Dr Amy McLennan

Amy McLennan

Research Associate

CertIII(Fitness),  DipLang(Fr), BMedSci, BSc(Hons), MPhil, DPhil

Amy is a collaborator, a researcher and a facilitator. She combines thinking about the big picture with attention to fine-grained detail and nuance. Amy’s work is underpinned by the view that collaborative intersectoral and interdisciplinary approaches are key to understanding and addressing some of today’s major global health issues. Her background reflects this view; she has academic training in the biomedical sciences and social sciences, and professional experience in the academic, policy and private sectors.

Her academic research to date has broadly focused on food, nutrition and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases including obesity and diabetes. She has methodological expertise in qualitative approaches, including long-term ethnographic fieldwork, participant observation, narrative elicitation and analysis, life history interviewing, community consultations, biocultural approaches, and the investigation of historical material.

Amy completed an MPhil in Medical Anthropology and DPhil in Anthropology in Oxford, and then worked as a Postdoctoral Teaching and Research Assistant in Medical Anthropology. She continues to teach some medical anthropology and qualitative methods, and is involved in ongoing collaborative research with colleagues based in anatomy, network modelling, health policy and global health governance.

Amy currently works in the Australian Government as a Senior Analyst with the Project Office of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Amy has previously worked professionally as a project manager, and has managed projects for a range of government agencies, non-government organisations and private sector clients. Projects she has managed have included academic conferences, development assistance initiatives, international working visits and health services reviews.

She also has considerable experience in workshop facilitation, focus groups and community consultation. This has included: Pacific-Europe Network for Science, Technology and Innovation Think-Tanks (Think Tank 1 Facilitator, 2014), Review of the UN High-Level Panel Report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (Delegate and Working Group Facilitator, 2013), Global Social Leaders Programme (Facilitator, 2013), Joint Iraq-Australia Scoping Activity in Human Rights (Program Manager, 2007) and Health Technology Assessment International 3rd Annual Meeting (Program Manager, 2006).

Publications (selected)

(2016) Ulijaszek SJ & McLennan AK. Framing obesity in UK policy from the Blair years, 1997-2015: the persistence of individualistic approaches despite overwhelming evidence of societal and economic factors, and the need for collective responsibility. Obesity Reviews 17(5): 397-411.

(2016) Shaw V & McLennan AK. Was acupuncture developed by Han Dynasty Chinese anatomists? Anatomical Record 299(5): 643-659.

(2016) McLennan AK. Local food, imported food, and the failures of community gardening initiatives in Nauru. In: Wilson M (ed.) Alternative Food Networks in the Postcolonial World. London: Routledge.

(2016) Ulijaszek SJ, McLennan AK, Graff HM. Conceptualizing ecobiosocial interactions: lessons from obesity. In: Singer M (ed) A Companion to the Anthropology of Environmental Health. New York: Wiley Blackwell.

(2015) McLennan AK. Bringing everyday life into the study of ‘lifestyle diseases’. Lessons from an ethnographic investigation of obesity emergence in Nauru. Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford 7(3): 286-301.

(2015) McLennan AK & Ulijaszek SJ. Editorial: An anthropological insight into the Pacific Island obesity crisis and its clinical implications. Diabetes Management 5(3): 143-145.

(2014) McLennan AK & Ulijaszek SJ. Obesity emergence in the Pacific islands: why understanding colonial history and social change is important. Public Health Nutrition18(8): 1499–1505.

Chapters in edited volumes

(2014) McLennan AK, Ulijaszek SJ, Eli K. Social aspects of dietary sugars. In: Goran MI, Tappy L, Lê K-A (eds) Dietary Sugars and Health: From Biology to Policy. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis / CRC Press.

(2012) Locket NA, Norris RM & McLennan AK (eds). Locket’s 3D Anatomy Cutouts. Sydney: McGraw Hill.


At the University of Oxford, Amy has taught and supervised undergraduates in the Archaeology & Anthropology, Human Sciences and Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery degree programs. She has also taught and supervised graduates reading for the MSc in Medical Anthropology, and visiting students enrolled in US Liberal Arts degrees. Key topics include: Introduction to Anthropology; Introduction to Medical Anthropology; Anthropology of Food; Biocultural Approaches to ObesityHuman Ecology; and Food, Nutritional Anthropology and Global Health Governance.

Previously, she has also taught Human Biosciences for Nurses at Flinders University and the University of South Australia.

Awards and Scholarships (selected)

(2015) Higher Education Impact Fund grant, University of Oxford, UK
(2009) Monash Award, General Sir John Monash Foundation, Australia
(2007) Clarendon Award, University of Oxford, UK
(2003) RA Simpson International Travel Grant, Flinders University, Australia

List of site pages