Winthrop Professor Sandra Thompson

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  • Selected Publications
  • Grants
  • Awards


Director Dr Sandra Thompson

 Professor, Rural and Remote Health

BSc(Med)(Hons) UNSW, MBBS (Hons) UNSW,
PhD University of Newcastle Australia, MPH (Monash),
GradDipHlthMgt (UNE), FAFPHM
P: (08) 9956 0208
M: 0407 592 740
F: (08) 9964 2096

E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Professional Background

Dr Sandra Thompson is a public health physician with a background in science, medicine and public health. Dr Thompson assumed directorship of the Combined Universities Centre for Rural Health in February 2010.  She is also Professor of Rural Health at The University of Western Australia.

She has a strong background in communicable disease control. Her current primary research interests include health services research around chronic disease (particularly cardiovascular disease and cancer), improvement of primary health care delivery in rural areas, Aboriginal health and social determinants, attraction and retention of health professionals in country areas and community capacity building through partnership and strong networks.

She is interested in enhancing student placements in rural areas, so that students have the opportunity to gain different skills and knowledge than they would necessarily acquire in an urban teaching environment. She has encouraged the adoption of service learning as an approach whereby students contribute to local communities while they learn and are supported, a reciprocity that works to strengthen regional communities while enabling students to understand the pleasure that come from using their skills to help meet unmet need in others. Service learning has been an approach adopted and strongly supported by the Australian Rural Health Education Network (ARHEN), an organisation which facilitates the collaboration of the University Departments of Rural Health around Australia and for which Professor Thompson is currently the Board Chair.







































Selected Publications

Christou, A., & Thompson, S. C. (2013). Missed opportunities in educating Aboriginal Australians about bowel cancer screening: whose job is it anyway? Contemporary Nurse. doi: 10.5172/conu.2013.4084

Daly, J., & Thompson, S. (2013). On being an editor. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 37(1), 3. doi: 10.1111/1753-6405.12001

Durey, A., Lin, I., & Thompson, D. (2013). ‘It’s a different world out there’: Improving how academics prepare health science students for rural and Indigenous practice in Australia. Higher Education Research & Development, 32(5), 722-733. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2013.777035

Gausia, K., Thompson, S. C., Nagel, T., Rumbold, A., Connors, C., Matthews, V., . . . Bailie, R. (2013). Antenatal Emotional Wellbeing Screening in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care Services in Australia. Contemporary Nurse, [in press].

Govil, D., Lin, I., Dodd, T., Cox, R., Moss, P., Thompson, S., & Maiorana, A. (2013). Identifying culturally appropriate strategies for coronary heart disease secondary prevention in a regional Aboriginal Medical Service. Australian Journal of Primary Health. doi: 10.1071/py12117

Lee, S. K., Sulaiman-Hill, C. M. R., & Thompson, S. C. (2013). Providing health information for culturally and linguistically diverse women: priorities and preferences of new migrants and refugees. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 24, 98-103. doi: 10.1071/HE12919

Nattabi, B., Li, J., Thompson, S. C., Orach, C. G., & Earnest, J. (2012). Between a rock and a hard place: stigma and the desire to have children among people living with HIV in northern Uganda. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 15(2), 1-11. doi: 10.7448/IAS.15.2.17421

Shahid, S., Bessarab, D., van Schaik, K. D., Aoun, S. M., & Thompson, S. C. (2013). Improving palliative care outcomes for Aboriginal Australians: service providers' perspectives. BMC Palliat Care, 12(1), 26. doi: 10.1186/1472-684x-12-26

Shahid, S., Durey, A., Bessarab, D., Aoun, S. M., & Thompson, S. C. (2013). Identifying barriers and improving communication between cancer service providers and Aboriginal patients and their families: the perspective of service providers. BMC Health Services Research, 13(1), 460. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-460

Sulaiman-Hill, C., & Thompson, S. C. (2012). ‘Thinking Too Much’ - Psychological distress, sources of stress and coping strategies of resettled Afghan and Kurdish refugees. J Muslim Mental Health, VI(2), 63-86.

Sulaiman-Hill, C. M., & Thompson, S. C. (2013). Learning to fit in: an exploratory study of general perceived self efficacy in selected refugee groups. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 15(1), 125-131. doi: 10.1007/s10903-011-9547-5

Sulaiman-Hill, C. M. R., & Thompson, S. C. (2012). Afghan and Kurdish refugees, 8–20 years after resettlement, still experience psychological distress and challenges to well being. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(2), 126-234. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2011.00778.x

Taylor, K. P., Bessarab, D., Hunter, L., & Thompson, S. C. (2013). Aboriginal-mainstream partnerships: exploring the challenges and enhancers of a collaborative service arrangement for Aboriginal clients with substance use issues. BMC Health Services Research, 13(1), 12. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-13-12

Thackrah, R. D., & Thompson, S. C. (2013a). 'Friendly racism’ and white guilt: midwifery students’ engagement with Aboriginal content in their program. Forum on Public Policy, 9(2).

