AITHM James Cook University

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AITHM research plays a key role in addressing TB incursions from PNG into northern Australia, and preventing TB outbreaks in Cape York and the Torres Strait, enhancing Australia’s biosecurity.  Led by Professor Emma McBryde, key collaborations with Queensland Health and Cape York and Torres Strait Islander communities enable the delivery of research and clinical services. Appointed as the lead physician for the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service TB Program, Professor McBryde plays a key role in preventing TB outbreaks in the region.

Professor McBryde supervises PhD student J’Belle Foster, Queensland Health’s senior TB nurse. Professor McBryde and Ms Foster have established health services, Primary Health Networks and hospital research programmes involving contact tracing, cluster identification and latent TB screening in the Cape and Torres Strait.

These programs have strong community support and are already having an impact on TB policy for the region.  They provide a mechanism for data collection and research into epidemiology and evidence for this national priority area.  From this research work, risk factors for TB clusters will be identified. TB control program management will also be analysed to examine delivery of the TB control program prior to, and after the transition from, centralised to decentralised care which happened on 1 January 2016. Cost-effectiveness and efficiencies of service will be examined, including time to diagnosis, time to treatment and time to contact tracing and prevention therapy.