Leigh-ann Onnis is a Senior Lecturer with the College of Business, Law and Governance at James Cook University with an interest in remote workforces, management and remote health.  Starting her career in Human Resources in Melbourne in the early 1990s, Leigh-ann’s interest in ‘people’ and ‘work’ has developed over many years. Leigh-ann has lived in regional and remote northern Australia for more than fifteen years and prior to her current role at JCU, has worked in HR and research roles with Menzies School of Health Research, WA Country Health Services and Queensland Health’s Remote Mental Health Team. It was a management role in the Kimberley that first ignited Leigh-ann’s interest in combining her passion for people management and her interest in public health.  Leigh-ann completed a PhD in 2016, entitled ‘A Sustainable Remote Health Workforce: Translating HRM Policies into Practice’ which is a culmination of her passion for management, health and remote northern Australia.

Leigh-ann's  research activities have included working with JCU's Indigenous Education and Research Centre, in a Business Development role supporting the establishment of the National Centre for Family Wellbeing, evaluating research impact for Indigenous SEWB programs and investigating continuous quality improvement (CQI) approaches for evaluating SEWB and management programs.

  • BX2072: Change Management (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • BX3054: Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Management (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • BX3261: Business Negotiation (Level 3; CNS)
  • LB5935: Integrated Global Capstone Project (Level 5; ONL)
  • Human Resource Management, management and leadership, remote workforce sustainability, remote health, social and emotional wellbeing, and wellbeing at work.
  • 2022 to present - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 2020 to 2022 - Research Associate, Edith Cowan University (Remote office)
  • 2017 to 2020 - Senior Research Officer, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 2016 to 2017 - Research Assistant, James Cook University (Cairns)
  • 2010 to 2013 - Research Assistant, Queensland Health (Cairns)
  • 2007 to 2008 - Research Support Officer, Menzies School of Health Research (Darwin)
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2022 - CBLG Award for Research Impact in Society
  • 2021 - ANZAM Conference: Overall Best Paper Award
  • 2021 - ANZAM Conference: Public Sector, NGOs and Not-for-Profit Stream Award (Best Paper)
  • 2019 - CBLG Research Recognition Awards
  • 2016 to 2017 - JCU On-time Completion Publication Scholarship
  • 2013 to 2016 - Australian Postgraduate Award, PhD Research Scholarship
  • 2014 - ANZAM Doctoral Conference Travel Award
  • 2014 - ANZAM Conference: HRM Stream Award (Best Paper)
  • 2012 to 2013 - FNQ Hospital Foundation Research Award ($2500)
  • 2019 - Member, Australia and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM)
  • 2013 - Professional Membership (CAHRI) Australian Human Resources Institute
  • 2017 - Fellow of the Cairns Institute

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
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 32+ research outputs authored by Dr Leigh-Ann Onnis from 2011 onwards.

Current Funding

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

National Health & Medical Research Council - CRE-STRIDE

Improving remote health workforce sustainability: Developing a Manager?s Toolkit for implementing promising practices

Indicative Funding
$9,859 over 1 year
The project uses a human resource management (HRM) approach seeking to improve workforce sustainability by developing the capacity of managers to implement promising practices reported to improve rural and remote workforce retention. To contribute to the knowledge gaps, this project affords the opportunity to influence systems-level HRM practices creating pathways for longer-term improvements through embedding promising practices into existing systems, and evaluation into regular reporting. This project aims to: a) synthesise the literature into a matrix of promising practices, b) develop a prototype Manager?s Toolkit of Promising Practices, and c) collaboratively co-design a study to pilot implementation and evaluation of the prototype Manager?s Toolkit.
Leigh-Ann Onnis and Trina Matthews (College of Business, Law & Governance and North & West Remote Health)
Rural and remote health; Recruitment, retention and turnover; Remote health workforce sustainability; Human resource management; Workforce management; Health workforce Retention

Neami Limited - Contract Research

Evaluation of Early Implementation of the Connect to Wellbeing Service

Indicative Funding
$54,546 over 2 years
The project team will provide: * Independent analysis and interpretation of de-identified data provided by Neami National; * A research report for Neami national's internal use; * A research paper for publication in peer reviewed journal in collaboraltion with Dr Ennals and Neami staff.
Komla Tsey, Josephine Pryce, Leigh-Ann Onnis and Carrie Lui (College of Arts, Society & Education, College of Business, Law & Governance and Cairns Institute)
Mental Health; Wellbeing; Evaluation

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation - Research Grant

Transitioning from remote clinician to manager: Why do some managers thrive, yet others barely survive? (FNQ Pilot Study)

Indicative Funding
$5,000 over 1 year
The study investigates the transition from remote clinician to manager to understand why some clinicians thrive as managers; yet others do not. Despite recognition that the clinician manager transition influences retention and workforce sustainability; this remains an under researched area. This pilot study will recruit participants from Far North Queensland (FNQ).
Leigh-Ann Onnis and Marcia Hakendorf in collaboration with Komla Tsey (College of Business, Law & Governance, College of Arts, Society & Education and CRANAplus)
Management; Resilience; Health service management; Human Resources Management

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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