Tropical nations have some of the poorest levels of health worldwide, with tropical diseases accounting for 10% of the global disease burden, affecting more than 500 million people who may suffer from one or more tropical disease annually. At the same time the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia remains on a par with many Third World countries.
Improving health outcomes for Indigenous peoples is a priority for Australia. Action informed by research is essential to address these challenges. James Cook University is at the forefront in this national priority with international impact.
JCU’s College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences undertakes high quality and relevant teaching, research and training in population health, with a special focus on the tropics, northern Australia, Indigenous Australia and Australia’s near neighbours.
Tropical medicine as a discipline has a long and distinguished history in the northern Queensland region going back to the establishment of the Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine (AITM) in Townsville in 1910. It is now the Anton Breinl Research Centre for Health Systems Strengthening, and its research is almost 100% applied or decision linked.
Students and staff at JCU are creating a professional health force that can provide quality services to Indigenous Australian communities. Meanwhile, our researchers are forming greater understanding of tropical infectious diseases, leading to new methods of prevention and control.