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Robyn Whittaker - Keynote Speaker
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Reducing health inequalities with mobile phones

Dr Robyn Whittaker will discuss some of the exciting advances in mobile communications technologies that may help to improve access and thereby reduce inequalities in health outcomes. She will also present some of her own research in mHealth (mobile health) involving the development of health interventions that are delivered directly to people via their mobile phones. These include behaviour change programmes (e.g. smoking cessation, depression, alcohol), health information programmes (for pregnant women and families with young children) and self-management support for people with long-term conditions (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular disease).



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Dr Robyn Whittaker is a Public Health Physician currently leading the innovation stream within a newly established Institute for Innovation and Improvement at Waitemata District Health Board. She leads the Leapfrog Programme of enterprise wide strategic projects, partnerships with industry and academic institutions (such as the Precision Driven Health research partnership), and a Centre for Health IT & Creative Design that works with DHB staff to develop and trial new things.


Robyn is also an Associate Professor at the National Institute for Health Innovation, University of Auckland, where she co-leads the Health Informatics and Technology research team. Her research interests are in mHealth (mobile health) – particularly designing and trialling interventions to be delivered to people via their mobile phones. These include health behaviour change interventions, such as TextMATCH  health information for pregnant women and families with young children to encourage healthy diet and physical activity, and self-management programmes for long term conditions, such as SMS4BG self-management support for people with poorly controlled diabetes.


Robyn contributes to several national and international groups including the World Health Organisation/ International Telecommunications Union’s Informal Expert Groups for the ‘Be Healthy Be Mobile’ global initiative, the NZ Telehealth Forum Leadership Group, the board of the NZ Health Innovation Hub, the management team of the MedTech Centre of Research Excellence, the editorial board for JMIR mHealth & uHealth, and is a consultant on several international research projects. She was a NZ Harkness Fellow in 2010/11 during which time she was an invited expert on the Secretary of Health & Human Services’ Text4Health Advisory Committee.


Dr. Robyn Whittaker

Public Health Physician - Research & Innovation,

Waitemata District Health Board (NZ)

HiNZ, PO Box 300125, Albany, Auckland 0752, New Zealand.

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