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. Alan has a strong track record of doing research which translates into policy and regulation.

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.

  • Public Health Law, Research and Policy
  • 2016 to present - Professorial Research Fellow, Cairns Institute (Cairns)
  • 2016 to 2017 - Chair, NHMRC Career Development Award Panel (Cairns)
  • 2010 to 2016 - Research Fellow, The Cairns Institute (Cairns Qld)
  • 2006 to 2016 - Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, James Cook University (Cairns Qld)
  • 2015 - Member, NHMRC Career Development Award Panel (Cairns)
  • 2011 to 2014 - Associate Professor, Sansom Institute, Division of Health Sciences, University of South Australia (Honorary) (South Australia)
  • 2012 to 2013 - Chair - Early Career Fellowship Review Panel, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 2011 to 2013 - Chair - Early Career Fellowship Review Panel, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 2012 - Member - Grant Review Panel 6A - Project Grants, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 2012 - Invited participant - Alcohol Data Workshop, NHMRC Prevention and Community Health Committee
  • 2012 - Program Grants Review Panel - Additional Expert, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 2012 - Member, Health Research Council of New Zeland, Public Health Science Assessing Committee
  • 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
  • 2007 - Member - Grant Review Panel - NHMRC_GRP5A, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • 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
  • 2013 to 2016 - Career Development Award Fellowship, National Health and Medical Research Council
  • 2006 to 2008 - Early Career Fellowship, National Health and Medical Research Council

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 141+ research outputs authored by Prof Alan Clough from 1995 onwards.

Current Funding

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

National Health & Medical Research Council - Targeted Research

Addressing health and care needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with dementia and their communities: A cluster RCT

Indicative Funding
$3,046,294 over 5 years
The study will utilise a methodologically robust cluster RCT to examine the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a community-based, ACCHS centred intervention to increase (1) the timely diagnosis of people living with dementia and (2) the provision of best practice dementia care. The effectiveness of the approach in reducing psychosocial distress for both the person living with dementia and their carer will be tested. The intervention will be culturally appropriate and guided by community consultation. Community level intervention strategies will include community information sessions to increase dementia awareness and dementia health literacy, the development of supportive care networks, and the distribution of tailored information resources.
Robert Sanson-Fisher, Megan Freund, Jamie Bryant, Chris Oldmeadow, Gail Garvey, Alan Clough, Megan Passey and Nola Ries (The University of Newcastle, Menzies School of Health Research, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, The University of Sydney, University of Technology and Sydney)
Dementia; Healthcare needs; Indigenous Australians; Community-level intervention

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

An assessment of late night alcohol restrictions in Queensland

Indicative Funding
$56,740 over 4 years (administered by Deakin University), in partnership with Australian Rechabite Foundation ($40,000 over 4 yrs)
Alcohol-related harm is a major social order issue which requires evidence-based policy. This project capitalises on a unique window of policy adoption within Queensland to investigate the introduction of 2am cease of alcohol service for licensed venues across the entire state, assessing its impact, identifying modifiable elements and developing policy advice. Using the most sophisticated models to date, including outlet density, enforement, demographic variables and other variables, we build on our team's extensive work to build unique datasets including archival data, foot-traffic counting, key stakeholder and patron interviews to evaluate impact and identify policy lessons for other jurisdictions in Australia and internationally.
Peter Miller, Kerri Coomber, Alan Clough, Jason Ferris, Tanya Chikritzhs, Kypros Kypri, Belinda Lloyd, Michael Livingstone and Jake Najman in collaboration with Michael Thorn, Meredythe Crane, Brian O'Neill and Sharon Matthews (Deakin University, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Foundation for Alcohol Research & Education, The University of Queensland, Curtin University of Technology, The University of Newcastle, Monash University, La Trobe University, Lives Lived Well Ltd and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre)
Alcohol; alcohol restrictions

