Zohra Lassi

Associate Professor Zohra Lassi

NHMRC Ext-Funded Emerging Leader-2 Fellow D

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


I am a trained epidemiologist recognised internationally for my work identifying interventions for improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition in disadvantaged settings by advancing knowledge in public health practice and translation into global health policies and guidelines. I have published 200+ peer-reviewed papers, including Lancet, BMJ, BJOG, PLOS Medicine, and 10 Cochrane reviews. In addition, I am the author of 11 book chapters and several research/technical reports. I completed my PhD in late 2015 and have worked in perinatal research for more than 10 years. My research has contributed significantly to global maternal and newborn policies, and the significance of my work has resulted in several invited presentations at international meetings as well. Currently, I am a mid-career researcher and Associate Professor affiliated with the Robinson Research Institute of the University of Adelaide and the School of Public Health at the Faculty of Health and Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

I have made sustained contributions to Cochrane as an author, referee, and trainer. I am a current Feedback Editor for the Acute Respiratory Infections Group. In 2011, I was awarded the prestigious international Kenneth Warren Prize from Cochrane for preparing a very high-quality systematic review. My expertise in evidence synthesis has also been recognised through invited membership of five separate Lancet Intervention Review Groups (Child Health Optimising (0-19) Series 2021, Maternal and Child Undernutrition Series 2021, Every Newborn Series 2014, Maternal and Child Nutrition Series 2013, Diarrhoea and Pneumonia Series 2013) and subsequent publications. In addition, I have been appointed as a Technical Advisor to the WHO on three occasions.

My research interests include reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition, particularly in marginalised and low-resource settings. I have a special interest in research synthesis, scaling up evidence-based interventions in community settings, and implementation research in health system research. In particular, my work with community health workers and outreach services has contributed significantly to global integrated maternal and newborn outreach policies and guidelines. My group’s work with the WHO and PMNCH in developing consensus-based essential interventions for women, children, and adolescents is the dominant set of agreed interventions guiding global policy.

My Research

My research ambitions are to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition in low and middle income countries. My research interests include research synthesis, scaling up evidence based interventions in community settings, and implementation research in health system contexts. My work in community health workers has influenced global health policies and programs for disadvantaged population particularly in low and middle income countries.

I am currently involved in a wide variety of studies including:

  • Devising a clinical audit tool to capture local needs and capabilities regarding adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Uganda
  • Understanding health and wellbeing among Young Aboriginal Population in South Australia
  • Food insecurity among children and young adolescents attending South Australian School
  • Pregnancy, maternal and child health in a socially disadvantaged population
  • Pre and Peri-concpetion health interventions to improve maternal and child health in LMICs
  • Strategies to improve IYCF practices in LMICs
  • Nutritional interventions in pregnancy to improve pregnancy, maternal and child health in LMICs
  • Interventions to optimise children and adolescent health (0-19 years)
  • CVD risk in offspring born after complicated pregnancies
  • CVD risk in mothers with complicated pregnancies 
  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2023 - 2026 Honorary Principal Fellow Burnet Institute
    2018 - ongoing NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow University of Adelaide, Adelaide
    2017 - 2018 University Beacon Research Fellow University of Adelaide
    2016 - 2017 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Global Health University of Adelaide
    2015 - 2016 Research Officer South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
    2012 - 2015 Research Fellow University of Adelaide
    2011 - 2016 Senior Instructor Research Aga Khan University
    2008 - 2010 Research Fellow Aga Khan University
    2005 - 2006 Clinical Nurse Instructor Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi
    2002 - 2005 Registered Nurse Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2023 Award 2022 Executive Dean Award University of Adelaide Australia -
    2022 Award 2022 South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Award Australian Institute of Policy and Science Australia -
    2022 Award Robinson Research Institute Career Development Award University of Adelaide Australia -
    2021 Award RRI Director Award Robinson Research Institute Australia -
    2021 Achievement Finalist of 2021 University for Outstanding Achievement University of Adelaide Australia -
    2021 Award 2021 Women’s Excellence in Research Healthy Development Adelaide Australia -
    2021 Award 2021 Episteme Laureate Sigma Nursing United States -
    2021 Award 2020 Executive Dean Award University of Adelaide Australia -
    2021 Award 2021 Publication Excellence Award Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide Australia -
    2019 Award Finalist - Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Outstanding Achievement University of Adelaide Australia -
    2019 Recognition Scopus list of Top 2% of the World Scientists Scopus United States -
    2018 Fellowship NHMRC Early Career Fellowship University of Adelaide Australia -
    2017 Award Executive Award for Research Excellence (Early Career) University of Adelaide Australia -
    2017 Fellowship University Beacon Fellowship The University of Adelaide Australia -
    2016 Award Women's Research Excellence Award University of Adelaide Australia 5000
    2016 Fellowship Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Global Health Robinson Research Institute, the University of Adelaide Australia -
    2011 Award Kenneth Warren Prize for the Best Systematic Review The Cochrane Collaboration Spain 1000 USD
  • Language Competencies

