Julie Leask is a behavioural scientist and professor in the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. She has academic qualifications in nursing and midwifery, a Master of Public Health (USYD, 1998) and PhD in public health (USYD, 2002). Her research focuses on risk communication, responding to vaccine hesitancy and refusal, and strengthening vaccination programs and policy and she has over 117 publications in the field. She is visiting professorial fellow at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance where she established the Social Science Unit between 2002 and 2014. In 2015 Julie won the Public Health Impact Award (PHAA NSW branch) and the Sax Institute Research Action Award.
Julie works with a team of postdoctoral and PhD researchers with a shared focus on improving public health policy, programs and practice with a focus on vaccination and environmental health. She is currently a chief investigator on 3 NHMRC project grants and was previously chief investigator on an NHMRC CRE in Immunisation of Under-Studied and Special Risk Populations and held a Career Development Fellowship, 2012-2017.
In 2018, Julie was appointed chair of a working group on data for vaccine acceptance and demand convened by WHO, Geneva office. She is also a member of the Tailoring Immunization Programme Advisory Group of Experts for the WHO European Office. Previously, Julie has been invited to advise the Global Vaccine Action Plan, European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the US President’s Cancer Panel, and the US Institute of Medicine, and the US National Vaccine Program Office. She was an invited visiting Professor at the University of Parma, Italy in 2016. Previously, she was invited by the journal Nature to write an over view of vaccination acceptance in industrialised nations. She is a founding member of the International Collaboration on Vaccine Acceptance and was founding chair of the National Collaboration on Social Science in Immunisation between 2016 and 2018.
In Australia, Julie was a member of the Australian Academy of Science Working Group that wrote the Science of Immunisation, Questions and Answers. She co-wrote the Immunisation Policy for the Royal Australian College of Physicians and has advised the Council of the NHMRC on public acceptance of vaccination. She has been an invited witness on federal senate and Queensland parliamentary hearings on vaccination legislation amendments. In 2002 she convened the first national workshop on the Perception and Communication of Vaccine Riskin Melbourne;Ethical Issues in Immunisationin 2012; andImmunisation Advocacyin 2015.
Julie teaches evidence based practice to pre-registration students of nursing in the Sydney Nursing School and lectures across the Nursing, Public Health and Health Policy programs at the University of Sydney.
A/Professor Leask leads the social sciences component of the CRE. This includes mentoring postdocs and supervision of postgraduates. A particular focus has been in developing and running workshops for capacity building and she is particularly involved in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stream