North Queensland Primary Health Network - Contract Research

YETI - Radio Practice Audit

Indicative Funding
$70,000 over 2 years (administered by Cairns Youth Empowered Towards Independence Inc.)
1. Provide a formal design for the practice audit and prepare applications for relevant approvals. 2. Brief the reference group by providing progressive updates of results of the audit. 3. Design and establish an information collection system specifically tailored for the program goals and for the group of new AOD clients (in collaboration with yourself and the clinical support person). 4. Compile information from at least the following sources: a. Routine surveys of program managers b. Staff logs c. Client intake and follow-up assessments summarised and described d. Client feedback forms e. Notes from reference group meetings f. Service databases, in particular RADIO g. Others as required.
Alan Clough and Kristy Grant (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Quality assurance; Youth; Indigenous; Substance misuse

North Queensland Primary Health Network - Contract Research

Research Support for Suicide Prevention Planning and Implementation

Indicative Funding
This project requires support for community coalitions in north Queensland to develop capacities to prepare a suicide prevention plan for the region from Mackay to the Cape and Torres district in four Hospital and Health Service (HHS) areas: Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Hinterland and the Torres and Cape HHSs.
Alan Clough, Nerina Caltabiano and Caryn West (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and College of Healthcare Sciences)
Evaluation; Suicide; Prevention; Capacity building

QLD Department of Justice & Attorney General - Queensland Corrective Services Tender

Development of an Intervention Pathway and/or models that reduce reoffending for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sexual offenders

Indicative Funding
$200,000 over 2 years
This project will develop a pathway for intervention for QLD Correctional Service clients who are known sexual offenders from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural backgrounds. It will involve community and criminal justice consultations and the preparation of advice for the Department.
Andrew Day, Amon Tamatea, Shawn Ross, Alan Clough, Lynore Geia, Garry Kidd and Sharon Casey (Indigenous Education & Research Centre, University of Waikato, The University of Melbourne, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and College of Healthcare Sciences)
Sex offender; Reintegration; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Heart Foundation - Vanguard Grant

The 'Top End' Smoke-free Spaces Project

Indicative Funding
$65,900 over 2 years
This feasibility study of an intervention t reduce SHSe in homes will be conducted in one Arnhem Land community in the Northern Territory. To achieve its two objectives will require six months from project initiation. The study will use both qualitative and quantitative methods. Evaluating an intervention to encourage smoke free homes in remote Indigenous communities using a combination of incentives and monitoring of indoor second hand smoke exposure: is an intervention and evaluation study feasible?
Alan Clough, Matthew Wrigley and Kristy Grant in collaboration with Joy Bhulkanawuy Dhamarrandji (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and Aboriginal Resource and Development Sevices)
Intervention Evaluation; Environmental tobacco smoke; Remote Indigenous communities

National Health & Medical Research Council - 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

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

National Health & Medical Research Council - 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

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.

  • Impact of a physical activity program on 'walking and moving about' for individuals with Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) living in the Top End of Australia (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Investigation of Involuntary Treatment of Persons with Mental Health Problems in North Queensland Regional and Remote Centres (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Patient Safety: Risk Management of Paramedic Initiated Non-Transport Cases. (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • "Unwarranted Amplification of Criminalisation": An Unintended Consequence of the Queensland Government Introducing an Alcohol Management Plan for Mornington Shire Council (Masters , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Clubfoot in the Northern Territory (Masters , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Warriors Helping Warriors: A mixed methods analysis of the 'Kapani Warrior" program in remote Indigenous Communities (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • How can we use Realist Evaluation to better inform research into Alcohol-related Assaults in Night-time Economies? A Case Study using CCTV. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Knowledge and Attitudes to Reproductive Technology among Aboriginal Families who are at risk of Machado-Joseph Disease (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The Effects of Emergency Examination Authorities on Far North Queensland Hospitals (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Evidence-to-Action to Reduce Impacts of Criminalisation in Communities with Alcohol Management Plans (AMPS): Effective Policies and Programs need Sound Evidence for Considered Decisions (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Implementing Large Scale, Community-Level Intervention Studies in Remote Indigenous Communities: A Realist Evaluation of the 'Cape York Cannabis Project'. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

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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