I am an Aboriginal woman from Townsville in North Queensland. I currently hold the position of Associate Dean Engagement and Strategy in the College of Medicine & Dentistry, located in the Division of Tropical Health and Medicine. In the College of Medicine & Dentistry I provide leadership and strategic advice in the Generalist Medical Training (GMT) program, and oversee GMT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health activities. For nearly three decades, I have worked in higher education, primarily on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.


I am appointed to numerous boards and committees and hold a Master of Public Health & Tropical Medicine. My research interests are centred on health systems, health workforce and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.


  • HS4801: Tropical Australian Health Internship (Level 4; CNS & TSV)
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health; Health workforce & service delivery; Research capacity development
  • 2009 ALTC Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning - Dr Marion Gray, A/Prof Jacinta Elston, Marianne Bonassi and Yvonne Thomas (James Cook University)
  • 2007 Honorary Member, Golden Key Society

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
Conference Papers
Other research outputs

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 16+ research outputs authored by Prof Jacinta Elston from 2002 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU 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)
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.
Jane Farmer, Sarah Larkins, Mark Gussy, Amanda Kenny, Felicity Croker, Andrea Silva-Sanigorski, Jacinta Elston and Virginia Dickson-Swift in collaboration with 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)
primary care; health planning; consumer participation; Rural Health; Oral Health; Priority Setting; access to dental care; Workforce Policy; Evaluation Studies

NHMRC - Project Grant

ABCD Case Studies Project: Quality improvement in Aboriginal primary health care: lessons from the best to better the rest.

Indicative Funding
$598,580 over 3 years
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.
Sarah Larkins, Sandra Thompson, Jacinta Elston, Christine Connors and Komla Tsey in collaboration with 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)
Quality improvement; Aboriginal Health; Primary care; Health services research; Chronic diseases

Menzies School of Health Research - Ext_Source: NHMRC Grant 1078927 CRE IQI

Quality Improvement in Indigenous Primary Health Care: Leveraging Effective Ambulatory Practices (LEAP)

Indicative Funding
Continuous quality improvement (CQI) initiatives are well-accepted as an effective means for improving quality of care at primary health care (PHC) services. However, there remains significant variation in the quality of care provided between individual services and the degree of response to CQI activities. This sis so despite active and effective CQI networks supported by a number of organisations. Understanding the detail of this variability is vital before quality improvement initiatives in Indigenous PHC can be effectively scaled-up and expanded. We aim to enhance understanding of how quality improvement initiatives in Indigenous PHC can be rolled out on a broader scale, particularly in services that face capacity and resource-based challenges, through I0 building on our understanding of how contextual factors interact to facilitate or limit the success of CQI initiatives; and ii) collaborative development and testing of a toolkit of interventions to address barriers to improvement.
Sarah Larkins, Jacinta Elston, Komla Tsey, Emma McBryde, Kerry Copley, Rebecca Evans and Carly Woods in collaboration with Paul Burgess, Ross Baille, R Wright, V Matthews, S Thompson, Christine Connors and Rachael Ham (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Division of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Arts, Society & Education, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, Aboriginal Medical Service, NT Department of Health & Community Services, Menzies Research Institute, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, Queensland Health, The University of Western Australia and Apunipima Cape York Health Council)
Indigenous Health; Primary Health Care; Quality improvement; Continuous Quality Improvement; Workforce

NHMRC - Capacity Building - Population Health

Building research capacity in Indigenous Australians and Community Controlled Health Services

Indicative Funding
$2,289,759 over 5 years
In addition to building the research capacity of a cohort of Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers based in Northern Australia and Victoria this project will establish a network to promote Indigenous health research and build capacity in three Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services already involved in Indigenous and population health research and in employees within those three Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services. The project will investigate and evaluate models of how Universities can best build research capacity in Indigenous population health researchers.
Richard Speare, Komla Tsey, Jacinta Elston, Craig Veitch and Richard Murray (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Indigenous Education & Research Centre, Division of Tropical Health & Medicine and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
Indigenous Health; capacity building; public health in indigenous populations

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.

  • Alcohol Use and Alcohol-Related Harms Among Indigenous Australians and Non-Indigenous Students at a Regional University (PhD , Associate 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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