The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Professor Benjamin Cowie

Professor Benjamin Cowie is an infectious diseases physician and epidemiologist, with appointments at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Doherty Institute. In addition, Ben serves as Acting Chief Health Officer in the Department of Health, Victoria. He is a Professorial Fellow in the Department of Infectious Diseases, Melbourne Medical School. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ben has supported the Victorian Government’s responses with a focus on community engagement, clinical care for people living with COVID-19, control of community transmission of infection, and in helping establish Victoria’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

  • Key Achievements
    • Ben has built a broad research agenda in the epidemiology and control of communicable diseases, with a focus on viral hepatitis. He has supervised a number of Masters and PhD students in this area and has been awarded substantial funding support for both research and innovative program development in relation to viral hepatitis. Ben has been involved in the development of healthy public policy in relation to viral hepatitis in Australia and internationally, and in 2015 was named the inaugural Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis at the Doherty Institute.

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    • The National Hepatitis B Mapping Project

      Conducted in partnership with ASHM, and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, the National Hepatitis B Mapping Project generates estimates of the number of Australians living with chronic hepatitis B at a national, state/territory, and local area level, and reports on uptake of diagnosis, monitoring and treatment for hepatitis B. These estimates, together with assessment of local priority populations affected by hepatitis B, allow policy makers, community agencies and clinicians to target appropriate responses to this chronic viral infection in their local area. For further details, see

    • Blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections surveillance and research program

      Surveillance for hepatitis B indicators

      3-year project, 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2019

      A key aspect of Australia’s National Hepatitis B Strategy 2014-2017 is the identification of specific measurable aims and targets, including increasing the proportion of people living with chronic hepatitis B who have been diagnosed, increasing treatment uptake, and reducing the burden of attributable morbidity and mortality. Measuring progress towards these objectives will allow for identification of priority areas for improvement, and assessment of progress over time in order to shape the public health and policy response to hepatitis B.  This project aims to develop disease burden estimation and mathematical modelling approaches to inform the surveillance, monitoring and evaluation of progress towards achieving the objectives of the Second National Hepatitis B Strategy 2014-2017. 

    • Liver Cancer Prevention

      Linking viral hepatitis diagnosis, treatment and outcomes

      Through health record linkage, combining notifications of viral hepatitis diagnosis, liver cancer diagnoses, hospitalisations, and deaths, as well as records of services provided through the Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits programs, this project will develop an accurate picture of the burden of viral hepatitis in Victoria, and measure the impact of care and treatment at a population level as a cancer prevention strategy. By examining the current level of access to care, and measuring the effectiveness of treatment received in preventing liver cancer, this research will guide clinical and public health policy and help address the increasing burden of liver cancer in Australia. 

    • Victorian Enhanced Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Project

      On behalf of and in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Enhanced Viral Hepatitis Surveillance Project aims to simplify the process of chronic hepatitis B and C notification in Victoria, to increase notification data completeness and improve and inform public health and policy responses. The project also aims to increase clinicians’ awareness and engagement regarding viral hepatitis, improving care and prevention access for those diagnosed, increase vaccine ordering and improving the ability to identify cases of chronic viral hepatitis with potential public health significance. 

    Research Groups

Full University of Melbourne profile