Alex Brown

Alex Brown

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

Professor Alex Brown (BMed, MPH, PhD, FRACP (hon.), FCSANZ, FAAHMS) is the Aboriginal Health Equity Theme Leader at SAHMRI, and Professor of Medicine at the University of Adelaide.

Alex is an internationally leading Aboriginal clinician/researcher who has worked his entire career in Aboriginal health in the provision of public health services, infectious diseases and chronic disease care, health care policy and research. He has established three highly regarded research groups over the last 15 years, and currently leads a group of 58 staff (50% of whom identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians). Much of his work has been at the difficult interface of geographical isolation, complex cultural context, severe socioeconomic disadvantage, inequitable access to and receipt of care and profound health disparities, often where little or no research infrastructure previously existed. He has built a research career spanning public health, quantitative clinical epidemiology, mixed-method health service research, qualitative research, and implementation science, with an increasing focus on novel clinical trials in cardiometabolic disease within Indigenous communities.

He has led the development of a transdisciplinary program of research focused on documenting the burden and contributors to health inequality in Indigenous Australians, with a primary focus on cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes and cancer. Since commencing at SAHMRI 7 years ago, he has overseen the establishment of an integrated centre of excellence in Indigenous chronic disease and public health research. He leads projects in CVD epidemiology and policy; the social, clinical, and biological correlates of diabetes and its complications; intervention trials; documenting cancer inequalities and how best to overcome them; innovative mixed-methods primary care research; and evaluations of health care models, systems and programs.

Led by Professor Alex Brown, the Aboriginal Health Equity Theme aims to establish the nation’s leading research unit focused on reducing inequity in health and wellbeing among Australia’s First peoples, and the development of the next generation of Indigenous research leaders.

Our research is conducted under the following programs:


The Cardiometabolic Disease Research Program aims to understand the burden, causes, and consequences of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and mental illness from population levels, through to an individual biological and genetic level.


The Population Health Research Platform utilise epidemiological monitoring and data sciences to measure health inequalities, with a focus on the use of administrative data to support Aboriginal services and government agencies to better handle and understand existing data sources, and adequately manage and curate data of relevance to Aboriginal health and social outcomes in a culturally appropriate manner.


The Health Systems Research Platform delivers detailed health systems research in primary care, community care, and hospital settings, particularly in relation to access, utilisation, quality and outcome inequalities for Indigenous Australians.


The Implementation Science Platform incorporates a systems view and Indigenous knowledges to deliver mixed-method, inter-disciplinary perspectives which aim to generate policy and practice-based evidence to deliver innovative health solutions which integrate the social determinants of health and wellbeing.


