About

Dr Sarah Larkins is an academic general practitioner, Associate Professor in General Practice and Rural Medicine and Director of Research and Postgraduate Education in the College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University.  She has particular skills and experience in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research and health services and workforce research.  She is also Co-Director of the Anton Breinl Research Centre for Health Systems Strengthening.

To date,Sarah has more than 46 published journal articles, 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.  She currently supervises 16 students at Doctoral level (14 internal and 2 external) and 5 Honours students.  Methodologically her strengths are in the use of participatory/action research methodologies and mixed methods to design, implement and evaluate new programs or health services. 

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.

Teaching
  • HS5101: Contemporary Issues in 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)
  • HS5106: Planning and Evaluation for Primary Health Care (Level 5; TSV)
  • HS5410: Health Professional Education using Action Research (Level 5; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Health systems strengthening
  • Rural health workforce
  • Socially accountable health professional education
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Primary health care
  • Maternal and child health
Teaching
  • Research methods
  • General Practice
  • Sociology of health care and social determinants of health
Experience
  • 2011 to present - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2007 to present - General Practitioner, Health and Wellbeing North Ward (Townsville)
  • 2008 to 2010 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1998 to 2007 - General Practitioner, Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Honours
Awards
  • 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
Fellowships
  • 2012 - Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors course
  • 2004 - FARGP
  • 2004 - Fellow, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Memberships
  • 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
Other
  • 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
Publications

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
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores a total of 51 research outputs authored by A/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)
Summary
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.
Investigators
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)
Keywords
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
Summary
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.
Investigators
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)
Keywords
Quality improvement; Aboriginal Health; Primary care; Health services research; Chronic diseases

Townsville - Mackay Medicare Local - Tender

Evaluation of TMML after-hours known gaps project on Magnetic Island

Indicative Funding
$21,331
Summary
A project team from James Cook University School of Medicine and Dentistry will complete an evaluation of a project aimed at addressing known gaps in the provision of after-hours medical care on Magnetic Island. Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local (TMML), Queensland Health (QH) and Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) are partners in this project that comprises a number of interventions aimed at decreasing unnecessary and/or inappropriate after-hours call-outs by the QH medical officer, nurse or QAS officer. The evaluation will consider the effectiveness and appropriateness of these interventions for Magnetic Island residents and health professionals involved.
Investigators
Rebecca Evans, Suzanne McKenzie, Sarah Larkins and Karen Johnston (College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Keywords
After-hours; Health Care

Health Workforce Australia - Contract Research

HWA Regional Health Workforce Planning in North Queensland

Indicative Funding
$72,000 over 2 years
Summary
In parallel with HWA's aggregate workforce planning methods the proposed research will use a geographically bounded area including a regional centre (Cairns) and two small rural communities in North Queensland (Mareeba and Yarrabah) to develop a demonstration model of primary health workforce planning. The special focus will be on creating a flexible and sustainable rural health workforce plan that responds to community needs. Consideration will be given to successful existing models of care and how technological innovations in health service delivery can be used in a rural and remote context. The work will build on the existing partnerships between Cairns and hinterland Health Services (CHHSD), James Cook University (JCU), the Northern Clinical Training Network (NCTN), Medicare locals, private providers and community organisations.
Investigators
Sarah Larkins, Neil Beaton, Jane Mills, Richard Murray, A Panzera and Rebecca Stewart, with the help of Donna Goodman, T Grobbelaar, Geraldine MacCarrick and J Rogers (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Queensland Health and College of Healthcare Sciences)
Keywords
Health Workforce; Health services research; Workforce Planning; Health Professional Educators; Rural & Remote Health
Supervision

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.

Current
  • 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)
  • Access to Care and Benefits to Cancer Patients in Rural and Remote Locations Using Telemedicine.;; (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • An investigation of harm reduction approaches to alcohol use in context of chonic disease management (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Exploring the Effectiveness and Sustainability, of a Systems Approach to Whole of Organisation Quality Management. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Decision Making Processes for the Resuscitation of the Baby at the Verge of Viability. (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)
  • How do Contextual Issues Influence Socially Accountable Medical Schools?;; (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Factors Affecting the Development of clinical Reasoning Skills in Junior Doctors. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Planning the Right Care at the Right Time: Transitional Aged Care in Rural and Regional Australia. (Masters, Co-Advisor)
  • Interns' Learning in the 21st Century. (PhD, Co-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 do the Birthing Experiences of Three Generations of Mornington Island Women Reveal About their Aspirations Regarding Birthing on Country? (PhD, Primary Advisor)
Completed
Collaboration

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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Email
Phone
Location
  • 39.216, Medical 1 (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Level 1
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