    Language Competency
    English Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
    Hindi Can speak and understand spoken
    Urdu Can read, write, speak, understand spoken and peer review
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2012 - 2015 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
    2006 - 2008 Aga Khan University Pakistan MSc Epi and Bio
    2003 - 2005 Institute of Business Management Pakistan MHM
    1998 - 2002 Aga Khan University Pakistan BScN
  • Research Interests

Research Grants

Date

Project

Role

Funding Body

Amount

2023

Establishing a multi-site collaborative team to identify Research Priorities in the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescents and Young People (15-24) from Refugee and Migrant Backgrounds

CIA

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (Adelaide Medical School) Early Grant Development Award

A$22,500

2022

Climate Change and RMNCAH (Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health): An Evidence Gap Map Exercise

CIB

The Worldwide Universities Network – Research Development Fund

GBP 10,000

2022

Artificial Sweeteners among Women of Reproductive Ages

CIA

Healthy Societies FAME Strategy Internal Grant

A$20,000

2022

Preconception Care Interventions for Adolescents and Young Women – an Evidence Gap Map

CIA

CRE HIPP (Health in Preconception and Pregnancy) Early and Mid-Career Researcher (EMCR) Small Grant Scheme

A$10,000

2022

Building formal financial and health numeracy among poor women in Northern Pakistan

 CIB

Funds for Innovation and Transformation

C$174,956

2022

Wider impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of pregnant and parenting youth and their children in Canada

CIF

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Operating Grant

C$308,500

2022

Effectiveness of digital knowledge translation tools for improving sexual and reproductive health in adolescents: The Evidence Gap-Map exercise

CIB

University of Alberta Endowment Fund for the Future: Support for the Advancement of Scholarship (EFF-SAS) Research Funds

C$10,000

2022

All for one: exploring strategies to enhance stakeholder involvement in participatory research to maximize gains in adolescent health

CIA

RRI Engaging Opportunities Funding Program

A$12,330

         

2021

Partnering with communities and health care providers in high-priority areas for expanded COVID-19 vaccine uptake

CIF

Wellbeing SA, Government of South Australia

A$49,520

2021

Systematic Reviews on the Impact of Family Planning on Women’s Health and Socioeconomic-Status. Does family planning use empower and strengthen the agency of adolescents and young women?

CIA

World Health Organisation

U$40,156.16

2021

Improving the adolescent sexual and reproductive health

CIA

University of Adelaide - Future Making Fellowship

A$473,769.53

2021

Addressing the evidence gaps to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health

CIA

National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Investigator Grant (Emerging Leader 2)

A$1,560,435.77

2021

Systematic review on community based interventions for prevention of wasting in children under five

CIA

World Health Organization

U$28,320

2021

Systematic review on population based interventions for prevention of wasting in children under five

CIB

World Health Organisation

U$29,950

2020

Rapid review on the multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporarily associated with COVID-19

CID

World Health Organization

 U$150,000

2020

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Adolescents’ Sexual and Reproductive Health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

CIB

The Worldwide Universities Network – Research Development Fund

GBP10,000

2020

Systematic Reviews on call for authors for the scoping review on the prevention and treatment of wasting in infants and children: Prevention of wasting in infants and children?