The Aboriginal Health Equity Theme will extend and formalise its unique research capacity activities to establish a platform to comprehensively and adaptively train and develop the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research leaders. The program will operationalise the understanding that cultural and research expertise can synergistically support one another, developing innovative ways to respond to issues of most importance to Aboriginal communities.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2013 - ongoing Professorial Academic Status Holder Flinders University
    2013 - 2017 Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation
    2013 - ongoing Adjunct Professor University of Adelaide
    2012 - ongoing Deputy Director, Aboriginal Health Equity Theme Leader South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
    2012 - 2016 Professor of Population Health and Research Chair Aboriginal Health University of South Australia
    2010 - ongoing Adjunct Professor Monash University
    2010 - ongoing Fellow (Honorary) Royal Australasian College of Physicians
    2007 - 2012 Executive Director Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute
    2006 - ongoing Fellow Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2017 Invitation Invited Speaker – Diabetes Related complications in Disadvantaged communities International Conference on Diabetes and Associated Diseases Mauritius -
    2017 Invitation Invited Speaker – Health Inequalities and overcoming them in Indigenous Australia Global Health Summit - North America Regional Meeting Canada -
    2017 Invitation Invited Speaker – Update on the END RHD CRE CSANZ Annual Scientific Meeting Australia -
    2017 Invitation Invited Speaker – Lipids and Aboriginal Health Clinical Lipidology Council of the AAS and CSANZ, CSANZ Annual Meeting Australia -
    2017 Invitation Invited Speaker – Diabesity and the Growing Epidemic Australia and New Zealand Diabesity Symposium New Zealand -
    2017 Invitation Plenary Speaker – Aboriginal CVD Aboriginal Healthy Hearts Research Workshop Australia -
    2016 Invitation Invited Speaker – Where is Aboriginal Health Most Likely to Gain 4th National Aboriginal Health Summit - Adelaide Australia -
    2016 Invitation Invited Speaker – Building a Translational Research program in Aboriginal Health WA Academic Health Translation Network Australia -
    2016 Invitation Invited Speaker – Cancer Disparities in Aboriginal Australians Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer - Adelaide Australia -
    2016 Invitation Invited Speaker - CVD in Indigenous Australians Korean Society of Cardiology ASM - Seoul Korea, Republic of -
    2016 Invitation Plenary Speaker – Psychosocial Determinants of Health in Indigenous Australians International Congress of Behavioural Medicine - Melbourne Australia -
    2016 Invitation Keynote Speaker – Reducing Inequalities in Aboriginal Health He Huliau - Honolulu United States -
    2013 Fellowship Viertel Senior Medical Research Fellowship - Australia -
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2005 - 2009 University of Queensland - School of Population Health Australia PhD
    1998 - 1999 Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine Israel Masters of Public Health
    1990 - 1995 University of Newcastle Australia Australia Bachelor of Medicine
  • Research Interests

Grant Reference/ID Named Investigators, Grant Type, Title Year Amount
Medical Research Future Fund Brown et al. Indigenous Capacity and Chronic Disease Systems Development. 2018 $350,000
SA Health Brown et al. The SA Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium. 2017-2019 $995,000
National Heart Foundation Clark, R., Brown, A., Daniel, M. & Coffee, N. T. The Tracker Study: exploring the activity levels and utilisation of healthcare services of patients in the first 30 days after discharge from hospital for Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), comparing patients who live in areas with high and low levels of access to health care services. 2017 $75,000
Commonwealth Department of Health Davy, Bruanuck-Meyer, Brown et al…Models that address consumer choice and direction related issues in Indigenous organisations in rural and remote areas. 2017-2019 $1,290,000
Sanofi Brown, Nicholls. Evaluating the efficacy and adherence of administration of the PCSK9 inhibitor alirocumab in Aboriginal patients with hypercholesterolaemia. IMPACT-LDL. 2017-2019 $633,500
Wyatt Trustees (SA) Brown et al. Pathways through Socioeconomic Disadvantage. 2017-2020 $1,000,000
Lowitja Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Mitchell, Brown et al. Stress and Resilience in the Aboriginal health and Social Services Workforce.. 2018-2019 $289,000
NHMRC Research Fellowship APP1137563 Brown. Understanding and Overcoming Cardiovascular and Diabetes Inequalities in Indigenous Australians. 2018-2022 $707,370.00
NHMRC Project APP1129796 Brown et al. Examining the impact of Language Reclamation on Social and Emotional Well Being among the Barngarla. 2017-2021 $1,111,633.10

NHMRC Targeted Call


Middleton et al. Brown CIH. Improving nutrition and health outcomes for women and babies in the Aboriginal Family Birthing Program. 2016-2021 $975,880.
NHMRC Partnership App1132367 Wright, Brown et al. Looking Forward - Moving Forward Project: Transforming systems to improve mental health and drug and alcohol outcomes for Aboriginal peoples 2016-2021 $1,304,000.


