Stephen Leeder is a professor of public health and community medicine at the University of Sydney and Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy. He has a long history of involvement in public health research, educational development and policy. His research interests as a clinical epidemiologist have been mainly asthma and cardiovascular disease. His interest in public health was stimulated by spending 1968 in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Professor Leeder graduated in medical science from the University of Sydney in 1962, in medicine in 1966 and as a Doctor of Philosophy in 1974. He was Dean of the Medical Faculty at the University of Sydney between 1996 and 2002 during which time he oversaw the implementation of a new graduate educational program and the formation of an extensive rural education network for medical students. He has also served on the Senate of the University of Sydney for several terms, had two double terms as national president of the Public Health Association, and one triennium as chair of the Health Advisory Committee of NHMRC.

Professor Leeder was the Foundation Professor of Community Medicine at the University of Newcastle (1977-1985) and played a major role in the development of the innovative medical curriculum. He was also the Foundation Director of the Asian and Pacific Centre for Clinical Epidemiology. The Rockefeller Foundation awarded a grant to the University of Newcastle for the establishment of the Centre as part of the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN) to develop clinical epidemiologists in the Asian and Pacific Region.

In 2003-04, Professor Leeder worked at Columbia University, New York, in the Earth Institute and Mailman School of Public Health, developing a substantial report, based on research data and scientific interpretation, of the economic consequences of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in developing economies. The report, A Race against Time: the challenge of cardiovascular disease in developing economies, concentrated upon the macroeconomic consequences of CVD, and especially on the fact that one-third of CVD deaths in many developing countries were occurring among people of working age.