Caroline de Costa is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the College of Medicine at James Cook University, Cairns Campus in North Queensland, Australia. Caroline has 42 years’ experience in the practice of obstetrics and 40 years in the area of obstetrics research, in particular obstetric epidemiology. She practised as a specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist for 35 years. Caroline was born and educated in Sydney and later studied medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, in Dublin, graduating MB BS (London University) and LRCP&SI in 1973. After completing residency in Port Moresby General Hospital, Papua-New Guinea, she returned to Ireland and undertook specialist training there and in the United Kingdom. In 1980 Caroline returned to Port Moresby for a further 18 months as Senior Registrar before moving back to Sydney where she spent 17 years in private practice. In 1999 she moved to Cairns and took up her present appointment in 2004.


 In her university role Caroline teaches the medical students of JCU in their fifth and sixth years as well as supervising honours and PhD research students.

Research/General Interests

 In her clinical practice Caroline became deeply involved in improving outcomes for indigenous women in the area of obstetrics and gynaecology. She conducted research into possible interventions to reduce the incidence of foetal alcohol syndrome amongst the children of indigenous women in Far North Queensland. She has conducted several studies into the vitamin D levels and requirements of pregnant women in Far North Queensland in order to determine whether these differ from those of women in more temperate zones. She a has a major interest in caesarean section, including the history and social implications of this common operation as well as techniques and risks of the surgery.

Much of Caroline’s research over the past ten years has been in the area of abortion service provision and abortion law reform. She has published extensively with multiple co-authors both nationally and internationally on these topics, and has been active and successful in public movements to reform abortion law.


  • Obstetric Epidemiology
  • Gynaecological Cancer Screening
  • Contraceptive service provision particularly in relation to abortion
  • The learning requirements of medical students in regard to obstetrics, gynaecology and women’s health
  • Obstetrics, gynaecology and women’s health to fifth and sixth year medical students
Research Disciplines
  • 2014 - Member of the Order of Australia for services to medicine in particular to the health of Indigenous and immigrant women
  • 2014 - President's Medal of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for her contributions to women's reproductive health
  • 2013 - Sidney Sax medal of the Public Health Association of Australia

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 89+ research outputs authored by Prof Caroline de Costa from 2005 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Tropical Australian Academic Health Centre Limited - Research Assistance Scheme

Use of telemedicine to improve access to medical termination of pregnancy services in Cape York: an pilot implementation study.

Indicative Funding
$36,810 over 1 year
Despite estimates that one in four Australian women will have an induced abortion during their reproductive life, access to safe abortion care is limited, particularly for women living in rural and remote settings. The use of telehealth to deliver medical termination of pregnancy services into health facilities where there is no registered provider has been successful in other countries, but has not been attempted in Australia. This project will evaluate the implementation of a medical termination of pregnancy service delivered via telehealth into Cape York health facilities.
Sandra Downing, Cate Nagle, Darren Russell, Kim Veiwasenavanua and Caroline de Costa (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, College of Healthcare Sciences, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, Torres & Cape Hospital & Health Service and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Telemedicine; Medical pregnancy termination

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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.

  • An exploration of clinicians’ perceptions, experiences, and perceived barriers and challenges to providing termination of pregnancy care in North Queensland public hospitals (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Contemporary issues in Abortion Care in Australia (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Maternal near-miss in Australia and the surrounding region (2022, 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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