Dr Clare Heal is  Professor (Promotional Chair) and Academic Lead of the Department of  General Practice at James Cook University School of Medicine and Dentistry. She is based at the Rural Clinical School in Mackay, Queensland.

Over the past ten years she has been principle investigator, or supervising co-investigator of seven successful practice based randomised controlled trials investigating the management of skin cancer surgery. The results of these trials have been published in high impact medical journals, such as the British Medical Journal.  In 2016 her study comparing sterile to clean boxed gloves was named one of the top 20 top international studies for Primary Care Physicians.She was awarded the AAAGP award for best research in Primary Care in 2006 and  2015, and the RACGP Peter Mudge Medal for best research in General Practice in 2012 and 2016. She is principle author of a Cochrane review on topical antibiotic prophylaxis was published in November 2016.

She continues to be active in clinical and academic general practice. She is  former chair of the  RACGP National Research Committee, and  a current member of  both the Australian Journal of General Practice and the European Journal of General Practice Editorial Advisory Committees. Since 2014 she has been a member of the Oxford Primary Care Leadership program.  From 2022-2023 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and completed a Masters in Epidemiology at Harvard University.

She currently supervises several honours students and  PhD students and has had 32 successful honours completions. She has published more than 100 peer reviewed journal articles.

In addition to her research activities, she is chair of the Year five assessment and Academic Lead  of General Practice for James Cook University.  She is a member of an expert exam item-writing panel for the Australian Medical Council.

  • MD1010: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 1 of 2 (Level 1; CNS & TSV)
  • MD5010: Integrated Clinical Practice Part 1 of 3 (Level 5; TSV)
  • MD5020: Integrated Clinical Practice Part 2 of 3 (Level 5; TSV)
  • MD5030: Integrated Clinical Practice Part 3 of 3 (Level 5; TSV)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2015 - AAAPC Distinguished paper chosen for international presentation at NAPCRG
  • 2014 - Best paper and audience choice awards RACGP Queensland annual meeting
  • 2012 - Peter Mudge Medal, Best Research in General Practice presentation, RACGP annual scientific meeting
  • 2011 - Senior author, annual best paper, Australian Family Physician
  • 2022 to 2023 - Fulbright Scholarship, Masters of Epidemiology, Harvard University
  • 2015 to 2018 - Member of Oxford primary care research leadership cohort

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 106+ research outputs authored by Prof Clare Heal from 2005 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Commonwealth Department of Health - Medical Research Future Fund - Cardiovascular Health

Supervised Home Exercise for Peripheral Artery Disease

Indicative Funding
$999,999 over 3 years
1 million Australians have leg artery blockage (peripheral artery disease; PAD) and are at very high risk of major adverse cardiovascular events. Up to one-third of patients having an acute cardiac event or stroke have PAD, which limits their recovery. Randomised controlled trials (RCT) have established supervised exercise therapy substantially improves the functional impairment caused by PAD and reduces the risk factors of acute cardiovascular events. International guidelines recommend supervised exercise therapy sessions are performed at tertiary facilities three times weekly for three months. These programs have poor uptake and are not suited to equitable provision across Australia particularly for regional and remote communities who have the greatest burden from PAD. Our workshops with patients indicated the commonest challenges to taking part in supervised exercise was travelling. In partnership with patients, health professionals and other stakeholders we have co-designed the Supervised Home-based exercise progrAm for Peripheral artery diseasE (SHAPE). This 12-week supervised exercise program is delivered directly to and completely undertaken within the participant's home using telehealth supervision and monitoring from a wrist worn accelerometer
Jon Golledge, Belinda Parmenter, Clare Arnott, Rachel Neale, Nicola Burton, Clare Heal, Aaron Drovandi, Joseph Moxon, Jenna Pinchbeck, Christopher Askew, Richard Norman and Dylan Morris (College of Medicine & Dentistry, University of New South Wales, The George Institute for Global Health, The Council of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Griffith University, University of the Sunshine Coast, Curtin University and Townsville Hospital and Health Service)
Prevention; Complications; Periphreal artery disease; Risk Factors