Project Grant 1086386

Brown et al. Predicting Renal, Ophthalmic, and Heart Events in the Aboriginal Community – THE PROPHECY Study. 2015-2019 $2,466,000


Project Grant 1078333

Maple-Brown, Brown (CIB) et al. Pregnancy and Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia (PANDORA) Cohort. 2015-2019 $2,295,624.70
NHMRC CRE 1080401 Carapetis et al. Brown CIG. The END RHD CRE: Developing an endgame for rheumatic heart disease in Australia. 2015-2019 $2,500,000
NHMRC CRE CIA Keech et al. (Brown CID) Diabetic Retinopathy - Closing the Loop for Diabetic Eye Care and Complication Risk Mitigation. 2015-2019 $2,500,000


Project Grant 1068407

Brown, Nicholls et al. Aboriginal Cardiovascular OMEGA-3 randomised controlled trial (AC-Omega 3 Trial). 2014-2016 $1,057,247
NHMRC Partnership Grant 1072243 Brown et al. Cancer Data and Aboriginal Disparities – CanDAD. 2014-2017 $1,034,270

NHMRC 1061242

Centre of Research Excellence

Brown, Braunack-Mayer, et al. Innovation in the Synthesis and Translation of Research Evidence to Inform the Prevention, Management and Treatment of Chronic Disease in Indigenous Populations - CREATE. 2013-2018 $2,500,000
Sylvia and Charles Viertel Foundation Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation Senior Medical Research Fellowship. 2013-2017 $1,225,000
NHMRC 1044897 Centre of Research Excellence Stewart, Brown et al. NHMRC – Centre for Research Excellence in Overcoming Disparities in CVD. 2013-2017 $2,500,000
NHMRC 1051824 Project Grant Daniel …Brown (CIH). Iinvestigating social, built and physical environment factors for remote indigenous communities, and their relationship with cardio metabolic outcomes. NHMRC 2013-2016 $1,113,000.00
NHMRC Partnership Grant 1032116 Maple-Brown, Brown et al. Diabetes in Pregnancy. 2012-2016 $1,500,000
NHMRC Targeted Call APP 1115534 Middleton…Brown (CIH). Improving nutrition and health outcomes for women and babies in the Aboriginal Family Birthing Program. 2016-2020 $975,881.00
GACD APP1092968 Maple-Brown, Brown…Improving the management of Diabetes in Pregnancy in Remote Australia. GACD 2016-2020 $2,115,000
NHMRC Partnership APP1092092 Cass…Brown (CIF). To improve the quality and access to dialysis treatments by Indigenous Australians from remote areas by using a patient-centred approach to determine the cost-effectiveness of treatment models that include the health, social and economic impact. 2014-2017 $1,160,000
Verizon Charitable Trust Brown et al. The South Australian Childhood Rheumatic Heart Disease Screening Programme. 2014-2016 $425,000
Heart Foundation 100749 Brown et al…What is the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients in hospital following an acute cardiac event [Communicate]. 2014-2016 $150,000
SA Health Brown et al. Developing the SA Aboriginal Diabetes and Heart and Stroke Plans and Review of CTG Investments in SA. 2015-2016 $475,000
Heart Foundation Vangaurd 100603 Klienig T, Brown A et al. South Australia and Northern Territory Stroke Study (initial phase) (SAiNTSS1): Indigenous vs Non-Indigenous stroke incidence, mortality and disease burden. 2015 $74,000.
Northern Adelaide LHN Brown et al. Review of Kanga Woddli and NALHN Aboriginal primary Care. 2014-2015 $30,000
APHCRI CRE Brown et al. Centre of Research Excellence in Indigenous Primary Care Intervention Research in Chronic Disease. 2012-2015 $2,500,000.


Project Grant 1027040

Carapetis, Brown et al. Improving delivery of secondary prophylaxis for rheumatic heart disease. 2012-2014 $1,575,000
NHMRC Partnership Grant 1016691 Bursell, Brown, Jenkins, Rowley et al. Telemedicine in Indigenous Health. 2010-2014 $1,200,000

NHMRC 1006051

Project Grant

Brown, Carrington, Zeitz, Thompson, Eades. The Central Australian Heart Protection Study RCT. 2011-2015 $1,830,401


623810 Project Grant

Cass, Brown, Rodgers, Hayman, Usherwood, Peiris, Burke. A trial of the Polypill compared to usual care among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at high CVS risk. 2010-2014 $1,812,175.


