Professor Kirsty Douglas

Director, Academic Unit of General Practice, ACT Health
Professor - General Practice, ANU Medical School
(PA - Brigid Cassells E:

Kirsty is Professor of General Practice at the ANU Medical School and Director of the Academic Unit of General Practice at ACT Health. In addition she is currently President of the Australasian Association of Academic Primary Care.

Kirsty completed her initial medical training at the University of Adelaide and then undertook doctoral studies at Oxford, prior to returning to Australia in 1993. Kirsty completed her GP specialist training in Canberra and has happily remained here ever since with her husband and 4 kids.

Kirsty has spent 22 years working in clinical general practice in the ACT, including 12 years in private practice in Yarralumla also 8 years working as a senior doctor at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, and 3 years at Interchange General Practice.  She has worked as an after-hours locum GP in Canberra and as a GP locum in remote WA. This range of experience has given her a deep understanding of how the health system operates at the coalface which has informed her research and management agendas.

Kirsty’s academic roles have spanned the University of Sydney, the Australian National University Medical School and the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute. Her early academic career had a very strong focus on medical education and curriculum development and she was instrumental in helping to establish the ANU Rural Clinical School. Over the last decade she has spent two significant periods in the ANU medical school and has spent time as Associate Dean for Rural and Community, Associate Dean of Medical Education and Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning (Phase 2). She has always maintained her clinical practice and has been an active supervisor in the regional GP registrar training program.

In 2008 Kirsty became the Acting Director at the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI). During her 10 months as Acting Director the Institute funded 7 streams of research worth over $2.8 million and underwent a major independent review prior to negotiation of a new funding contract. Kirsty took an opportunity to return to active research in 2009 as a research fellow at APHCRI and she was involved in health services research with a focus on workforce, chronic disease management in general practice and translation of research evidence into policy and practice. Kirsty developed a strong interest in the role of spatial-analysis and mapping in primary health care research and led APHCRI’s development work on GRAPHIC.

Kirsty President of the Australasian Association of Primary Care (AAAPC), sits on the ANU Medical School Executive Committee, Capital Health Network GP Advisory Group, ACT Health representative - GP Synergy Murrumbidgee and ACT Advisory Council, ACT Research Strategy Committee. Kirsty is passionate about general practice and the role of primary care in high quality equitable and sustainable health care systems.


  • General Practice

Research interests

  • Primary Health Care
  • Public Health And Health Services
  • Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Health
  • Health And Community Services
  • Family Care

Peer reviewed grants last 5 years

$58,000 Canberra Hospital Private Practice Fund 2015. Enhancing quality and safety through guidelines in chronic disease management. Kirsty Douglas, Christine Phillips, Sally Hall,

$49,980. Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute Foundation Grant Cat A funding. 2014. An implementation pilot study of “The Change Program” a GP delivered weight loss program for adults in primary care.  Elizabeth Sturgiss, Kirsty Douglas, Sonia Res, Duncan McKinnon

$50,000. Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute Foundation Grant Cat A funding. 2014. Experiencing integration; a pilot study of consumer and provider experiences of integrated primary health care. Michelle Bamfield, Paresh Dawda, Darlene Cox, Ian McCrae, Kirsty Douglas.

$150,000.  Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute Cat A funding 2014. Integration in Primary Health Care: Organisational Process or Patient Outcome or Both? Lessons from the first generation of integrated primary health care centres.  Kirsty Douglas, Sally Hall, Christine Phillips  Marianne Bookallil.

$19,893.  RACGP/Independent Practitioner Network Pty Ltd (IPN) Research Grant. 2013. Treating adult obesity in general practice: – developing a weight management strategy for general practitioners. Elizabeth Sturgess, Kirsty Douglas Alexander Stevenson.

$387,140.  NHMRC 2011 Partnership Project. Application no 1036858 Potentially Preventable Hospitalizations – CIA Louisa Jorm, KA Douglas CIE.

