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Professor Sabe Sabesan – PhD Graduate

The delivery of improved health systems in rural and remote communities, specifi y in telehealth and the delivery of teleoncology, is the focus of research by Professor Sabe Sabesan. Professor Sabesan is a clinical oncologist who graduated with a PhD from JCU in 2015.

Professor Sabesan obtained his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree from Flinders University in 1995 and then completed his internship in Alice Springs Hospital during 1996, where he became an advocate for equitable and exceptional patient care regardless of where a person lives.

Following his internship, Professor Sabesan worked at the Royal North Shore Hospital and Royal Brisbane Hospitals before being appointed as a medical oncologist at The Townsville Hospital in 2004. Professor Sabesan developed a passion for telehealth and has subsequently pioneered the use of telemedicine at The Townsville Hospital to treat patients with cancer who live in remote and rural areas.

“Despite improvements in rural workforce in recent years, access to specialist services closer to home remains limited for many rural and Indigenous patients. I was keen to develop a model whereby patients could talk with their doctors via videoconference, rather than make a long journey to see a specialist at a hospital,” Professor Sabesan said.

Professor Sabesan has since established a large teleoncology network in northern Queensland and proven the relevance of teleoncology in routine practice, through evaluation and peer reviewed publications. Using evidence from his previous research, in collaboration with key clinicians in Queensland, he has led the development of an innovative remote chemotherapy supervision model, known as the Queensland Remote Chemotherapy Supervision model (QReCS), for state-wide implementation.

Nationally, he developed the Australian Teleoncology Guidelines in collaboration with clinicians around Australia on behalf of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia.

Additionally, Professor Sabesan led the development of The Tropical Centre for Telehealth Practice and Research. This partnership between The Townsville Hospital and Health Service (THHS), and AITHM continues to build on the important research being conducted in telehealth technology throughout northern Queensland.

“The Centre is the fi  of its kind in the health sector that brings together clinical service delivery and academia to lift the profile of the THHS and northern Queensland,” Professor Sabesan said.

Currently, Professor Sabesan is the program lead of the newly formed Tropical Centre for Telehealth Practice and Research, hosted by The Townsville Hospital which works closely with AITHM and the Anton Brienl Centre for Health Service Strengthening. He is also Chair of the Regional and Rural Group of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia.

Professor Sabesan is also the Director of the Department of Medical Oncology of The Townsville Cancer Centre, The Townsville Hospital, and the Clinical Dean of the Townsville Clinical School, and the Northern Clinical Training Network (NCTN), JCU and THHS in Townsville.

As a world leading oncology specialist, Professor Sabesan is an emerging researcher directly translating telehealth research outcomes into practice for the improvement of health care delivery in rural and remote regions in northern Australia.