  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2022 Co-Supervisor Applied Indigenous Genomics Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Dawn Alison Lewis
    2021 Co-Supervisor Prevalence, incidence, persistence and clearance of oral HPV infection among Indigenous Australians Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Nicolas Eamonn Reid
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2021 Co-Supervisor The Impact Of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea On The Mechanisms In The Vessel Wall That Promote Atherosclerosis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Jordan Andrews
    2019 - 2023 Principal Supervisor Knowledge to Action: Addressing the social determinants of health to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Wellbeing Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Tina Louise Brodie
    2016 - 2023 Co-Supervisor Researching Research: Redressing power imbalances in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Leda Caitlin Sivak
    Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf Ross Roberts-Thomson
    2015 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Utilisation of Primary Health Care Services by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Justin Canuto
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2016 - 2018 Chair Aboriginal Health University of South Australia, Sansom Institute for Health Research Australia
    2010 - ongoing Member Australian Health Survey, Indigenous Technical Panel Australian Bureau of Statistics Australia
    2009 - 2010 Member National Heart Foundation and Ausytralian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Disparities in Hospital Care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders with CVD Project (DiHCP) National Heart Foundation Australia
    2008 - 2012 Member National Indigeonous Health Equality Council National Indigeonous Health Equality Council Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2016 - 2016 Chair Haboriginal Health University of South Australia Australia
    2016 - ongoing Member 2016 CSANZ Scientific Committee - Australia
    2014 - ongoing Member NHMRC Principal Committee Indigenous Caucus NHMRC Australia
    2014 - 2014 Member Scientific Committee International Society for Cardiovascular Pharmacology Australia
    2013 - ongoing Member Indigenous Research Committee The University of Adelaide Australia
    2013 - 2017 Member Aboriginal Health Research Ethics Committee Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia Australia
    2012 - 2015 Member NHMRC Research Committee (Ministerial Appointee) NHMRC Australia
    2010 - 2015 Member NHMRC Indigenous Grant Review Panel NHMRC Australia
    2009 - 2014 Chair Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, Indigenous Cardiovascular Council Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, Indigenous Cardiovascular Council Australia
    2009 - 2012 Member Indigenous Chronic Disease Implementation Committee Department of Human Services (VIC) Australia
    2008 - ongoing Member RHD Australia Executive and Chief Investigator RHD Australia Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2017 - ongoing Member NHMRC Academy Member Australia
    2013 - ongoing Member SA RHD Control Program Australia
    2012 - 2015 Member SA Cardiac Clinical Network Australia
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2014 - 2015 AIHW Australian Burden of Disease Advisory Committee Health services and related Australia
    2014 - 2014 2014 National Diabetes Strategy Working Group National Diabetes Health services and related Australia
    2014 - 2014 Indisenous Cardiovascular Health Indigenous Cardiovascular Health Health services and related Australia
    2013 - 2016 QIMR-Berghoffer Indigenous Health Research Advisory Committee Berghofer Medical Research Institute Cultural or historical Australia
    2013 - 2014 Australian Health Ministers Advisory Committee Better Cardiac Care Project Health services and related Australia
    2013 - 2013 Indigenous Diabetes Indigenous Diabetes Health services and related Australia
    2013 - ongoing Health Performance Council SA - Health services and related Australia
    2013 - ongoing Heart Foundation Lighthouse Hospital Project Health services and related Australia
    2012 - ongoing Aboriginal Advisory Group The Menzies School of Health Research Advocacy Australia
    2010 - 2014 Diabetes Advisory Group Diabetes Advisory Group Health services and related Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2015 - ongoing Associate Editor Epidemiology and Genetics Journal Global Health Australia
    2010 - 2011 Member Absolute Risk Guidelines NVPDA Australia
    2010 - 2011 Member NHMRC Guidelines (T2DM and CVD) NHMRC Australia
    2009 - 2014 Editor Indigenous Health, Heart Lung and Circulation Indigenous Health, Heart Lung and Circulation Australia

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