JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY
Research Field: Health systems research (Social Sciences)
Health services rarely perform as efficiently or as effectively as we would like them
to. With a focus on difficult-to-access and resource-poor settings, Associate Prof
Stephanie Topp’s research uses political and sociological theory and management
sciences to i) identify and define key health governance and workforce challenges
that impede the delivery of, or access to, high quality care and ii) develop strategies to
address those challenges.
In Australia her research is applying theories of accountability to lead a project
exploring the challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (A&TSI) Health
Workers when balancing concurrent and often conflicting obligations to community
members and health service employers.
She aims to highlight the governance-related barriers and necessary reforms to help
them integrate into the workforce. Internationally, Stephanie is leading a component
of a large US-government funded evaluation of community health worker programs
in Malawi that support HIV-positive pregnant women to access care. This work is
using development and health systems theory to identify scalable components of the
programs that may be incorporated into government policy.
Although working in very different settings, her focus is always on the systems of
governance that underpin high quality and accessible health care.