Michael Dibley is a Professor in Global Public Health Nutrition, at the School of Public Health, The University of Sydney. He is an established epidemiologist with a record of research extending back over the last 20 years. He has made research contributions that have examined the “double burden of under and over nutrition” found in many countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.
He has contributed over a fifteen-year period to research on micronutrient deficiencies in women and children and their effects on health. He has been a chief investigator on 5 large scale randomized controlled trials of micronutrient supplementation of women and children conducted or being conducted in Indonesia, India and China. His team’s findings have opened up new research horizons and established a new use for iron supplements in pregnancy, which gives interventions a much higher priority in efforts to reduce neonatal mortality around the world.
His research in Asia has also contributed to identifying the rapidly emerging childhood obesity epidemic in populations in East and Southeast Asia. It has also highlighted the many similarities in risk factors for childhood obesity in urban populations in Asia with those found in Australia.
His current research interests focus around different approaches to prevent child undernutrition through combining nutrition-specific interventions such as promotion of appropriate infant feeding, with broader interventions in other sectors including agriculture, water and sanitation and social safety networks.
Professor Dibley has been engaged with Indonesia since 1972 when he spent a year travelling across the country and informally studying Indonesia. In 1975 he participated in medical student exchange with the Department of Child Health, Faculty of Medicine at the Airlangga University, Surabaya, East Java. He visited Indonesia most years in the late 1970s and 80s, and returned to Indonesia to work as a Program Officer in Child Survival for the Ford Foundation in Jakarta in 1985. In 1989 he took up an appointment with the Division of Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, USA, but was located in Central Java on a collaborative research program as a visiting lecturer for 7 years at the University of Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta. He next worked full time in Indonesia in 2000 as the Project Team Leader for the Indonesia-Australia Women’s Health & Family Welfare Project, Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), in Jakarta, but with frequent travel to NTT and NTB provinces. Over the years he has worked professionally in Indonesia in many different provinces including Aceh, West Sumatra, South Sumatra, Java, Bali, NTB and NTT, South Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua.