Researcher biography

Jon Willis is a medical anthropologist and social epidemiologist specialising in Indigenous and public health.

Jon Willis is an Associate Professor in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit at the University of Queensland, and Research Director of the University of Queensland Poche Centre for Indigenous Health. He has had a strong interest in Indigenous Australian health since his undergraduate training as an anthropologist at UNSW in the early 1980s. He worked for the Pitjantjatjara people of Central Australia from 1985-1997 as an applied anthropologist, and was responsible for the conduct and/or management of many research projects, including research into Indigenous uses of the built environment, the provision of community-based care and support to older people, and the investigation of native title for the protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage. He has given expert evidence in several native title cases, and served on several Ministerial Advisory Committees at State and National levels. He has a PhD from the Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health and Nutrition, focussed on Pitjantjatjara men’s practices of masculinity and sexual risk. Since the completion of his PhD, he worked as a Lecturer in Indigenous Health at the University of Queensland (1997-1999), as a Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (1999-2007), and as a Senior Lecturer in Public Health at La Trobe University Bendigo from 2007- 2012, where he taught epidemiology, social research methods and health psychology. He rejoined The University of Queensland in 2012 as Academic Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, and in 2016 transitioned to the role of Research Director in the University of Queensland Poche Centre for Indigenous Health.

His main publications have been about Aboriginal health culture, including in the areas of aged care, renal disease, palliative care, accidental death, and men's health and sexual culture. He has evaluated many regional, state and national level health programs for Indigenous Australians. His has also conducted mainstream public health social science research including studies in workplace health, pharmacists' knowledge of complementary medicine, the use of clinical pathways in emergency medicine, the use of psychiatric medications in prisons, the use of alternative therapies by perimenopausal women, HIV positive women's reproductive health decision-making, and the experience of women with reproductive and breast cancer risk.

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