Dr Cath Conn

Associate Head of School - South

Phone: 64+ 9 921 9999 Ext 7407

Email: cath.conn@aut.ac.nz

Physical Address:
AUT University (Room AR335)
North Shore Campus
90 Akoranga Drive
Auckland 0627
New Zealand

Postal Address:
Department of Public Health, Mailcode A-12
Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences
AUT University, North Shore Campus
Private Bag 92006
Auckland 1142
New Zealand

Address for blogs:

Links to relevant web pages:


BSc (Hons) Soc Sci, MCommH (Liverpool, School of Tropical Medicine), PG Dip Business Admin (Henley), PG Cert Teaching and Learning for Higher Education (Leeds), Doctorate Public Sector Managment (Leeds).

Memberships and Affiliations:

Research Associate, Centre for Development Studies, University of Auckland
Member, Public Health Association, New Zealand


Dr Cath Conn is the Associate Head of School (South) and is currently located at AUT’s Akoranga campus. Her research and teaching interests include youth and gender empowerment, young women’s health, public health in developing countries, HIV prevention, sexual health, critical management and policy, international indigenous health and participative and action methodologies.

Cath has worked for 20 years in international health and development in Africa and Asia; first with Save the Children over a 10 year period as a programme manager. Her roles included emergency programme management in Uganda; and adviser to primary health care and sanitation programmes in Sudan and The Gambia. She worked for a further 10 years as a consultant and researcher, in health systems development for Vietnam and Laos; as a primary health care support in Nigeria; and as a programme manager for urban primary health care training in China. Over the last 15 years she has lectured and conducted research in the UK, New Zealand and overseas.

Cath is passionate about real world solutions to people’s health, especially for vulnerable communities. She is taking a leading role in developing a distinctive profile for AUT in public health at AUT’s South Campus with an emphasis on addressing inequalities, youth and community empowerment, and the south Auckland population. Please find a full CV here.

Teaching Areas:

  • International public health policy and systems
  • Programme management and evaluation
  • Qualitative research methods
  • International health and development

Research Areas:

  • Youth, technology and empowerment
  • Public and environmental health education
  • HIV prevention
  • Access to water and sanitation
  • Women's health
  • Indigenous health in developing countries
  • Pacific region and public and environmental health

Research Summary:

Since 1991 she has been involved in a number of health management research projects in Uganda (district health policy), Vietnam and Laos (studies of district health system). She has also published on qualitative research: participatory and narrative methods. Her doctoral research explored young women’s voices and HIV prevention in Uganda using a critical narrative method.

Current Research Projects:

Youth, technology and empowerment for health solutions: This project focuses on the role of youth as champions and leaders in health, and their use of technology to enhance this role and disseminate their experiences. A pilot study is being conducted with youth leaders in Auckland using mobile devices. Another, and related study is being conducted by Dinar Lubis, PhD student, in Bali with young gay men who use video to create HIV prevention messages.

New directions in public and environmental health: This aims to address the challenges of public and environmental health education in the 21st century in the context of New Zealand and the Pacific region. It examines ‘next’ practice and sectoral employability in the rapidly shifting public and environmental health landscape; and identifies the ways in which tertiary institutions can best prepare both domestic and international students in a digital and globalized context. Research is organized around three key themes: new directions in public and environmental health in the digital age; teaching and learning for 21st century skills in public and environmental health; and public and environmental health in the context of south Auckland and the Pacific. Research findings will be applied to the development of public and environmental health programmes and to the creation of a Centre of Excellence in an innovative and multidisciplinary approach at AUT’s South Campus. This work aims to increase numbers of both international and domestic students and provide them with appropriate skills for the future. The research will also inform a developing partnership with Pacific region institutions, such as, NZ AID, the University of the South Pacific, and Oxfam New Zealand, for linked programmes in public and environmental health.  The first study to be undertaken in this area is a focus group based research in late 2015 with year 12 students in 3 south Auckland schools; we will be exploring their perceptions of public and environmental health, including what they think about this subject as a career choice.


Conn C, Modderman K, & Nayar, S (2013) At the limits of participation: Most at risk populations and HIV programmes Development Bulletin 75 Canberra: ANU.

Conn C (2012) Young Ugandan Women and HIV: Towards creating more empowering and receptive social environments for HIV prevention AIDS Care 25(3) 273-280.

Waite L, Conn C (2012) ‘Participatory Video: A Feminist way of Seeing’ (Chapter 5) Handbook of Participatory Video, Ed E-J Milne, Claudia Mitchell and Naydene DeLange, AltaMira Press.

Waite L, Conn C, (2011), ‘Creating a space for young women’s voices: Using participatory video drama in Uganda’ Gender, Place and Culture. 18(1).

Conn C, Waite L, (2010), ‘Young Women’s Voices and HIV/AIDS in Uganda’, Journal of Health Organization and Management, (special half issue) 24(5).

Emmel N, Conn C, (2004) Towards community involvement: strategies for health and social care providers, Nuffield Portfolio Programme, Report 21, Department of Health, UK.

Green A, Shaw J, Dimmock F, Conn C , (2002) A shared mission? Changing relationships between government and church health services in Africa, International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 17: 353.

Conn C, Wolford V (1998) An introduction to health insurance for low income countries, Institute for Health Sector Development, London, UK.

Conn C, Jenkins P, Touray SO, (1996) Strengthening health management: experience of district teams in the Gambia, Health Policy and Planning, 11(1).

Conn C, Green C, Walley J, (1996) Effective district health services in developing countries: a busy manager’s guide to the literature, Institute of Development Studies (IDS) review paper and bibliography, Brighton, UK.

Holland S, Phimphachanh C, Conn C, Segall M, (1995) Impact of Economic and Institutional Reforms on the health sector in Laos: implications for health system management. Institute of Development Studies, Research Report 28, Sussex, UK.

Conn C, (1994) Restructuring Ministries of Health: issues and experiences in organisational reform, briefing paper, WHO Geneva, Strengthening Health Systems No 8, Experience with organizational and financing reform of the health sector, Ed. J Kutzin.

Selected Reports

Conn C, Wang Y, 2003, Urban Health and Poverty Project UHPP China: Training needs assessment report, DFID UK and Ministry of Health, Beijing.

Conn C et al, 1999, Family Health Project, Tanzania, Final evaluation report, DFID UK.

Conn C, 1995/6, Reports on the Bamako Initiative Primary Health Care Systems Project, Nigeria, British Council/ODA UK.

Conn C, 1994, Uganda Health Policy and Management Studies: review of organizational structures (decentralisation component), Ministry of Health Uganda and ODA UK.

Segall M, Conn C, 1992-1993, Management guidelines for district health services in Vietnam, series of reports for Ministry of Health Vietnam and SIDA Sweden.  

Last updated: 21-Jul-2016 3.16pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.