Dr Sarah Larkins is an academic general practitioner and Associate Dean, Research in the College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University.  Sarah has particular skills and experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research and health services and workforce research.  and is an internationally recognised expert in social accountability in health professional education. Sarah is also Co-Director of the Anton Breinl Research Centre for Health Systems Strengthening, a centre of the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine.

To date,Sarah has more than 51 published journal articles with 5 more in press, with industry reports, a book section and well over $2.8m in grant funding.  This includes two current NHMRC grants, investigating rural community participation in oral health service development and variations in quality improvement in Indigenous primary health care centres.  Sarah is also Chief Investigator D on a recently announced NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Integrated Quality Improvement in Indigenous  Primary Health Care. She currently supervises 14 students at HDR level (12 internal and 2 external) and 5 Honours students. 

Sarah's particular focus is on collaborating to improve equity in health care services for underserved populations, particularly rural, remote, Indigenous and tropical populations, and on training a health workforce with appropriate knowledge, attitudes and skills for this purpose.  She is a current Director, Townsville Mackay Medicare Local (TMML) and member of the National Technical Advisory Group for Health Workforce Australia and the World Health Organisation Technical Working Group on Health Workforce Education Assessment Tools.

  • HS5101: Primary Health Care Research (Level 5; TSV)
  • HS5102: Qualitative Research Methods for Health Professionals (Level 5; TSV)
  • HS5103: Independent Project in Primary Health Care Research (Minor Project) (Level 5; TSV)
  • HS5410: Health Professional Education using Action Research (Level 5; TSV)
  • Health systems strengthening
  • Rural health workforce
  • Socially accountable health professional education
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Primary health care
  • Maternal and child health
  • Research methods
  • General Practice
  • Sociology of health care and social determinants of health
  • 2014 to present - Associate Dean, Research, College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2012 to present - Director of Research and Postgraduate Education, School of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2011 to present - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2007 to present - General Practitioner, Health and Wellbeing North Ward (Townsville)
  • 2010 to 2012 - School of Medicine and Dentistry Honours coordinator, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2008 to 2010 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1998 to 2007 - General Practitioner, Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2013 - Office of Learning and Teaching National Program Award. JCU MBBS Program in the category "Widening Participation"
  • 2012 - Finalist, Ron Harden Innovation in Medical Education International Award – Presented for THEnet on development and piloting of the common evaluation framework
  • 2011 - Co-author of Australian Family Physician best research paper for 2011. Cheffins T, Spillman M, Larkins S Heal C (2011) “Recommending vaccination: General practice intervention with new parents” Australian Family Physician 40 (6) 437-439
  • 2003 - Royal Australian College of General Practitioners National Registrar Research Prize
  • 2003 - MBBS (Dean's Honour List)
  • 1989 - Bachelor of Medical Science Prize, University of Melbourne, BMedSci
  • 2009 to 2011 - 2009 Brisbane Initiative – 8 emerging Primary Health Care Research Leaders selected from around the world for 3 year program of mentoring and support with residential periods in Oxford, UK.
  • 2003 to 2007 - National Health and Medical Research Council Public Health Postgraduate PhD Scholarship
  • 2012 - Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors course
  • 2004 - FARGP
  • 2004 - Fellow, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • 2013 - Queensland Representative , Australian Association of Academic Primary Care Executive
  • 2012 - Health Workforce Australia, National Technical Advisory Group
  • 2003 to 2005 - National Research Advisory Board, Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute
  • 2013 - "Strength of Mind: 125 years of women in medicine". Invited to be one of 60 women graduates of University of Melbourne Medical School over the last 125 years featured in exhibition and book.
  • 2011 - Board Member, Townsville Mackay Medicare Local
  • 2008 - PhD
  • 2000 - MPH&TM

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores a total of 54 research outputs authored by Prof Sarah Larkins from 2003 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding is shown by funding source and project.

NHMRC - Partnerships Projects

Population Health Planning for Rural Medicare Locals: evaluating a community participation method for delivering outcomes

Indicative Funding
$209,673 over 3 years (administered by La Trobe University)
The study, in six communities, will evaluate whether an evidenced based method of rural community participation from the UK translates to assist healthcare planning by Medicare Locals. Medicare Locals must involve local people in designing services to improve health, but lack methods to do this. The focus of the study is oral health, a major issue in rural areas. The study evaluates whether new services are designed and implemented and whether there is a change to health knowledge and behaviours.
Jane Farmer, Sarah Larkins, Mark Gussy, Amanda Kenny, Felicity Croker, Andrea Silva-Sanigorski, Jacinta Elston and Virginia Dickson-Swift, with the help of Tracy Cheffins, Benedict Keith, Kate Silburn and Judy Taylor (La Trobe University, College of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Melbourne, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
primary care; health planning; consumer participation; Rural Health; Oral Health; Priority Setting; access to dental care; Workforce Policy; Evaluation Studies

NHMRC - Project Grant

Quality improvement in Aboriginal primary health care: lessons from the best to better the rest.

Indicative Funding
$598,580 over 3 years
High performing primary health care (PHC) services are essential to "close the gap" in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. Little previous research has investigated the contextual factors around a particular service that influence the success of quality improvement initiatives. We aim to transfer knowledge about the processes that facilitate the success of quality improvement initiatives in these services whilst building research and evaluation capacity in the services.
Sarah Larkins, Sandra Thompson, Jacinta Elston, Christine Connors and Komla Tsey, with the help of Dallas Leon, Elizabeth Moore, Jacqueline Ward, Ross Bailie, Ru Kwedza, Tania Patrao and Veronica Matthews (College of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Western Australia, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Department of Health (NT), Cairns Institute, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, Aboriginal Medical Service, Menzies School of Health Research and Queensland Health)
Quality improvement; Aboriginal Health; Primary care; Health services research; Chronic diseases

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Decision Making Processes for the Resuscitation of the Baby at the Verge of Viability. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Factors Affecting the Development of clinical Reasoning Skills in Junior Doctors. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Interns' Learning in the 21st Century. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • An investigation of harm reduction approaches to alcohol use in context of chonic disease management (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Investigation of ?menstruation knowledge? and ?attitudes towards menstruation:, and ?feeling of preparation for menarche? among early female adolescents in the rural and urban settings of Melanesian societies of Torres Strait island in Australia and Papua (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Planning the Right Care at the Right Time: Transitional Aged Care in Rural and Regional Australia. (Masters, Co-Advisor)
  • How do Contextual Issues Influence Socially Accountable Medical Schools?;; (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Exploring the Effectiveness and Sustainability, of a Systems Approach to Whole of Organisation Quality Management. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Effect of Topical Sodium Thiosulphate on Healing of Chronic Foot Ulcers in Patients with Diabetic Foot Syndrome: A Prospective, Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo Controlled Pilot Study. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Staff Turnovers of Remote Health Professionals: Impact and Community Perspectives. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Is There a Role for L-Arginine Supplementation in the Treatment of Diabetic Foot Ulcers in a North Queensland Community Diabetics Clinic? (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • What is the economic and social impacts of Monash University, School of Rural Health - Bairnsdale, on the East Gippsland Community - Victoria (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Shifting the Lens: Indigenous Research into Mainstream Australian Culture. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Birthing on Mornington Island: Culture, Identity and our Aspirations for the Future. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Access to Care and Benefits to Cancer Patients in Rural and Remote Locations Using Telemedicine.;; (PhD, Primary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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