Researcher biography

Professor James Ward is a Pitjantjatjara and Narungga man, and a national leader in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research. He is currently the Director of the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Professor within the School of Public Health at the University of Queensland. James has a long history working in Aboriginal communities, beginning as a men’s health educator for 29 remote communities in central Australia. Having held various roles in Aboriginal public health policy for both government and non-government organisations, in 2007 he was appointed as the Inaugural Program Head of the Aboriginal Program at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales. In 2012 he moved to Alice Springs to become Deputy Director of the Baker Institutes’ Aboriginal Health Program, after which he joined the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. In 2016 he completed his PhD focused on epidemiology of sexually transmissible infections in Aboriginal communities. James has been awarded funding applications totalling $23M since 2013; including $7.14M as CIA on NHMRC funded grants and has authored 100 publications. He has led national research projects in sexually transmissible infections and blood borne viruses, including issues surrounding injecting drug use. His work has influenced policy and practice significantly over the last five years contributing to national guidelines, and policy and practice. He has been instrumental in initiating and advocating for action to address an ongoing syphilis outbreak that affects predominantly young people living in remote communities which has resulted in $8.8M being allocated to address the outbreak.