Associate Professor Alan Clough is an Epidemiologist with a track record over the last two decades in designing, implementing and evaluating community-based interventions to reduce the disastrous effects of substance misuse in remote Indigenous communities, primarily in tropical northern Australia.  Research in remote community populations is widely recognised as being amongst the most difficult. 

In an unusual career path, he has worked at the community level managing alcohol issues in restricted areas in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory.  In his public health practice he has acted as a Member of the NT Licensing Commission (appointed by the Minister) and has heard and determined applications for restricted area declarations supported by alcohol management plans in several NT localities giving him a unique researcher's perspective on the regulatory environment.

Alan is principally recognised in Australia and internationally for his work in the difficult and often neglected area of substance misuse in remote community populations. As well as a rapidly-expanding research career, his CV describes a background in applied community development and advocacy including at the Local Government level. This experience underpins his long commitment to making positive changes at the population level.  Much of his research and practice is intervention research. It has led to positive change in situations where substance misuse has been highly problematic, e.g. reducing cannabis use, reducing petrol sniffing, kava abuse, managing alcohol and investigating ways to reduce the harms from alcohol abuse, smoking cannabis and tobacco in rural and remote populations. In public health generally there is a dearth of intervention research which seeks to document change in populations and which fosters change while the research is occurring.

  • 2012 to present - Program Grants Review Panel - Additional Expert, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 2012 to present - Invited participant - Alcohol Data Workshop, NHMRC Prevention and Community Health Committee
  • 2012 to present - Chair - Early Career Fellowship Review Panel, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 2012 to present - Member, Health Research Council of New Zeland, Public Health Science Assessing Committee
  • 2012 to present - Member - Grant Review Panel 6A - Project Grants, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 2011 to present - Chair - Early Career Fellowship Review Panel, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 2010 to present - Research Fellow, The Cairns Institute (Cairns Qld)
  • 2007 to present - Member - Grant Review Panel - NHMRC_GRP5A, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 2006 to present - Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, James Cook University (Cairns Qld)
  • 2011 to 2014 - Associate Professor, Sansom Institute, Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia (Honorary) (South Australia)
  • 2007 to 2010 - Principal Research Fellow, Menzies School of Health Research (Honorary)
  • 2006 to 2009 - Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney (Honorary) (Sydney NSW)
  • 2005 to 2008 - National Healht and Medical Research Council - Postdoctoral Fellow, James Cook University
  • 2005 to 2007 - Senior Lecturer, School of Population, University of Queensland (Honorary) (Queensland)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2011 - Finalist, Queensland Reconciliation Awards, Queensland Police Service and James Cook University for ‘Weed-it-Out’ project.
  • 2011 - Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Award, Partnered Project, Queensland Police Service ‘Weed-it-Out’ and James Cook University ‘Cape York Cannabis Project’. 2011
  • 2010 - Research Fellow - Cairns Insitute - James Cook University

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
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 81+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Alan Clough from 2004 onwards.

Current Funding

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

NHMRC - Project Grant

The transition from hospital to home: A longitudinal study of Indigenous traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Indicative Funding
$857,768 over 3 years
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians suffer much higher rates of head injury than the mainstream Australian population. Despite this, there have been no systematic studies of traumatic brain injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in northern Australia, this longitudinal study will document the occurrence, predictors and outcomes of key sentinel events that occur during the six month transition period from hospital to home following traumatic brain injury. The study will focus on the Northern Territory's Top End, and north Queensland. Over three years, approximately 200 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians with traumatic brain injury will be recruited, with assessments of health, wellbeing and key sentinel events made at three time points in the 6 months following injury. This study will provide the first evidence regarding the key events influencing outcomes following traumatic brain injury for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and will provide evidence regarding what supports are needed during this time.
India Bohanna, John Gilroy, Alan Clough, Jennifer Fleming, Paul Maruff and A Esterman (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, The University of Sydney, The University of Queensland, The University of Melbourne and University of South Australia)
Traumatic Brain Injury; Rehabilitation; Indigenous Health

NHMRC - Project Grant

Alcohol Management Plans (AMPs) in Remote Indigenous Communities: Their Impacts on Injury, Violence, Health and Social Indicators and Their Cost-Effectiveness In Cape York, Far North

Indicative Funding
$626,395 over 3 years
The study will describe long-term impacts on important health, economic and social outcomes of complex interventions restricting the supply of alcohol in the Cape York region of far north Queensland. The study will assess impacts of past policy shifts, program changes and local responses to the Queensland Government's Alcohol Management Plans (AMPs) implemented from 2002-03. It will provide an evaluation framework and evidence base to inform communities and governments if future policy and program adjustments are proposed in these and similar Indigenous communities elsewhere in Australia.
Alan Clough in collaboration with Stephen Margolis, Reinhold Muller, Christopher Doran, Adrian Miller and Anthony Shakeshaft (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, The University of Queensland, Southern Cross University and The University of New South Wales)
Alcohol; Alcohol Management Plans; Aboriginal & Torres Strait Is People; Social Indicators; Evaluation