CIC

World Health Organization

U$5,443

2020

Systematic Reviews on Feeding of Infants and Young Children 6-23 months of age: more frequent or more varied consumption of animal source foods

CIB

World Health Organization

U$21,261

2020

Systematic Reviews on Feeding of Infants and Young Children 6-23 months of age: complementary feeding at 6 months of age, compared to the earlier or later introduction

CID

World Health Organization

U$27,707

2020

COVID-19 in Mental Health and Substance Use: Mental Health and substance use among children and adolescents amidst COVID-19 – a systematic review

CIB

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Grant on Knowledge Synthesis

C$46,886

2019

Empowering girls through the Girls’ Voices Curriculum in Pakistan

CIB

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Grant on Institute of Population and Public Health – Women Deliver

C$20,000

2019

Interventions and strategies to improve sexual and reproductive health outcomes of adolescents living in low and middle-income countries: a systematic review

CIB

Killam Research Fund: Research Operating Grant – University of Alberta

C$6,000

2018

Pregnancy, maternal and child health in a socially disadvantaged population

CIB

RRI Investment for Success – University of Adelaide

A$30,000

2018

Identifying new ways to promote shared responsibility for reproductive health in Aboriginal communities

CIC

RRI Engaging Opportunities Program – University of Adelaide

A$9,932

2018

Devising a clinical audit tool to capture local needs and capabilities regarding adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) in the Katakwi District of Uganda

CIA

RRI Innovation Seed Grant – University of Adelaide

A$25,000

2018

Identifying opportunities to improve healthy behaviours in vulnerable young people

CIA

2018 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship

A$318,768

2017

Designing a high-quality evaluative research plan for BKFA community development project in Uganda

CIA

RRI Engaging Opportunities Program – University of Adelaide

A$8,655

2017

Effectiveness of a post-partum intervention to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease after pregnancy complications

CIC

RRI Innovation Seed Grant – University of Adelaide

A$25,000

2017

Improving health and nutritional practices of adolescents living in disadvantaged population

CIA

University of Adelaide – Beacon Research Fellowship Scheme

A$112,748.13

2016

Systematic reviews for the WHO guidelines on health policy and system support to optimize community health worker programs

CIF

World Health Organization

A$249,698

2016

Meta-analysis and systematic review, comparing a broad range of treatment and birth outcomes for PCOS and non-PCOS women who undertake Assisted Reproductive Technology

CIA

Centre for Research Excellence in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Project Support Grant

A$12,500

2016

Exploring knowledge and understandings of Preconception Health among Young Aboriginal Women in South Australia

CIA

RRI Innovation Seed Grant – University of Adelaide

A$16,850

2016

Developing a tool to assess experiences of food insecurity among tweens and teens living in disadvantaged communities in Adelaide

CIA

Interdisciplinary Research Funds – University of Adelaide

A$20,033

2016

Evaluation of BKFA (Birthing Kit Foundation Australia) birthing kits effectiveness and impact in improving outcomes for women and babies in developing countries

CIB

RRI Engaging Opportunities Program – University of Adelaide

A$3,600

2016

Global Adolescent Health and Nutritio

Zohra Lassi (CIA)

RRI Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Global Health – University of Adelaide

A$99,755.16

2011 Nutrition interventions and programs for reducing maternal mortality and morbidity: a systematic review CID 3ie/AusAID A$80,000

2008

Behavioral problems among children living in orphanage facilities of Karachi, Pakistan: comparison of children in an SOS village with conventional orphanages

CIA

Aga Khan University (AKU) University Research Committee (URC) Grant

U$1,263

2007

Behavioral problems among children living in orphanage facilities of Karachi, Pakistan: comparison of children in an SOS village with conventional orphanages

