Dr Karen Carlisle is a senior lecturer at the College of Medicine and Dentistry at James Cook University.  With over 20 years of research experience in the UK and Australia, Karen has worked within population health, oral health, education and psychology settings.  She has a particular interest and has published in the areas of community engagement and inter-sectoral collaboration to improve outcomes for the underserved and at risk.

Karen's primary degree is in Applied Psychology and began her career on a research council project examing skill acquisition in laparoscopic surgeons.  Karen worked in the School of Education (Queen's Universty, Belfast) from 1999-2011 and completed her PhD examining the experience of coteaching for pre-service science teachers (2003-2008). In addition Karen was part of a team of researchers exploring multi-agency working in Northern Ireland (ESRC) which contributed to the development of the Shared Education Program aimed at promoting cross denominational school partnerships.

Karen moved to Australia in 2011 and joined Townsville Mackay Medicare Local as a research co-ordinator on the 'Townsville broadband enabled diabetes telehealth randomised controlled trial'. Karen has managed a number of NHMRC projects including the Rural Engaging Communities in Oral Health (Rural ECOH) project and the Scaling up Quality Improvement through learning from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary healthcare services: Lessons from the Best project.  Karen was also project manager for the ‘Strengthening capacity for policy relevant research on surveillance and response’ stream within the Partners in Tropical Health project funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Currently Senior Lecturer in the College of Medicine and Dentistry and project managing two NHMRC projects: Leveraging Effectuve Ambulatory Practices (LEAP) and WOmen's action for Mums and Bubs (WOMB). 




  • HS5102: Qualitative Research Methods for Health Professionals (Level 5; TSV)
  • HS5405: Teaching for Learning in the Health Professions (Level 5; TSV)
  • HS5410: Health Professional Education using Action Research (Level 5; TSV)
  • HS7410: Curriculum Design and Renewal in Health Professional Education (Level 7; TSV)
  • MD1010: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 1 of 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • MD1020: Introduction to Integrated Medical Studies Part 2 of 2 (Level 1; TSV)
  • MD2011: Integrated Human System Pathophysiology Part 1 of 2 (Level 2; TSV)
  • MD2012: Integrated Human System Pathophysiology Part 2 of 2 (Level 2; TSV)
  • MD3000: Selective Study (Level 3; TSV)
  • MD3011: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 1 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
  • MD3012: Introduction to Clinical Healthcare Part 2 of 2 (Level 3; TSV)
  • PC5521: Pharmaceutical Public Health - Research Methodologies (Level 5; TSV)
  • 2011 to 2016 - Research Co-ordinator, Townsville Mackay Medicare Local (Townsville)
  • 1999 to 2011 - Research Fellow (Education), Queen's University, Belfast (Northern Ireland)
  • 1998 to 1999 - Research Assistant (Psychology), Queen's University, Belfast (Northern Ireland)
  • 2016 - JCU Learning and Teaching Quick Start Grant
  • 2015 - Sessional Teaching Award: Outstanding contribution to teaching and learning. 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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 27+ research outputs authored by Dr Karen Carlisle from 2012 onwards.

Current Funding

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

National Health & Medical Research Council - Partnership Projects

Working it Out Together! Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led co-design for a strong and deadly health workforce

Indicative Funding
$904,772 over 4 years
Building a stable, well-trained and culturally safe health workforce is a crucial part of delivering high quality primary health care (PHC) services. Previous attempts to strengthen rural/remote health workforce have failed, partly because they have not integrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and lived experience with necessary policy and systems support. There has been little research into culturally safe strategies to improve workforce stability in complex PHC context. This project will bridge these gaps through a community-led, place-based planning approach, engaging service providers, policy-makers and funders to co-design workforce strategies and models of care that are locally relevant, successful and sustainable. This community-based participatory project uses a mixed methods quasi-experimental pre-post design to implement co-designed actions to explore: How do we systematically embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into place-based planning and action for a stable and effective workforce that engenders community trust in local PHC delivery? Working with key sector partners in four service-based rural/remote clusters across Qld, NT and NSW, we will co-design and trial strategies to strengthen workforce competency and stability (by strengthening local career pathways for Indigenous people and strengthening cultural competency of non-Indigenous staff), and use community-centred impact and economic evaluation. Our team is majority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and builds on relationships and learnings developed through our ongoing PHC system improvement work. Each jurisdictional team comprises a local Indigenous PHC service, community-controlled peak body, primary health network, government health department and university partner. This optimal mix will ensure successful implementation of sustainable strategies and translation into policy and practice for improved community access to quality PHC and health outcomes.
Sarah Larkins, Veronica Matthews, Emma Walke, Catrina Felton-Busch, Sean Taylor, Paul Burgess, Marni Tuala, Renee Blackman, Karen Carlisle and Lynore Geia in collaboration with Nishila Moodley, Payden Samuelsson, Sinon Cooney, Leisa Fraser, Bevan Ah Kee, Michelle Redman-MacLaren, Warren Locke and Cameron Johnson (College of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Sydney, Mt Isa Centre for Rural & Remote Health, Menzies School of Health Research, Department of Health (NT), Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives, Gidgee Healing Mount Isa Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Ltd, Queensland Health, Bullinah Aboriginal Health Service, Katherine West Health Board, Western Queensland Primary Health Network, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council, New South Wales Health and College of Healthcare Sciences)

