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Dr Oliver is an infectious disease epidemiologist and public health researcher. She completed her PhD at the University of Otago Wellington and is expecting graduate in December 2018. She was awarded a Master of Health Sciences (with Distinction) there in 2013. She also holds a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (2010) and a Postgraduate Diploma of Medical Laboratory Science (with Credit, 2011) from the University of Otago.
Her doctoral research has shaped public policy and helped direct Government spending. Her work includes assisting the New Zealand Ministry of Health (MoH) in measuring progress towards the first Better Public Services health target for a 2/3 reduction in rheumatic fever, which received $65 million in new health spending. Dr Oliver’s research also motivated and guided another major health target, concerning a 25% reduction in preventable child hospitalisations. She showed that children who get rheumatic fever often come from very deprived households where over-crowding, cold, damp and mould may harm health. This discovery led to the families of affected children being offered healthy housing interventions. Ultimately her doctoral research helped to show the context in which services and outcome measures are most useful for reducing the burden of preventable diseases, with implications for antimicrobial stewardship and public health policy.
Since her commencement at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Dr Oliver has been scoping a rheumatic heart disease (RHD) control programme in Victoria. She also investigates the descriptive epidemiology of invasive streptococcal infections and works with the END RHD CRE to determine the burden of rheumatic heart disease in Australia. Dr Oliver is an Investigator on two major University of Otago studies - the GAS Pharyngitis & Skin Infection Study and the Rheumatic Fever Cost-Effectiveness Study, each of which received $1.2 million in funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand. She has experience supervising student research, assessing grant applications and reviewing articles for publication in major scientific journals.
· 2017: PhD Prize for Excellence in Public Health Research, University of Otago Wellington.
· 2017: Publishing Award – He Kainga Oranga, Housing and Health Research Programme, University of Otago Wellington.
· 2016: Outstanding progress in doctoral studies – 2nd PhD Progress Report, University of Otago.
· 2017: Finalist – Young Investigators Award, 20th Lancefield International Symposium on Streptococci and Streptococcal Diseases 2017.
· 2016: Travel Grant – New Zealand Heart Foundation.
· 2016: Travel Grant –Division of Health Sciences, University of Otago.
· 2015: Outstanding progress in doctoral studies – 1st PhD Progress Report, University of Otago.
· 2015 - 2017: PhD Scholarship – Lotteries Health Research.
· 2012: Scholarship for Master of Health Sciences – New Zealand Ministry of Health.
· 2010: Summer Research Student Scholarship – Maurice and Phyllis Paykel Trust.
· 2008 - 2010: Studylink Step Up Scholarship for Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science.
Dr Oliver has a wide range of public health research interests, particularly in environmental health, infectious diseases, and housing. She has published work in these areas in international peer reviewed science journals, particularly on the topic of rheumatic fever. She strives to produce translational research that helps reduce preventable child hospitalisations. Supporting actions that address the underlying determinants of health is a strong focus of her research, for example those that enable families to have warm, dry homes and better access to healthcare. Dr Oliver’s research has highlighted ethnic inequities in child health outcomes, with findings used to refine interventions.
Dr Oliver understands that the social and physical environment which young children are exposed to has an important effect on their lifelong development and wellbeing, which is why optimising this environment is so important. She believes that public health interventions should be guided by quality scientific evidence and operate with a focus on reducing hardship and deprivation for all.
Her work addresses three critical aspects of infectious disease control: 1) Using descriptive epidemiological techniques to define public health problems, 2) Identifying and refining interventions for disease prevention and control, 3) Evaluating public health policy and programmes and applying lessons from these experiences to current practice.
1. Oliver J, Malliya Wadu E, Pierse N, Moreland NJ, Williamson DA, Baker MG (2018). Group A Streptococcus pharyngitis and pharyngeal carriage: A meta-analysis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2018, 12 (3): e0006335
2. Oliver J, Pierse N, Williamson DA, Baker MG (2017). Estimating the likely true changes in rheumatic fever incidence using two data sources. Epidemiology & Infection. 2017, 146 (2) 265-275.
3. Oliver J, Foster T, Williamson DA, Pierse N, Baker MG (2017). Using preceding hospital admissions to identify children at risk of developing acute rheumatic fever. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health. 2017, doi:10.1111/jpc.13786.
4. Oliver J, Foster T, Kvalsvig A, Williamson DA, Baker MG, Pierse N (2017). Risk of rehospitalisation and death for vulnerable New Zealand children. Archives of Disease in Childhood. 2017, 103: 327–334.
5. Oliver J, Pierse N, Stefanogiannis N, Jackson C, Baker MG (2017). Acute rheumatic fever and exposure to poor housing conditions in New Zealand: A descriptive study. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health. 2017, 53 (4): 358-364.
6. Oliver J, Pierse N, Baker MG (2015). Estimating rheumatic fever incidence in New Zealand using multiple data sources. Epidemiology & Infection. 2015, 143 (1): 167-177.
7. Oliver J, Baker MG, Pierse N, Carapetis J (2015). Comparison of approaches to rheumatic fever surveillance across Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries. Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health. 2015, 51 (11): 1071-1077.
8. Wilson N, Oliver, J, Thomson G (2014). Smoking close to others and butt littering at bus stops: Pilot observational study. 2014, PeerJ. 2, e272.
9. Thomson G, Oliver J, Wilson N (2014). Trends in smoking in vehicles at a local community-level in New Zealand: Wainuiomata 2005–2013. New Zealand Medical Journal. 2014, 127 (1397): 47-56.
10. Oliver J, Pierse N, Baker MG (2014). Improving rheumatic fever surveillance in New Zealand: Results of a surveillance sector review. BMC Public Health. 2014, 14 (1): 528.