Department of General Practice

In March 2020 we focused on MARC members from the Department General Practice in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.

Professor Danielle Mazza is the Head of the Department of General Practice at Monash, a Churchill Fellow and Director of SPHERE, a National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence which aims to improve the quality, safety, and capacity of primary health care services to achieve better outcomes in women’s sexual and reproductive health. Her primary interest is in translational research, with particular focus on closing evidence-practice gaps in women's sexual and reproductive health, preventive care, and primary care aspects of cancer.

Ranked among the top general practice academics in Australia, Professor Mazza is particularly committed to improving the quality of sexual and reproductive health care for women in general practice. She is leading a research program that is focused on closing evidence-practice gaps concerning contraception uptake, preconception care and unplanned pregnancy in Australia. She also currently holds several positions that reflect her longstanding commitment to improving health outcomes for Australian women. Professor Mazza has also made considerable contributions to the development and implementation of guidelines for Australian GPs. She is currently leading a national collaboration aimed at developing evidence-based guidelines to support GPs in diagnosing and managing work-related mental health claims.

Professor Grant Russell is a primary care clinician and health services researcher. He is the Professor of Primary Care Research and Director of the Southern Academic Primary Care Research Unit (SAPCRU) within the Department of General Practice at Monash University. SAPCRU aims to improve linkage and exchange between academia, policy, and practice in south-east Melbourne, one of Australia's most disadvantaged urban regions. Dr Russell is the Australian Lead Investigator of IMPACT, an Australian-Canadian Centre of Research Excellence. IMPACT aims to identify and trial what really matters in optimising access to community-based primary health care for vulnerable individuals. He also leads OPTIMISE, an NHMRC Partnership Project that aims to improve the quality of primary care services received by Australia's refugee population.

Dr Chris Barton is a senior lecturer in the Department of General Practice. He leads the department's research training program, which includes skills development, supervision and mentoring. He also oversees the delivery of a research training 'activity package' for the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to GP academic registrars participating in an academic post and RACGP Education Research Grant holders. His research with the Department of General Practice focuses on understanding patient experience of care for chronic disease and GPs experience of delivering care. His focus is the relational and affective aspects of care, exploring topics such as the doctor-patient relationship, communication, attitudes, stigma and trust. He has an ongoing interest in the emotional and social impact of chronic respiratory illnesses, including asthma and COPD amongst primary care patients and individuals living in the community. His research also encompasses studies of smoking cessation in primary care and the community, in particular, psychosocial aspects of smoking and identifying/testing strategies to support smoking cessation. He has expertise in primary care research methods and provides methodological input to a wide range of studies in primary care settings; also publishing in the areas of primary care research methods and research ethics.


Dr Liz Sturgiss is a clinical general practitioner and primary care researcher. Dr Sturgiss is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice, Monash University, and Visiting Fellow at The Australian National University. Dr Sturgiss leads an emerging research program on the management of complex and stigmatised health issues in primary care, focusing on translating guidelines into real-world practice. Her research is based on theoretical principles from behaviour change and implementation science. She is a practising GP in Melbourne, caring for people with substance dependence and complex multi-morbidity. As a clinical researcher, she has extensive networks with clinical primary care colleagues and in her representative roles with primary care organisations. Clinicians have implemented Dr Sturgiss's doctoral work on obesity management in general practice in the ACT and NSW. General practitioners (GPs) are the front-line for management of weight and obesity and her research has improved how GPs in NSW and ACT manage adult patients with obesity, by developing Australia's first evidence-based weight management program for general practice.

Dr Sturgiss is currently leading the 'Working with practitioners to reduce alcohol-related harm: embedding brief interventions in Victoria general practices' project along with fellow MARC members Prof Grant Russell, Prof Danielle Mazza, A/Prof Suzanne Nielsen, Dr Tina Lam and others.

Dr Pallavi Prathivadi is a newly Fellowed Academic GP who is currently undertaking her PhD full-time. Her mixed-methods research will inform the development of an intervention to improve primary care opioid prescribing. Dr Prathivadi commenced her PhD as a RACGP Academic Registrar in 2018 and has secured multiple competitive grants, scholarships and awards including being named RACGP's National General Practice Registrar of the Year in 2019. She has a longstanding interest in national and international opioid policy and reducing unsafe prescribing of opioids in Australia- especially in the management of chronic pain. Dr Prathivadi is also passionate about improving global access to opioids for palliative care and cancer and HIV/AIDS-related pain.

Dr Prathivadi was awarded a MARC PhD Top-up Scholarship in 2019 and also won 'Best Poster' at the MARC 2019 Symposium.