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

      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 (CHB) who have been diagnosed, increasing treatment uptake in those affected, and reducing the burden of attributable morbidity and mortality associated with the disease.

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    • Liver cancer prevention: linking viral hepatitis diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes

      This data linkage project examines the burden of viral hepatitis and associated adverse outcomes in Victoria, and the uptake and effectiveness of interventions such as antiviral treatment and liver cancer surveillance of reducing the impact of these infections.

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    • 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
    • Cowie Group

      Ben’s group focuses on viral hepatitis epidemiological research. The team undertakes a broad range of activities supporting local, national and global control of viral hepatitis, through surveillance, treatment and prevention initiatives, and training and regional capacity building. 

      Lab Team

      Cowie Group

Full University of Melbourne profile