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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Professor Ross Spark

Date posted: 31 January 2013

The team at the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet would like to express sincere condolences to Professor Ross Spark's wife, Kim, other family members, friends and colleagues. Ross Spark (1954-2013) passed away suddenly on 28 January 2013, in Cairns Base Hospital.

Ross, who originally trained as a school teacher, had a long and distinguished career in health promotion, public health and tropical medicine. He held undergraduate degrees (BEd, BA) from the University of Queensland, a Masters degree in Science (Public Health) from the University of Oregon and a PhD from the School of Public Health at Curtin University in Perth.

After working for the Queensland Department of Education, Ross moved to Perth in the late 1980s to complete a PhD and teach graduate and post graduate programs in health promotion at Curtin University. His PhD focused on Aboriginal community health promotion in the Kimberley.

For several years, he worked in Darwin as Director of Health Promotion for the Northern Territory Department of Health and Community Services and pioneered the development of health promotion and public health programs in Aboriginal communities.

Ross established the Tropical Public Health Unit in North Queensland in 1992, and was the Director of the Unit until 2007. He then worked as a health advisor for AusAID at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam until 2008.

After he returned to Australia, he worked as Deputy Director of the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. In December 2010, he returned to Cairns and worked as Head of the School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University.

During his career, Ross wrote and published books on health promotion and public health, and in the days prior to his death he completed a revised edition of one his most successful books Health promotion strategies and methods.

Many of Ross' publications are included in the HealthInfoNet bibliography

The School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, James Cook University, has set up a Memorial Fund in Ross' memory to support Indigenous Students, for details please see the JCU website.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet team


School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences
James Cook University
Cairns Campus
Cairns Qld 4870
Ph: (07) 4042 1449
Fax: (07) 4042 1216


Last updated: 31 January 2013
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