Dr Ying Zhang

Dr Ying Zhang’s area of specialty is helping vulnerable populations in China and Australia to adapt to the challenge of climate change.

My research mainly focuses on the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events on the health of vulnerable populations, particularly the older population, and how to reduce the associated health burden by having a better adaptation. This work involves analyses of disease surveillance data and first-hand data collected from the individuals, communities and stakeholders through field research in Australia and China.

I chose to join the University of Sydney because it has the top-ranked public health program in Australia. My position is jointly appointed by the China Studies Centre and the School of Public Health. One of the main tasks of my position is to strengthen the link with China in public health research and education.

I am working with South Australian Department of Health, helping to translate my research findings into changes in health policy and practice. I am also working with colleagues in Chinese universities and China Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) for my field research in China.

Being part of the China Studies Centre provides a valuable platform for my work, as the centre aims to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaborations across the University and in the wider community. Nowadays, most research questions cannot be addressed by one single discipline. This is particularly true of climate change research, where it is necessary to work closely with scholars from other disciplines such as social science and environmental science.

A cross-disciplinary approach is equally important in education – as shown by the master’s degree program and PhD offered through the China Studies Centre. Higher education with a focus on research enquiries gives our students a cross-disciplinary horizon that will definitely benefit their future career development.

PhD programs like this are rare. It is expected that our PhD graduates will be able to critically review global issues related to China from various angles, which will put them into a better position to conduct relevant research that can be translated into real impacts.

As China rises to prominence in many key global issues, people may want to know more, and whoever knows more about China may understand the world better.

Dr Ying Zhang is a Member of the China Studies Centre Education Committee and a Lecturer in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney Medical School.