Health and Family Planning Bureau of Foshan City, China - Grant

Mental Health Among Medical Professionals in Foshan City, China

Indicative Funding
$11,000 (administered by Australia China Culture & Education Exchange Centre)
This project aims to investigate mental health among medical professionals in Foshan City, China. The mental health of physicians is now recognised as a serious issue in China after a number of high profile incidences in which doctors have been attacked by patients. Of course, being a high stress occupation, mental health issues caused by professional stress and burnout have always been present among medical professionals. This study seeks to use a mix-methods approach to explore such issues.
Wendy Li, Alan Clough, Edward Helmes, Beryl Buckby, G Xie, Xinyi Huang and Peng Li in collaboration with K Jackson (College of Healthcare Sciences, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, The Third Peoples Hospital of Foshan City, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University and Guangzhou University)
Mental Health; Anxiety; Stress; Depression; Job Satisfaction; China; Medical Professionals

NHMRC - Career Development Fellowship

Reducing harms from substance misuse in remote indigenous communities requires interventions delivered as promised with measurable impacts?

Indicative Funding
$439,920 over 4 years
The aims of the CDF scheme will allow me to achieve my objectives in that i) I am a mid-career researcher becoming independent and self-directed, ii) my research builds on Australia’s public health research capacity, iii) my work program focuses on building and disseminating evidence for health policies that is iv) directly translated into practice and which v) engages with key components of the substance misuse prevention and treatment sector.
Alan Clough (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Substance Abuse; Prevention; Mental Health; Methodology; community intervention; Social Determinants of Health; addiction prevention; Injury Prevention

Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute - Centres of Research Excellence in Primary Health Care Research

Centre of Research Excellence Prevention of Chronic Conditions in Rural and Remote High Risk Populations

Indicative Funding
$999,384 over 3 years (administered by University of South Australia)
The research team will undertake collaborative research in rural and remote communities of SA and QLD which will contribute directly to the prevention of chronic disease at various stages along the care continuum. They will investigate community and health service based strategies such as obesity prevention, nutrition improvement to prevent the onset of chronic diseases such as diabetes, renal and cardio vascular disease in health adults and children. The collaboration brings together researchers and institutions around three research streams: 1. Nutrition and Physical Activity in chronic disease prevention: let by Professor Kerin O'Dea; 2. Mental Health and Substance Misuse in chronic disease prevention: Led by A/Professor Alan Clough; 3. Clinical Systems improvement in Primary Care: led by Professor Robyn McDermott.
Robyn McDermott, Kathryn Panaretto, Alan Clough, Leonie Segal, Kerrin O'Dea and Kim Usher in collaboration with John Setchell, David Schrimgeour, Sabina Knight, Mark Wenitong, Ashim Sinha, Jane Giles and Katina D'Onise (Division of Tropical Health & Medicine, Queensland Aboriginal and Torrres Strait Islander Health Forum, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, University of South Australia, College of Healthcare Sciences, Royal Flying Doctors Service, Aboriginal Health Council, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Cairns & Hinterland Health Service District and SA Department of Health)
chronic disease prevention; Nutrition; Primary health care; Health economics; Indigenous; Rural; remote

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.

  • From hospital to home: understanding the lived experience of traumatic brain injury in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and the implications for transition support (PhD, Secondary Advisor)
  • The Role of Traditional Food and Lifestyle Interventions in Reducing Modifiable Chronic Disease Risk Factors in Australian Indigenous Communities. (PhD, Secondary Advisor)
  • Patient Safety: Risk Management of Paramedic Initiated Non-Transport Cases. (Masters, Primary Advisor)
  • Illicit Drug Monitoring System in Regional Queensland (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Exploring Protective Factors for Violent Offending and Incarceration of Indigenous Adults in Far North Queensland. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Smoke-free Homes in Far North Queensland : Informing and Developing Research Interventions (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Chronic Hepatitis B: Raising Awareness and Enabling Health-Protective Action in the North Queensland Among Community Focusing on GP Involvement and Antenatal Care (PhD, Secondary Advisor)
  • Maternal Nutrition and Its Role in the Development of the Child in Bangladesh (PhD, Secondary Advisor)
  • Reducing Assaults in the Cairns Night Time Economy Using Realist Evaluation: A Focus on Closed Circut Television (CCTV). (PhD, Secondary Advisor)
  • Psychologists' Engagement with Clients Regarding Alcohol Use: Understanding the Role of Personal Consumption, Knowledge and Attitudes. (PhD, Secondary Advisor)
  • Implementing Large Scale, Community-Level Intervention Studies in Remote Indigenous Communities: A Realist Evaluation of the 'Cape York Cannabis Project'. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Health Status, Health Events, and Health Care Participation of Amateur Performing Artists in Regional Queensland (Mackay) (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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