CIA

Aga Khan University (AKU) Masters in Science Degree Grant

U$1,000

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Principal Supervisor Sexual dysfunction in women from migrant and refugee backgrounds Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Negin Mirzaei Damabi
    2024 Principal Supervisor Prevalence and factors associated with the use of artificial sweeteners in non-pregnant non-lactating women aged 15 - 49 years Master of Philosophy (Public Health) Master Part Time Ms Saima Shaukat Ali
    2023 Co-Supervisor Integration of family planning into Maternal and Child Health services Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Farina Gul
    2023 Principal Supervisor Understanding the sexual and reproductive health needs of men from migrant and/or refugee backgrounds in Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Patience Elizabeth Castleton
    2023 Principal Supervisor Preconception Interventions and Risk Factors Among Adolescents and Young Adults Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Zahra Ali Padhani
    2022 Co-Supervisor Prenatal artificial sweeteners consumption and maternal and child health outcome Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Bereket Gebremichael Menota
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Exploring the relationships between periodontitis, oral human papillomavirus and social factors and their impact on oral health status in Indigenous South Australians Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Anna Ali
    2018 - 2022 Co-Supervisor Beyond risk and restraint: promoting positive interpersonal relationships to support adolescent sexual health and wellbeing Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Sophie Grace Elisabeth Kedzior
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Risk factors for cardiovascular disease among those born preterm-systematic review and meta analysis The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Other Full Time Gemma Collett
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Risk factors for cardiovascular disease among those born preterm-systematic review and meta analysis The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Other Full Time Bradley Condon
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Risk factors for cardiovascular disease among those born preterm-systematic review and meta analysis The University of Adelaide Bachelor of Health and Medical Sciences Other Full Time Stefania Gentilcore
    2017 - 2017 Other Adherence and impact of home fortification with vitamins and minerals in anemia and vitamin A and iron deficiency in one-year-old children assisted in basic health units of Rio Branco, Western Brazilian Amazon University of São Paulo, Brazil Doctoral Exchange Program Doctorate - Ms. Cristieli S. de Menezes Oliveira
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2013 - 2015 Member Kenneth Warren Prize Selection Committee Cochrane Collaboration United Kingdom
    2010 - 2012 Co-Chair Research/Scholarship Committee Memeber Aga Khan University Pakistan
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2023 - ongoing Member World Health Organization Think Tank: Family Planning Switzerland
    2022 - ongoing Member Women in Global Health Australia
    2022 - ongoing Member STEM Women Global Network Australia
    2022 - ongoing Member The Health in Preconception, Pregnancy, and Postpartum Early- and Mid-Career Researcher Collective Australia
    2021 - ongoing Member International Society for Global Health United Kingdom
    2020 - ongoing Member Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research United States
    2018 - ongoing Member Reproductive Health Australia Australia
    2018 - ongoing Member Guidelines International Network United Kingdom
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2016 - 2016 World Health Organization Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health Health services and related Switzerland
    2012 - 2012 World Health ORganization Global Health Workforce Alliance Health services and related Switzerland
    2011 - 2011 World Health Organization Global Health Workforce Alliance Health services and related Switzerland
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2021 - ongoing Associate Editor PLOS Global Public Health Public Library of Science United States
    2020 - ongoing Associate Editor International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute Switzerland
    2019 - ongoing Consulting Editor BMC Public Health BioMed Central United Kingdom
    2019 - ongoing Consulting Editor Reproductive Health BioMed Central United Kingdom
  • Presentation

    Date Topic Presented at Institution Country
    2017 - 2017 Adolescent and maternal nutrition: evidence from reviews - Saving Newborn Lives Global Meeting Indonesia
    2017 - 2017 Effectiveness of Community health worker’s strategies for delivering community-based MNCH health interventions - International Community Health Conference South Africa
    2016 - 2016 3. Current gaps in adolescent nutrition guidelines - Robinson Research Institute Australia
    2013 - 2013 4. Obesity, pre-diabetes and diabetes in adolescents and young adults- evidence based interventions - 80th Nestle Nutrition Institute Workshop Series Indonesia
    2011 - 2011 5. Lady Health Workers: Pakistan's flagship CHW program - First International Conference on Community Health Rwanda
    2011 - 2011 6. Effectiveness of community-based interventions for MNCH: a Cochrane review - First International Conference on Community Health Rwanda
  • Review, Assessment, Editorial and Advice

    Date Title Type Institution Country
    2019 - ongoing Peer Reviewer for NHMRC Investigator Grant Scheme Grant Assessment NHMRC -
    2018 - ongoing Section Editor: Adolescent Health Editorial BMC Reproductive Health -
    2018 - ongoing Voluntary Research Mentorship Advice Aga Khan University Karachi Pakistan
    2018 - ongoing Associate Editor Editorial International Health -
    2018 - ongoing Associate Editor Editorial BMC Systematic Reviews -
    2017 - ongoing DOHaD ANZ Conferences Conference Review Development Origins of Health and Diseases -
    2016 - ongoing MRC Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment Medical Research Council -
    2016 - 2016 NHMRC Project Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment National Health and Medical Research Council -
    2015 - ongoing Feedback Editor: Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group Editorial Cochrane Collaboation -
    2013 - ongoing PASANZ Annual Scientific Conference Conference Review Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand Australia
  • Position: NHMRC Ext-Funded Emerging Leader-2 Fellow D
  • Phone: 83139266
  • Email: zohra.lassi@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: 44-60 Rundle Mall - Rundle Mall Plaza, floor Level Four
  • Org Unit: School of Public Health

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