Analysing the state of global health governance and its application in crisis

Our research focuses on the challenges, initiatives and agency that have evolved to confront health issues threatening individual security, state stability, and exacerbate global inequalities. From the evolution of health diplomacy to the presumptive efficacy of health security, this program seeks to build evidence-based research evaluating the effective intersection of health with global governance.

Projects include:

  • Preparedness and risk communication - infectious disease outbreak response
  • Health care as a peacekeeping measure - health care delivery in humanitarian emergencies, with a particular focus on peacekeeping operations
  • Health and human rights - international human rights law and health care delivery with a particular focus on gendered inequalities of health care and global health governance
  • Global health diplomacy – tracing the diplomatic and security affect on global health initiatives

The program examines a range of actors and regions where global health issues continue to pose challenges to equitable economic and political transformation.

Research partners include:

  • Gender Peace and Security Initiative, Monash University
  • Australian Centre for Health Law Research, QUT
  • Providing for Peacekeeping, International Peace Institute, New York

Program Leader: Professor Sara Davies


The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of our families, businesses, communities, and our Australian way of life. During this challenging time, Professor Sara Davies has contributed to research, media and commentary.  Here are some of her contributions:

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020


The global impact of COVID-19 on women’s wellbeing has been highlighted in a new UN Women report co-authored by Professor Sara Davies. Women’s access to education and health services has already been compromised by the pandemic, according to the report Spotlight on Gender, COVID-19 and the SDGs: Will the pandemic derail hard-won progress on gender equality? COVID-19 does not discriminate, but it’s spreading through societies that do.

This report showcases the latest evidence on the gendered impact of the pandemic, highlights potential and emerging trends, and reflects on the long-term impact of the crisis on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Follow the link below to the full report and the journal article discussing findings in Nature.

Read more here


The fields of global health and international relations are increasingly concerned with the responsibilities of nations to respond to disease outbreaks in a way that safeguards their neighbors as well as the broader international community. In Containing Contagion, Sara E. Davies focuses on one of the world's most pivotal (and riskiest) regions in the field of global health—Southeast Asia, which in recent years has responded to a wave of emerging and endemic infectious disease outbreaks ranging from Nipah, SARS, and avian flu to dengue and Japanese encephalitis.

Professor Sara Davies published this book in 2019.  It has such high relevance during this time of Covid-19.  She has recently spoken with  Nick Chessman from the Australian National University for the New Books Network.  Listen to their interview about the book and current issues around Covid-19 here.

Find out more here


Associate Professor Sara Davies recently participated as a panellist at the invitation-only Women in Global Health Breakfast hosted by the Governments of Australia and Finland, and held at University of Sydney.  The panel of experts in public health law and global health security examined whether the International Health Regulations are meeting their goal of protecting public health, international trade, and human rights, and whether the obligations in the IHR are sufficiently robust to respond to ever more complex health emergencies.  Associate Professor Davies also participated as a panelist and moderator at the Global Health Security 2019 Conference and on 19 June, Dr Davies presented Bringing Gender Analysis to Infectious Disease Response to the Conference.


According to the paper recently published in a special edition of The Lancet, feminist leadership is about much more than addressing gender quotas. Gender quotes do not go far enough when it comes to tackling Global Health inequalities. It includes both formal and informal cultural change, which is needed within institutions across global health governance.

The study highlights that gender bias is prevalent when it comes to global health since women predominantly occupy unpaid roles as caregivers and health workers.

Professor Sara Davies has co-authored the article Sophie Harman, Rashida Manjoo, Maria Tanyag and Clare Wenham.

Read the article here


Sara Davies contributed to the Griffith Asia Institute's 2018 publication State of the neighbourhood.  Writing on Why Health Diplomacy in the Asia Pacific Matters, Sara contributed to the publication offering fresh perspectives on the key issues affecting Australia and it's "neighbourhood".

Griffith Asia Institute's objective in publishing this collection is to share research insights, and encourage informed community debate on Australia's engagement in the Asia Pacific.

Read here


CGPP was delighted to host Queen Mary University of London Researcher, Dr Sophie Harman, as a Griffith Visiting Research Fellow in June 2018.  Dr Harman presented a Masterclass on Visual Method in Research and debuted her feature film, Pili .  The film is a fictional retelling of Tanzanian women's experience with HIV/AIDS, gender, and poverty.

Dr Harman is visiting with CGPP Associate Professor Dr Sara Davies, to conduct research on different forms of advocacy campaigns for sexual and reproductive rights at different levels of governance (national and international).

Research highlight

Associate Professor Sara Davies with colleague Associate Professor Simon Rushton (Sheffield University, UK) are writing a volume on the health impacts of peacekeeping missions (Routledge International Insights Series). The volume’s core argument is that the issues raised around peacekeeping and health are not merely technical or occupy a neutral humanitarian space - they are intensely political. Expanding on their report published by International Peace Institute (New York), the issues examined in their book will explore the range of moral, ethical and strategic issues around the proper role and mandate of missions that provide health care to troops and civilians.


The Global Health Governance project has researchers who have worked in research and consultancy projects with the government sector, international organisations, and civil society. If you would like to enquire about an existing or potential future project please email Professor Sara Davies.

Want to know more?

Get in touch with the Centre for Governance and Public Policy