Associate Professor Justin Denny

Started at UWA: 2019

Changing the world, one student at a time. 

We need to create global student opportunities which improve the health of the populations in which they gain these life-changing experiences. Travelling out of cultural curiosity is not enough.
Associate Professor justin denny

Dr Justin Denny is an Associate Professor of Global Health at UWA, maintaining his appointments as the Kathryn Robertson Professor of Global Health, an endowed faculty position at Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU). This involves continuing to connect OHSU faculty and students with global health experiences in Southeast Asia and Oceania and teaching an online global health course to graduate students in Oregon.  
As Director, Dr Denny oversees programming for graduate students and faculty from the schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health. Together with local partners, he is also responsible for overseeing projects, ranging from Occupational Health Centre of Excellence development and simulation training for ICU nurses and physicians, to eye surgeon training in Myanmar, and infectious disease and vaccine research for dengue fever, zika virus and tuberculosis in Bangkok. He also oversees student and resident exchanges for Mahidol University, Mae Fah Luang University and OHSU. Dr Denny also worked with the Laos Ministry of Health lay the foundation for the first nutrition institute in Laos where OHSU trains the country's first dietitians and future leaders to address the top health priority of malnutrition. 

When based in Laos, Dr Denny also worked as a medical epidemiologist with the World Health Organization to create the country's first field epidemiology training program. He has also worked to improve the skill set of public health and clinical leaders from Laos, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. As a result, Dr Denny has longstanding regional connections in southeast Asia. Prior to this engagement, he transitioned the largest global enteric disease surveillance system from London to Stockholm when working with the European Centre for Disease Control. 

At UWA, Dr Denny teaches the unit PUBH1102: Health and Globalisation.


Black rice and microbiome changes in school children in Chiang Rai, Thailand


We are conducting a study of sin lek rice versus traditional white rice consumption in elementary school children in Chiang Rai, Thailand, to:

  1. Determine differences in the microbiome pre- and post-sin lek rice consumption and whether microbiome changes are different between students consuming sin lek rice and those consuming traditional white rice.
  2. Quantify changes in body mass index pre- and post-sin lek rice consumption and differences in change in body mass index between groups (sin lek vs. traditional white rice).
  3. Estimate the effect of sin lek rice versus traditional white rice consumption on cognitive function as determined by performance on short-term working memory and attention tasks.    


  1. Public-Private Partnership funding: OHSU/Bangkok Dusit Medical Services/Mahidol University: Oregon Health & Science University centralised its global footprint in Southeast Asia by establishing a hub in Bangkok, Thailand, where education, research and clinical initiatives have been leveraged and sustained over time to improve human health globally. Together with one of the largest private health systems in Asia (BDMS) and two Thai universities (Mahidol University and Mae Fah Luang University), OHSU now has a presence in an important and dynamic part of the world via the sending of inter-professional teams of healthcare providers and researchers to assist partners with tackling regional priorities. Through these partnerships, OHSU has created opportunities for community members at all partner institutions in priority areas as identified by these countries such as emergency medicine, dentistry, healthcare leadership, informatics, infectious and non-communicable disease research, nutrition, nursing leadership, occupational health, ophthalmology, paediatrics, preventive cardiology, rehabilitation, simulation and others.   
  2. Kathryn Robertson Endowed professorship from Oregon Health & Science University: As a result of global health activity at OHSU, I was awarded an Endowed Chair of Global Health in honor of Kathryn Robertson, the late daughter of the former OHSU President. This award includes funding to pay for several student scholarships a year to partake in project based and faculty-led global health experiences in Southeast Asia.  
  3. Lao nutrition funding: Approximately $4 million in funding from the US government was directed to the Lao Ministry of Health as a result of OHSU providing teaching and technical support on essential field based nutrition interventions across the country.