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Sarah Jefferies

Dr Sarah Jefferies is a Public Health Physician in the Health Intelligence and Surveillance Group.


Sarah is a medical and research doctor who specialises in public health medicine. Originating from Scotland, she has a First Class Honours Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) from the University of Glasgow. She is now a Fellow of the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine (FNZCPHM), has a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with Distinction and a Doctor of Medicine (MD) research degree in infectious diseases.


Sarah specialises in national communicable disease surveillance and outbreak response. She provides expert public health strategic and technical advice including on national surveillance planning, risk assessment, epidemiological analyses and intelligence to inform decision making at national and local levels. Sarah has led numerous surveillance development activities and outbreak responses during her years with ESR. She is currently clinical lead across various portfolios including acute respiratory illnesses, international surveillance and emerging infectious diseases, and public health microbial genomic surveillance. Sarah has over a decade’s experience responding to infectious diseases in New Zealand and the Western Pacific Region. She spent some time working for the Pacific Community (SPC) in New Caledonia supporting the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network and continues to support this network at ESR. She is currently on the Executive Steering Group of the Asia-Pacific Pathogen Genomics Network, has been supporting the Western Pacific Regional Office of the WHO’s Emerging Molecular Pathogen Characterization Technologies Surveillance Network, as well as other international initiatives and national technical advisory groups. Sarah enjoys multi-disciplinary teamwork, partnership and collaboration with international, national and local science, policy, public health and Māori and Pacific leaders in her service work, teaching and research activities. She is currently also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow with University of Otago’s Department of Preventive and Social Medicine.