Polly Wallace

BA (UC), M.App.Epi. (ANU)
PhD Candidate


Polly is interested in humanitarian work in developing countries and outbreak preparedness and response in emergencies. Prior to commencing her PhD Polly worked in developing countries as an epidemiologist/International Health Regulations officer with WHO (including 2 years in Liberia as part of the Ebola outbreak response). She contributed to Australia’s COVID-19 response as an epidemiologist based at the Australian Department of Health, with Aspen Medical’s Advisory team, and with WHO. Her many years working with national and international emergency preparedness and response, and her Masters in Applied Epidemiology (ANU), provide the foundation for her PhD interest.

The aim of her PhD is to provide evidence to increase and sustain community engagement in developing and delivering community-based interventions to improve social and health outcomes in low-middle income countries. She undertook field work in Sri Lanka where she worked with partners, stakeholders and the local community to develop and implement a community-based intervention to address intimate partner violence and substance misuse among families attending government pre-schools in poor areas.


Research interests

  • Community engagement in developing countries
  • Community based participatory research
  • Social And Cultural Anthropology
  • Applied epidemiology
  • Public Health surveillance
  • Infectious diseases and outbreak response
  • Pandemic preparedness and response


Bezbaruah S, Wallace P, Zakoji M, Padmini Perera WL, Kato M. Roles of community health workers in advancing health security and resilient health systems: emerging lessons from the COVID-19 response in the South-East Asia Region. WHO South-East Asia J Public Health[serial online] 2021; 10, Suppl S1:41-8.

Ahmed K, Bukhari MA, Mlanda T, Kimenyi JP, Wallace P, Okot Lukoya C, Hamblion EL, Impouma B. Novel Approach to Support Rapid Data Collection, Management, and Visualization During the COVID-19 Outbreak Response in the World Health Organization African Region: Development of a Data Summarization and Visualization Tool JMIR Public Health Surveill 2020;6(4):e20355. doi: 10.2196/20355

Lokuge, K., Wallace, P., Subasinghe, K. et al. Protocol for a cluster-randomised controlled trial evaluating the impact of a preschool-based capacity building intervention on intimate partner violence and substance misuse in Sri Lanka. BMC Public Health 18, 572 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-5423-8

Wallace, P., Kirk, M. D., Munnoch, S. A., Gunn, J., Stafford, R. J., & Kelly, P. M. (2010). An Outbreak of “Salmonella” Litchfield on a Car Rally, Northern Territory, 2009. Communicable Diseases Intelligence Quarterly Report, 34(2), 124–126.