Alex Macmillan

Tangata Tiriti Co-Director

Alex is a public health physician and works in the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago.

Her research is focused on identifying policies that address climate change while being te Tiriti compliant, equitable and also bringing benefits for other health and wellbeing outcomes. This includes epidemiological and modelling studies, and participatory systems thinking to support decision-making in urban planning, transport, housing and food systems. 

She has a particular interest in transforming urban transport for health, equity and sustainability and currently leads a world first equity-focused intervention study of suburban street changes for walking and cycling in Māngere: Te Ara Mua Future Streets.

She has brought a range of evidence together for policy advice as part of the Royal Society’s evidence summary on climate change and health, on the National Cycling Safety Panel, and as part of the Ministry for the Environment’s review panel for their work translating global planetary boundaries to Aotearoa.


Climate policy for healthy sustainable cities

Mixed methods research

System dynamics modelling

Integrating evidence to influence policy


Relevant recent publications:

Woodward A, Macmillan A. Chapter 2.8 The Environment and Climate Change. In Oxford Textbook of Global Public Health, 7th Edition. Oxford University Press

Jones, R., Macmillan, A., Reid, P. Climate Change Mitigation Policies and Co-Impacts on Indigenous Health: A Scoping Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9063.

Drew, J., Cleghorn, C., Macmillan, A., & Mizdrak, A. (2020). Healthy and climate-friendly eating patterns in the New Zealand context. Environmental Health Perspectives, 128(1), 017007. doi: 10.1289/ehp5996

Bennett, H., Macmillan, A., Jones, R., Blaiklock, A., & McMillan, J. (2020). Should health professionals participate in civil disobedience in response to the climate change health emergency? Lancet, 395(10220), 304-308. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(19)32985-x

Macmillan, A., Smith, M., Witten, K., Woodward, A., Hosking, J., Wild, K., & Field, A. (2020). Suburb-level changes for active transport to meet the SDGs: Causal theory and a New Zealand case study. Science of the Total Environment, 714, 136678. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136678

Harrison, S., Macmillan, A., & Rudd, C. (2020). Framing climate change and health: New Zealand’s online news media. Health Promotion International, 35, 1320-1330. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daz130

Macmillan, A., & Mackie, H. (2016). Optimising low carbon mobility for health and equity. In D. Hopkins & J. Higham (Eds.), Low carbon mobility transitions. Wolvercote, UK: Goodfellow. doi: 10.23912/978-1-910158-64-7-3272

Macmillan, A., Davies, M., Shrubsole, C., Luxford, N., May, N., Chiu, L. F., … Chalabi, Z. (2016). Integrated decision-making about housing, energy and wellbeing: A qualitative system dynamics model. Environmental Health, 15(Suppl. 1), 37. doi: 10.1186/s12940-016-0098-z