is an emerging leader in the field of public health political science. She has published in the top-ranked international journals in her field including Critical Public Health, Nature Food, Social Science and Medicine, Globalization and Health, Public Health Nutrition and Health Promotion International, authoring or co-authoring more than 25 journal articles, 3 book chapters, and 35 reports, conference papers and opinion pieces. 

Dr Townsend holds a PhD in political science from Deakin University, having graduated with first class honours in political theory. Her work examines the political economy of health, including agenda-setting for health in areas outside the "health policy" domain such as trade and investment, employment, and social and welfare policy. She has given lectures for a range of national and international associations on the topic of global governance for health. Dr Townsend has served as an expert witness for Australia's Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on trade and health, and has presented her research on the impact of trade agreements on health in Australia and abroad to government officials participating in Asia and the Pacific regional trade agreements. 

Belinda is an experienced and highly respected educator and has delivered research-led teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She aims for her teaching to have a clear research and practioner applicability. Her work has also been featured in media (TV; print; radio) and she has given more than 30 invited presentations nationally and globally with a diverse range of policy audiences. 


Current student projects

2019 - Current PhD Panel member, Steve Munns, “Violence at work: reducing assault and abuse directed at frontline staff in public service roles”, PhD Candidate, School of Regulation and Global Governance, Australian National University.

2020 - Current PhD Panel member, Jodette Kotz, “Path Dependency and payment models in the Australian health care system: Exploring the role of networks during attempts to change the non-integration policy stance”, PhD Candidate, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University.

2020 - Current PhD Panel member, Alexandre San Martim, “The Implementation of IPRS for Sustainable Development: A Comparative Analysis of Patent Protection in Free Trade Agreements”, PhD Candidate, School of Regulation and Global Governance, Australian National University.

2019 - Current PhD External advisory committee member, Leigh Haynes, “The influence of social movements on the policy making processes around privatization of health services”, PhD Candidate, Ghent University, Belgium.

2020 - Current PhD External panel member, Brigitte Tenni, “The Impact of the Trade Agreements and TRIPS plus measures on Access to Medicines in South East Asia”, PhD Candidate, La Trobe University, Melbourne.

Research interests

Politics of health

Commercial determinants of health

Health governance 

Social determinants of health

Trade policy and health including intellectual property 

Available student projects

I am always eager to hear from Masters and PhD students who have an interest in working on projects in the following areas:

• Agenda-setting for the social determinants of health

• Trade agreements and health including intellectual property

• Civil society and governing for health

• Health advocacy

Please do feel free to get in contact if you would like to pursue further study in any of these areas and to see whether I would be a suitable supervisor.

However, before you do, please check your eligibility to pursue a Master of Philosophy or PhD at the ANU.


Researcher's projects

NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence on the Social Determinants of Health Equity (2017 - 2020)

ARC Linkage Project 'Understanding effective engagement strategies to regulate the commercial determinants of health'. To commence 2021.


BA(Hon), BAppSc(Health), PhD

Expertise Areas

  • Health Policy
  • International Relations
  • Political Theory and Political Philosophy


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