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Robyn Whittaker

(New Zealand) Programme Leader, Health Informatics & Technology National Institute for Health Innovation University of Auckland School of Population Health Public Health Physician Research & Innovation Waitemata District Health Board

Harkness Project Title: Changing the Course: The Future of Mobile Health Information Technology Initiatives

Placement: Health Resources and Services Administration

Mentors: Kyu Rhee, M.D., FAAP, FACP, Chief Public Health Officer, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Biography at time of Harkness Fellowship: Robyn Whittaker, M.B.Ch.B., a 2010-11 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice, is a public health physician and program leader of health technology research at the Clinical Trials Research Unit, University of Auckland. Whittaker's research focuses on using information technology to deliver population health interventions, with particular interest in mobile health. She is author of 25 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and is recipient of the Community Health Prize and the John Macleod Prize in Public Health, both from the University of Auckland. Whittaker is a fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and of the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine, and holds an M.P.H. and M.B.Ch.B. from the University of Auckland.

Project: Whittaker examined whether and how new mobile technological solutions can improve access to health care, make services more available and accessible to those most in need, and are likely to reduce health inequalities. She undertook an analysis of the current mHealth initiative text4baby, a national health information program provided free to pregnant women and new mothers for the first year of their baby’s life. Key informant interviews were also undertaken with stakeholders in mHealth in the U.S.

Career Activity since Fellowship

Current positions: (updated 7/2017)

  • Honorary Associate Professor and Programme Leader for Health Informatics & Technology, National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland
  • Public Health Physician Research & Innovation, Waitemata District Health Board 

Email: [email protected]

Harkness-Related Publications

Chow CK, Redfern J, Hillis GS, Thakkar J, Santo K, Hackett ML, Jan S, Graves N, de Keizer L, Barry T, Bompoint S, Stepien S, Whittaker R, Rodgers A, Thiagalingam A. “Effect of Lifestyle-Focused Text Messaging on Risk Factor Modification in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA. 2015 

Pfaeffli D, Dobson R, Whittaker R, Maddison R. The effectiveness of mobile-health behaviour change interventions for cardiovascular disease self-management: A systematic review." Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2015.

Sharpe S, Shepherd M, Kool B, Whittaker R, Nosa V, Dorey E, Galea S, Reid P, Ameratunga S. “Development of a text message intervention aimed at reducing alcohol-related harm in patients admitted to hospital as a result of injury,” BMC Public Health. 2015

Munro A, Whittaker R. “The San Francisco Syncope Rule performs well in a regional rural emergency department in New Zealand.” New Zealand Medical Journal. 2013.

Whittaker R, Dorey E, Bramley D, Bullen C, Denny S, Elley CR, Maddison R, McRobbie H, Parag V, Rodgers A, Salmon P. A theory-based video messaging mobile phone intervention for smoking cessation: randomized controlled trial. J Med Internet Res. 2011.

Whittaker R, van’t Land, H. “Going Mobile: Integrating Texting and Online Tools into Health Care Delivery.” The Commonwealth Fund Blog. December 14, 2011.