About

Associate Professor Sophia Couzos is a public health physician and general practitioner. She is currently working as an Associate Professor of General Practice and Rural Medicine teaching undergraduate students with the College of Medicine and Dentistry at James Cook University. She is also a researcher with the Anton Breinl Centre for Health Systems Strengthening within the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine. She is also currently Consultant Public Health Physician to the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council. She nearly 30 years of experience working for Aboriginal community-controlled health services in remote Australia and with the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation in Canberra. She spent 14 years living and working in remote Australia, with 7 years as a clinician in ACCHSs in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.  

She has been public health adviser to several consecutive NACCHO Chairs during the period from 1998-2012. During this time, as a member of the Secretariat, she instigated, developed, and influenced a wide range of national policies, programs and research. Examples include: ‘quality use of medicines’/co-payment relief programs such as QUMAX, the Indigenous Practice Incentive Payment, Medicare Rebates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adult health checks, specific PBS medicines listings, Asthma Spacers Ordering System (with the Asthma Foundation), and numerous other programs. She has worked in partnership with Aboriginal representative bodies, Aboriginal leaders, non-government organisations, private industry, and government departments. She has extensive experience in supporting consumer involvement in the policy process.

She instigated and led the development of seminal clinical practice guidelines, including leading the 3rd edition of the National Guide to a Preventive health Assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for the NACCHO in partnership with the RACGP.

She edited and authored the textbook ‘Aboriginal Primary Health Care: An evidence-based Approach’ (to a 3rd edition, published by Oxford University Press) shortlisted and ‘highly commended’ in the Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing in 2008. She led multicenter award-winning research (a national NHMRC funded double-blind randomised controlled clinical trial investigating ototopical treatment for chronic suppurative otitis media), specializing in community-based participatory research, and translating the research findings into programs that are in operation nation-wide. 

As an academic and educator, she was awarded a JCU Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning in 2017. She is a coordinator and medical educator of an undergraduate medical curriculum addressing the ecology of health, patient-centred care, advocacy, health policy, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, authored the chapter “Advocacy and the Health Professional Role” in the newly published Oxford University Press textbook on ‘Professional and Therapeutic Communication’ and teaches ‘professionalism’ to first year medical students. She is currently evaluating the person-centredness of undergraduate curricula for the College of Medicine.

She has supervised Registrars within the Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

Teaching
  • 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)
  • MD2012: Integrated Human System Pathophysiology Part 2 of 2 (Level 2; 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)
  • MD6010: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 1 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6020: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 2 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
  • MD6030: Advanced Clinical Medicine Part 3 of 3 (Level 6; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • medicines access, preventive health, health policy development, analysis, implementation and evaluation supporting health equity.
Experience
  • 2016 to present - Consultant Public Health Physician, QAIHC (Brisbane)
  • 2012 to present - Associate Professor, College of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2007 to 2012 - Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Public Health, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1998 to 2012 - Public Health Medical Officer, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (Canberra)
  • 1996 to 1998 - Public Health Medical Officer, KAMSC (Broome)
  • 1994 to 1998 - General Practitioner, Broome Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (Broome)
  • 1992 to 1994 - General Practitioner, East Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (Kununurra)
  • 1991 to 1992 - General Practitioner, Church St Surgery (Benalla)
  • 1990 to 1991 - Senior Medical Officer, Wangaratta Base Hospital (Wangaratta)
  • 1988 to 1990 - Intern/Resident Medical Officer, Royal Melbourne Hospital; Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital (Melbourne)
  • 1980 to 1986 - Microbiologist, Western Hospital/Preston and Northcote Community Hospital (Melbourne)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2017 - JCU Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, 2017
  • 2008 - Shortlisted for the Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing, 2008.Category: Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Scholarly Reference for Couzos & Murray, Aboriginal Primary Health Care.
  • 2005 - High Commendation for Aboriginal Health Research, NSW Ministry for Science and Medical Research
  • 2003 - Medical Journal of Australia/Wyeth Award 2003
  • 1996 - Francis Hardey Faulding Memorial Research Fellowship (RACGP)
  • 1982 - J.N. McNicholl Prize (RMIT)
Fellowships
  • 1999 - Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP)
  • 1998 - Fellowship Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
  • 1996 - Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).
Memberships
  • 2017 - College Policy and Advocacy Council, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • 2016 - Faculty Policy and Advocacy Committee, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • 2007 to 2013 - Expert Advisory Panel on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medicines (Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing)
  • 2012 - Practice Incentives Program Advisory Group (Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing)
  • 2011 to 2012 - Medicare Telehealth Technical Advisory Group (Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing)
  • 2009 to 2010 - PBS Co-pay Relief Measure (Close the Gap) Reference Group (Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing)
  • 2007 to 2010 - Close the Gap Coalition Steering Committee (Human Rights Commission)
  • 2003 to 2010 - Australian Medical Association Indigenous Health Taskforce
  • 2007 to 2008 - National Asthma Expert Advisory Group
  • 2005 to 2007 - National Influenza Pandemic Action Committee (Primary Care WG,Australian Government)
  • 2000 to 2006 - National Health Priority Areas Action Council (Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing)
  • 2000 to 2006 - National Asthma Reference Group (Australian Government)
  • 2000 to 2006 - National Diabetes Strategies Group (Australian Government)
  • 2000 to 2006 - National Heart Stroke and Vascular Strategies Group (Australian Government)
  • 1999 to 2006 - National Indigenous Australians Sexual Health Committee (Australian Government)
  • 2000 to 2005 - National Cancer Strategies Group (Australian Government)
  • 2004 - Australian Screening Advisory Committee (Australian Government)
  • 1998 to 2004 - National Public Health Partnership Advisory Committee (Australian Government)
  • 1999 to 2002 - General Practice Partnership Advisory Council (Australian Government)
  • 1998 to 2002 - Australian Childhood Immunisation Register Management Group
  • 1998 to 2002 - National Immunisation Committee (Australian Government)
  • 1999 to 2001 - General Practice Education and Training Council (Australian Government)
Other
  • 1994 - Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine (JCU)
  • 1991 - Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RACOG)
  • 1987 - MBBS (University of Melbourne)
  • 1981 - Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Technology), RMIT
Publications

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
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 70+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Sophie Couzos from 1981 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Department of Health - Pharmacy Trial Program

Integratetd Practice Pharmacists within Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

Indicative Funding
$1,040,046 over 3 years (administered by Pharmaceutical Society of Australia)
Summary
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience a much higher burden of disease due to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic health problems. Many deaths from these illnesses can be prevented if patients are better supported to take their medicines and prescribing quality is improved. This trial will explore if including a practice pharmacist in the primary health care team within Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHSs) leads to improvements in the quality of care that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive. Our trial will tell us if prescribing by doctors is improved, if patients are more likely to take their medicines, and if indicators of their health are improving over time.
Investigators
Sophie Couzos, Rhondda Jones, Emily Callander, Erik Biros, Deborah Smith, Michelle Bellingan, Beverley Glass, Priscilla Page, Donald Whaleboat, Robyn Preston, Nicole Bates, Douglas Boyle, Vicki Slinko, Roderick Wright, Nadia Lusis, Elizabeth Moore and Kathryn Panaretto (College of Medicine & Dentistry, Division of Tropical Health & Medicine, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Queensland Aboriginal & Islander Health Council, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory and Gidgee Healing Mount Isa Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services Ltd)
Keywords
Aboriginal Health; integrated health care; continuing quality improvement; Primary Health Care; practice pharmacist; community based participatory research
Collaboration

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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