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Tropical health systems

Research in the Tropical health systems theme focusses on strengthening and building health workforce and health systems, particularly in rural, remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Work in this area includes:

  • Health workforce development
  • Development of new models of healthcare delivery
  • Working with clinical partners to translate research findings into healthcare improvements
  • Capacity-building within underserved healthcare systems
  • Indigenous health
  • Occupational health and safety

Research Snapshots

Tropical Centre for Telehealth Practice and Research – connecting rural Queensland with health specialists

Professor Sabe Sabesan of Townsville Hospital and Health Service, Icon Cancer Care, JCU and AITHM is the architect of a Queensland tele trial model that is allowing rural and regional cancer patients access to clinical trials. In the past, drug companies have predominately targeted metropolitan areas to host clinical trials because the number of potential participants was much higher. By linking areas of North and Far North Queensland, Professor Sabesan has successfully increased the availability of suitable participants and  enabled innovative oncology trials to be conducted across North Queensland  communities. , Professor Sabesan’s work is ensuring that rural and regional communities are able to access and benefit from the significant progress that is occurring in the treatment of cancers, in the same way that their city counterparts benefit. .   

Professor Sabesan has developed and evaluated various teleoncology models of care to deliver rural cancer care closer to home including a tele-chemo model where clinicians in North and Far North Queensland supervise chemotherapy services via videolink that are delivered by nurses and local health professionals in Thursday Island, Cape York, Bowen and Ingham. Based on the success of this model, it has now been adopted by Queensland Health and rolled out across the State as the Queensland Remote Chemotherapy Supervision (QReCS) model.

Impact within the north Queensland health system – the Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre (TAAHC)

AITHM is set to serve as a research hub for the Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre (TAAHC) a new, unique and powerful research partnership between James Cook University,  the Northern Queensland Primary Health Network and five Queensland health authorities: Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Hinterland, North West, and Torres and Cape.

Spanning a vast tract of north Queensland, TAAHC will support the application and adoption of research knowledge within the health system, driving improvements for patients and efficiencies for service providers.

TAAHC’s clinical partners spend ~$2 billion a year to deliver health services to around one million people in north Queensland and have committed cash funding growing to $2.4m in 2020/21, and further funding into the future to support the extraordinary clinical research potential of the partnership.