Thackrah, R. D., & Thompson, S. C. (2013b). Refining the concept of cultural competence: building on decades of progress. Medical Journal of Australia, 199(1), 35-38. doi: 10.5694/mja13.10499

Thompson, S. C., & Daly, J. (2012). Help yourself by helping us: responding to reviewers' comments. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36(3), 203-204. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2012.00864.x

Thompson, S. C., Woods, J. A., & Katzenellenbogen, J. M. (2012). The Quality of Indigenous Identification in Administrative Health Data in Australia: Insights from Studies Using Data Linkage. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 12, 133. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-12-133

van Schaik, K. D., & Thompson, S. C. (2012). Indigenous beliefs about biomedical and bush medicine treatment efficacy for indigenous cancer patients: a review of the literature. Internal Medicine Journal, 42(2), 184-191. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-5994.2011.02598.x

Woods, J. A., Katzenellenbogen, J. M., Davidson, P. M., & Thompson, S. C. (2012). Heart failure among Indigenous Australians: a systematic review. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, 12(1), 99. doi: 10.1186/1471-2261-12-99

NHMRC Grants

Lehmann D, Stanley FJ, Eades S, de Klerk N, Gray D, Gilles M, Slack-Smith L, Larson A, Thompson SC, Watson C. Not just scholars but leaders: learning circles in Indigenous health research. NHMRC Capacity Building Grant ID323213, February 2005- Jan 2010, $2,500,000.
Eades S, Bailey S, Banks E, Butow P, Cass A, D’Este C, Jan S, Kaldor J, Kippax S, Leask J, McIntyre P, Nutbeam D, Redman S, Sanson-Fisher R, Thompson S. Making a difference: building research capacity for health interventions to improve Aboriginal health. NHMRC Capacity Building Grant ID 457279, January 2007- Dec 2012, $2,317,125.
Thompson SC, Hobbs M, Sanfilippo F, Thompson PL, Eades F, Briffa T; AIs Dimer, Gilles, Leahy, Jones. Management of coronary heart disease in the Indigenous population in Western Australia: from information to action. NHMRC 479222. 2008-2010 Total Cost $950,000
Piek J, Vicary D, Wynaden D, Bessarab D, Davidson P, Downie J, Hayward C, Thompson SC. Building Mental Wealth: Improved mental health for better health outcomes among Indigenous Australians. NHMRC ID 533547.2009-2013 $2,376.000
Butler T, Carruthers S, Thompson SC, Cheng W, Jones J. Hepatitis C, Prisons and Treatment Opportunities (HePATO). NHMRC ID 594444 2010-2011. 2010 $193,438; 2011 $52,125. Total=$240,000

Other Competitive Grants

Thompson SC, Thomas K, Howat P, Bishop B, Mallard J, Threlfall TJ. Cancer matters: Aboriginal beliefs about cancer and views of cancer treatment services. ID 425525 The Cancer Council of Western Australia 2007, $60,000
Thompson SC, Eades F, Dimer L, Ali M. Beating longer, beating stronger: improving cardiac rehabilitation and building partnerships to reduce hospitalisation and mortality in Aboriginal people with heart disease. State Health Research Advisory Committee 2007/2008 $100,000
Bartlett P, Davis R, Ukrich V, Eades F, Thompson SC. Department of Health and Ageing (administered through NDRI). Evaluating the management of alcohol-related problems among urban Aboriginal People in Western Australia: using an action research approach to enhance service delivery and collaboration for client care. 2007/2008 Total $225,000
Thompson SC, McManus A, James R. Good news stories: Using the media to improve Aboriginal health. Healthway Research Project Grant 2008 $104,750; 2009 $102,000; 2010 $102,000 Total $308,750
Thompson S (research leader). Strategic Research Capacity Funding, Curtin University. To augment current capacity in Aboriginal health research through recruitment of a senior Aboriginal academic. This funding has enabled the appointment of Associate Professor Dawn Bessarab 2008 – 2011
Thompson S. "It's not rocket science": improving cultural safety in health care for Aboriginal people. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations – Diversity and Structural Adjustment G Fund. $1.2m to Curtin University 2009-2011
Thompson S, McManus A. Successful application to Healthway for the 2009Health Promotion Visiting Research Fellow, Nancy Poole. $34,765
Finn L, Bessarab D, Thompson S. Development of an effective bi-cultural collaborative and partnership model between an Indigenous Women’s Cancer Support Group and mainstream cancer and palliative care services. WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network. 2009, $17,052
Thompson S. An Investigation into enhancing Aboriginal participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in Western Australia. WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network. 2009, $66,000
Thompson S, Ali M, Davidson P, Maiorana A. Community-based cardiac rehabilitation for Indigenous patients with heart disease: an investigation of feasibility, acceptability and costs. Curtin Internal Research grant 2009-2010 $12,000




2010 - Curtin University Award for highest Research Performance Index in Faculty of Health Sciences in 2009

2007 - National Carrick Award for Australian University Teaching: Postgraduate education

2006 - Curtin University Excellence and Innovation on Teaching Award: Postgraduate Program in International Health

1995 - Harold Hopkins Award, Victorian Hospitals Superannuation Board

1994 - Advanced Trainees Prize, Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine






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