Recent publications

  • People-centred integration in a refugee primary care service: a complex adaptive systems perspective. Phillips C, Hall S. Elmitt N, Bookallil M, Douglas K. Journal of Integrated Care Manuscript 2017 Vol. 25 Issue: 1, pp.26-38, 
  • Feasibility and acceptability of a general practitioner delivered weight management program. Sturgiss E, Elmitt N, Haesler E, Van Weel C, Douglas K. Family practice 2017; 34(1): 43-8
  • Experiencing Integration: A qualitative study of consumer and provider experiences of integrated primary health care in Australia. Bamfield M, Jowsey T, Parkinson A, Douglas K, Dawda P. BMC family practice 2017; 18(1): 2.
  • Increasing general practitioners' confidence and self-efficacy in managing obesity: a mixed methods study. Sturgiss E, Haesler E, Elmitt N, van Weel C, Douglas K. BMJ open 2017; 7(1): e014314.
  • Therapeutic alliance and obesity management in primary care – a cross sectional pilot using the Working Alliance Inventory Sturgiss E, Sargent G, Haesler E, Rieger E, Douglas K. Clinical Obesity 2016;6(6): 376-9
  • Obesity Management: Where has the general practitioner gone? Sturgiss E,  Bell L, Jansen S, Van Weel C, Douglas K. Australian Journal of Primary Health. Nov 2017 22(6) 473-476
  • A collaborative process for developing a weight management toolkit for general practitioners in Australia – an intervention development study using the Knowledge to Action framework”  Sturgiss E, Douglas K, Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 2016;2:20.
  • Synthesis of selected national Australian guidelines on the management of adult patients who are overweight or obese in General Practice. Sturgiss E, Douglas K, Res S, Kathage R. Australian Family Physician , 2016:45(5):327-33.
  • The role of the family doctor in the management of adults who are obese: a scoping review protocol.  Sturgiss E, Elmitt N, Van Weel C, Haesler E, Sargent G, Stevenson A, Harris M, Douglas KA. SpringerPlus Open Journal 2015 4/820. DOI10.1186/s40064-015-1647-6
  • Increasing Pap Smear Rates at an Urban Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service through translational research and continuous quality improvement. Dorrington MS, Herceg A, Douglas K, Tongs J, Bookallil M. Aust J Primary Health Feb 2015 DOI10.1071/PY14088
  • Sexual abuse of doctors by doctors: professionalism, complexity and the potential for healing. Louise E Stone, Kirsty Douglas, Imogen Mitchell and Beverley Raphael. Med J Aust 2015; 203 (4): 170-171.doi: 10.5694/mja15.00378
  • Socio-demographic and health characteristics, rather than primary care supply, are major drivers of geographic variation in preventable hospitalisations in Australia. Falster MO, Leyland A, Elliott R, Douglas K, Blythe F, Jorm L.  Medical Care 2015  53:5:436-45.
  • Smoking and potentially preventable hospitalisation: the benefit of smoking cessation in older ages. Tran B, Falster MO, Douglas K, Blyth F and Jorm LR. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2015 150:85-91
  • Are "part-time" general practitioners workforce idlers or committed professionals? Kathryn M Dwan, Kirsty A Douglas, Laura E Forrest BMC Family Practice 2014, 15:154 (19 September 2014).
  • Undiagnosed diabetes: An approach to identifying communities with high likelihood of undiagnosed diabetes.  Nasser Bagheri, Ian McRae, Paul Konings, Danielle Butler, Kirsty Douglas, Peter Del Fante and Robert Adams. BMJ Open 2014;4:e005305 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005305
  • What motivates Australian health service users with chronic illness to engage in self-management behavior. Jowsey T, Yen L, Pearce-Brown C, Douglas K. Health Expectations  2014 Vol 17:2:267-77
  • Health behaviours and potentially preventable hospitalisation: a prospective study of older Australian adults. Bich Tran, Michael O Falster, Kirsty Douglas, Fiona Blyth and Louisa R Jorm. PLOS ONE: April 01, 2014; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0093111
  • Recruiting GPs for surveys: Reflections on the difficulties and some lessons learned.  Anne Parkinson, Louisa Jorm; Kirsty A Douglas; Alison Gee; Ginny Sargent; Sanja Lujic; Ian McRae.  Australian Journal of Primary Health 3 March 2014.
  • Investigating the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Indigenous kindergarten children, screened in the ACT from 2004-2008: Megan Hickie, Kirsty Douglas, Karen Ciszek. Aust Fam Physician. 2013 Jul;42(7):497-500
  • Obesity and asthma at school entry: comorbidities and temporal trends.  Santhamma James; Anne-Louise Ponsonby; Angela; Antony Lafferty; Nicholas Glasgow; Karen Ciszek; Marjan Kljakovic; Kirsty Douglas. J Paediatr Child Health. 2013 Apr;49(4):E273-80. doi: 10.1111/jpc.12160. Epub 2013 Mar 21.
  • Untreated hypertension: prevalence and patient factors and beliefs associated with under-treatment in a population sample. Appleton SL, Neo C, Hill CL, Douglas KA, Adams RJ. J Hum Hypertens. 2013 Jul;27(7):453-62. doi: 10.1038/jhh.2012.62. Epub 2012 Dec 13
  • Assessing Preventable Hospitalisation InDicators (APHID): protocol for a data-linkage study using cohort study and administrative data: Louisa R Jorm, Alastair H Leyland, Fiona M Blyth, Robert F Elliott, Kirsty A Douglas, Sally Redman. BMJ Open 2012;2:e002344 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002344
  • Patient affiliation with GP’s in Australia – who is and who is not and does it matter? McRae I, Yen L, Gillespie J, Douglas K, Health Policy 2011 Vol 103, issue 1 16-23
  • Chronic disease management items in general practice: a population-based study of variation in claims by claimant characteristics. Kirsty A Douglas, Laurann E Yen, Rosemary J Korda, Marjan Kljakovic and Nicholas J Glasgow. Medical Journal of Australia 2011; 195: 198–202
  • A local study of costs for private allied health in Australian Primary Health Care: variability and policy implications. Carmen L Pearce-Brown, Laurie Grealish, Ian S McRae, Kirsty A Douglas, Laurann Yen, Robert W Wells, and Susan J Wareham. Australian Journal of Primary Health 2011;17(2):131-4.

Current Research Supervision

Chair of the PhD panel for

Ms Sally Hall – Developing an ecological theory of variation in health care

Dr Elizabeth Sturgiss – GP led Management of Obesity

Dr Penny Burns – GP and the health consequences of Disasters

Ms Phillipa Dossetor – Health Service Use and Needs of Children in the Remote Fitzroy Valley

Academic Registrar Supervision

Dr Stephen Martin – Nutrition education in a post graduate medical curriculum

Dr Kathleen O’Brien – Physical activity and Strengths and Difficulties – a retropective analysis of the Kindergarten Health Screen data

Dr Niral Shah – Teaching medical students and GP Supervisors Clinical Audit.