Skip to content

Honorary Emeritus Fellow


Clinical Associate Professor Deborah Lehmann is a medical practitioner and epidemiologist with expertise in acute respiratory infections, otitis media (OM), and Aboriginal health. Over 30 years she led multidisciplinary research teams in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and, since 1998, in Australia. 

When she came to the Institute, she initiated research in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area to address biological, environmental, and societal risk factors for OM, and has evaluated programs for prevention of OM in Aboriginal populations. In 2016, she established the Urban Aboriginal Ear Health Program in Perth. She has also investigated the epidemiology of respiratory tract infections through data linkage, and conducted upper respiratory carriage studies and invasive pneumococcal disease surveillance. Since living in Australia she has continued to collaborate with the PNG Institute of Medical Research, notably conducting two trials of pneumococcal conjugate and polysaccharide vaccines in infants and, most recently, determining the prevalence and aetiology of otitis media in children under the age of 15 years attending outpatient clinics in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province. She has published more than 160 journal articles, book chapters and reviews.

Deborah led the first NHMRC Capacity Building Grant in Population Health consisting entirely of Indigenous Team Investigators. Of the 10, 2 were post-doctoral and 5 completed their PhDs through this grant.

The Deborah Lehmann Research Award in Paediatric Infectious Disease Research was established in 2018 at the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases in recognition of her contribution to paediatric infectious disease research and capacity building of young researchers.  As Honorary Emeritus Fellow of the Institute she continues to mentor and support the Ear Health team and young researchers in Australia and PNG.