Commonwealth Department of Health - Medical Research Future Fund - Dementia, Ageing and Aged Care

METformin for treating peripheral artery disease Related walking Impairment Trial (MERIT)

Indicative Funding
$1,215,182 over 3 years
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a very common chronic cardiovascular disease of ageing affecting approximately 1 million older Australians and causing substantial leg pain on walking (intermittent claudication), marked functional impairment, reduced quality of life (QOL) and very high risk of major adverse cardiovascular and limb events. Vulnerable populations (e.g. regional or remote, lower income and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations) have much greater PAD-related burden. Our past consultations with patients indicate that improvements in walking is their number one priority. The only widely available PAD treatment in Australia is revascularisation but this does not improve walking distance and has substantial safety concerns. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that metformin safely improves leg blood supply. MERIT is a placebo-controlled randomised trial performed across 7 sites. The importance of the trial has been endorsed by patients, Heart Foundation, Queensland Health and Australian and New Zealand Society for Vascular Surgery and Alliance for Cardiovascular Trials. If positive, MERIT will identify a cheap, safe and widely available drug to improve the function and QOL of millions of older adults worldwide who have PAD.
Jon Golledge, Clare Arnott, Edward Strivens, Belinda Parmenter, Clare Heal, Christopher Reid, Aaron Drovandi, Joseph Moxon, Jenna Pinchbeck, Richard Norman, Dylan Morris, Christopher Askew, Sarah Larkins, Rachel Quigley and Yvonne Cadet-James (College of Medicine & Dentistry, The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Curtin University, Townsville Hospital and Health Service, University of the Sunshine Coast and Indigenous Education & Research Centre)
Prevention; Complications; Peripheral artery disease; Risk Factors

University of Notre Dame Australia - Research Funding

Electronic medical record quaity impact (eMEDI-QI) Study

Indicative Funding
$15,000 over 1 year
This study involves application of a daa extraction tool to detect patients at risk for familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). People with FH are at inceased risk of premature death from coronary artery diseases. The dominent genetic natgure means at least one parent of the patient will have FH, and 50% and 25% chance of their siblings and children having FH respectively. It's estimated only 10% of patients are currently identified. The aim is to identify patients with FH and target the 50% of first-degree relatives in families with FH. Identifying patients with FH benefits with patient, siblings, parents and future generations.
Tom Brett and Clare Heal in collaboration with Leanne Hall, Cristian Vargas-Garcia and Dick Chan (University of Notre Dame Australia and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Familial Hypercholesterolaemia

National Health & Medical Research Council - Partnership Projects

An intervention to improve detection and management of familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) in primary care

Indicative Funding
$34,465 over 3 years (administered by University of Notre Dame Australia)
Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is an inherited condition (prevalence 1:500 - 1:200) leading to excessively high cholesterol in the bloodstream from birth, increasing the risk of heart attacks and angina by age 40 or earlier if left untreated. Until recently FH has been managed mainly through hospital clinics. This national study trials an innovative primary care based approach using clinical diagnostic criteria rather than expensive genetic testing. The research aims to improve detection of cases, reduce cholesterol in treated cases, increase the number of family cases detected and contracted. It also explored the cost implications of method of care and aims to establish a registry of FH patients. Early diagnosis and treatment have important health outcomes for FH patients.
Tom Brett, Diane Arnold-Reed, Gerald Watts, David Sulliivan, Alistair Vickery, Ian Li, Lakkhina Troeung, Clare Heal, Charlotte HESPE and Jan Radford in collaboration with John Amerea, Damon Bell, Caroline Bulsara, Max Bulsara, Jacqueline Garton-Smith, Gerard GILL, Mark Nelson, Jing Pang, Ranjit Raslam and Jackie Ryan (University of Notre Dame, University of Western Australia, The University of Sydney, College of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Tasmania, St John of God Geelong Hospital, University of Notre Dame Australia, WA Department of Health, Deakin University and University of Wollongong)
Familial hypercholesterolaemia; primary care

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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.

  • Fibrin Glue in Skin Grafts for Skin Cancer (PhD , Secondary 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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