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Identifying the roles of online communities in rural resilience

Indicative Funding
$16,000 over 3 years (administered by Swinburne University of Technology)
The role of online communities in helping rural people to overcome isolation and service inaccessibility, and in identifying service priorities, is the study focus. We will apply social media data analytics to study seven diverse examples of online communities, to inform what rural people discuss, where, when and in different online communities and to identify the impact of online communities in addressing rural resilience. Findings will inform workshops with online hosts to develop and test a 'best practice toolkit' to inform future online community data analy6tics. The project's outcomes will be to: extend knowledge about roles of online communities for realising rural resilience and providing data to inform service innovations.
Jane Farmer, Anthony McCosker, Sue Kilpatrick, Karen Carlisle and Hilary Davis in collaboration with Sarah-Anne Munoz and Artur Steiner (Swinburne University of Technology, University of Tasmania, College of Medicine & Dentistry, University of the Highlands and Islands and Glasgow Caledonian University)
Rural Health; online communities; Health Planning

National Health & Medical Research Council - Partnership Projects

Implementation of quality improvement in Indigenous primary health care: Leveraging Effective Ambulatory Practices (LEAP)

Indicative Funding
$1,144,570 over 4 years, in partnership with North Queensland Primary Health Network ($315,000); Northern Territory Department of Health, Top End Health ($20,000); Northern Territory Primary Health Network (NTPHN) ($38,700) and Western Queensland Primary Care Collaborative Limited ($210,000)
Despite increased policy attention and funding, not all primary healthcare (PHC) services for Indigenous Australians show the desired improvements in quality of care. Practices which provide PHC services are complex systems and emerging evidence indicates many things affect quality improvement. There remains a knowledge gap regarding what is required for Indigenous PHCs to succeed in improving the quality of their services and, subsequently, health outcomes for their patients. This project will capitalise on emerging research and existing strong partnerships to provide a solid evidence base for interventions to improve quality of priority health services in Indigenous PHC settings.
Sarah Larkins, Ross Baille, Catrina Felton-Busch, Paul Burgess, Emma McBryde, Kerry Copley, Rebecca Evans, V Matthews and Karen Carlisle in collaboration with Judy Taylor, Karla Canuto, Donald Whaleboat, S Thompson, Christine Connors and Roderick Wright (College of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Sydney, Mt Isa Centre for Rural & Remote Health, Department of Health (NT), Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, Aboriginal Medical Service, Apunipima Cape York Health Council, The University of Western Australia and Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council)
Learning community; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; Primary Health Care; Quality Improvement

World Health Organization - TDR

Independent evaluation of the Structured Operational Research and Training Initiative on Ebola conducted in Liberia and Sierra Leone

Indicative Funding
$5,000 (administered by The Kirby Institute, UNSW)
In 2016, TDR conducted SORT iT courses in Sierra Leone and Liberia, with the aim of strengthening research capacity following the Ebola outbreak. Funding was provided by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The purpose of this evaluation is to (1) Evaluate the process of implementation, short and intermediate-term impact of SORT-iT work in Liberia and Sierra Leone. (2) To develop and pilot a framework for independent impact evaluations of SORT-iT. The findings will inform future rounds of SORT-iT in both countries. Furthermore the pilot framework will focus on low cost and easy-to-use tools to foster wider and continued application.
John Kaldor, Liza Doyle and Karen Carlisle (The University of New South Wales and College of Medicine & Dentistry)
research capacity strengthening; Program Evaluation

Western Queensland Primary Care Collaborative Limited - Contract Research

Diabetes Collaborative Evaluation Project

Indicative Funding
$28,860 over 1 year
The diabetes collaborative is a Continuous quality Improvement (CQI) approach to change that aims to improve health outcomes for patients diagnosed with Diabetes. It involves the introduction of a team-based, sustainable approach to learning whilst providing a sound understanding and application of quality improvement methodology and skills. This project aims to evaluate the implementation and outcomes of the WQPHN diabetes collaborative. Expected outcomes of the equation will be a greater understanding of the process of implementation and any changes within participant health services as a result of the collaborative. Evaluation of the program in the rural and remote context of WQPHN will inform on feasibility and effectiveness of this approach.
Sarah Larkins, Karen Carlisle, Sabina Knight, Rebecca Evans, Robyn Preston and Karen Johnston (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine and Mt Isa Centre for Rural & Remote Health)
Quality Improvement Approach; Primary Health Care; Diabetes

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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.

  • Defining Pharmaceutical Public Health Competencies for Australian Pharmacists (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • An Exploration of the Role of Community and Recreational Activities on Mental Health to Frame a Model of Connectedness and Social Resilience in Tasmania (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Starting from a Different Place: A Grounded Indigenous Women's Analysis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Participation in Women's groups for Improving Mums and Bubs Health and Wellbeing (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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  5. Prof Sarah Larkins
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