James Ward

Associate Professor

  • 904 Citations
  • 17 h-Index
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Personal profile

Public Profile

Associate Professor James Ward has over 20 years of experience working within Aboriginal health and communities in Australia. He is a descendent of the Pitjantjatjara and Nurrunga clans of central and southern Australia and, in 2014 was appointed at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute as the Head of Infectious Diseases Research Program - Aboriginal Health. During the last five years he has progressed research in the areas of sexually transmissible infections (STIs), blood borne viruses (BBVs), vaccine preventable diseases and offender health. James is currently lead investigator for a Centre for Research Excellence in STIs and BBVs, a grant aiming to improve outcomes in Aboriginal communities caused by methamphetamine use and projects to develop and deliver co-ordinated sexual health education programs for Aboriginal communities living in remote and very remote areas to increase opportunistic STI testing in young Indigenous people.

James leads the Infectious Diseases Research: Aboriginal Health research group in the Infection and Immunity Theme at SAHMRI. This group conducts a program of research that is broad in scope, but unified around the goal of improving health outcomes in the areas of STIs and BBVs among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This research will investigate the ability of strategies, both novel and current best practice, to control STIs and BBVs in Aboriginal primary health care services, while addressing policy and clinically-relevant questions, translating these into policy and practice as well as building the next generation of researchers in this area of Aboriginal health.

Since 2010 he has led national research projects in Aboriginal health; sexually transmissible infections and blood borne viruses, including issues surrounding injecting drug use. Most notably the collection and completion of the STRIVE study which has collected clinical attendance, testing, positivity and prevalence data from 67 remote communities provides the most useful data for us to answer the question of how to best address the long standing endemic rates of STIs in remote communities. Similarly, he has recently completed the GOANNA study which collected knowledge, risk behaviour and health service access data from almost 3000 Aboriginal people aged 16-29 years which now gives us insight on areas that require strengthening in these domains. His work has influenced policy and practice significantly over the last five years contributing to national guidelines, and policy and practice.

James, is a member of Federal Ministerial Advisory Committees on BBVs and STIs and numerous committees including NSW and NT jurisdictional STI and HIV committees, and has a strong interest in building capabilities in communities to enable self-determination and control of Aboriginal peoples own health.  

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of New South Wales

Mar 2012Dec 2016

External positions

Matthew Flinders Fellow, Flinders University

30 Mar 2017 → …


  • R Medicine (General)
  • Aboriginal health
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • sexual health
  • blood-borne communicable diseases
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • hepatitis C virus
  • drugs of dependence
  • illicit drug use
  • epidemiology

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2010 2019

  • 904 Citations
  • 17 h-Index
  • 94 Article
  • 14 Review article
  • 5 Other report
  • 2 Comment/debate
23 Citations (Scopus)

Accelerating the elimination of viral hepatitis: a Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology Commission

The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology Commissioners, 1 Feb 2019, In : The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 4, 2, p. 135-184 50 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Citations (Scopus)

Aiming for the elimination of viral hepatitis in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands and Territories: Where are we now and barriers to meeting World Health Organization targets by 2030

Howell, J., Pedrana, A., Cowie, B. C., Doyle, J., Getahun, A., Ward, J., Gane, E., Cunningham, C., Wallace, J., Lee, A., Malani, J., Thompson, A. & Hellard, M. E., 1 Jan 2019, In : Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia). 34, 1, p. 40-48 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

A web-based therapeutic program (We Can Do This) for reducing methamphetamine use and increasing help-seeking among aboriginal and torres strait islander people: Protocol for a randomized wait-list controlled trial

Reilly, R., McKetin, R., Wand, H., Butt, J., Smout, M., Ezard, N., Conigrave, K., Clark, Y., Quinn, B., Treloar, C., Gray, D., Dunlop, A., Roe, Y. & Ward, J., 1 Jul 2019, In : Journal of Medical Internet Research. 21, 7, e14084.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Developing an ecological framework of factors associated with substance use and related harms among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Protocol for a systematic review

Snijder, M., Lees, B., Ward, J., Stearne, A. E., Newton, N. C. & Stapinski, L., 1 May 2019, In : BMJ open. 9, 5, e024418.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article