Liz Sturgiss

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

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Research activity per year

Personal profile


A/Prof Liz Sturgiss is a clinical general practitioner, NHMRC Investigator and primary care researcher.

Liz is an Associate Professor (Research) in the School of Primary and Allied Health Care, Monash University, and Visiting Fellow at The Australian National University. Liz has experience in implementation research in primary care with expertise in the complex area of obesity management.

Liz 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 caring for people with substance dependence and complex multi-morbidity. As a clinician-researcher, she has extensive networks with clinical primary care colleagues and in her representative roles with primary care organisations.

Obesity management in general practice

A/Prof Sturgiss led a research team to develop a weight management program for use in general practice, “The Change Program”. This work filled the implementation gap between the NHMRC guidelines for obesity management and real-world practice. This qualitative research started with identifying a deficit in clinical practice, then collaboration with clinicians, healthcare consumer representatives, and chronic disease groups to develop a weight management program for general practice. The program was designed with implementation and sustainability at the forefront. The program was trialled in five sites (one rural, four urban) and was found to increase GP self-efficacy and was feasible within current healthcare system constraints. It has been rolled out in collaboration with Primary Health Networks to over 1000 GPs in ACT and NSW.

Therapeutic alliance in general practice

This mixed methods research has developed a survey tool to measure the patient assessment of the therapeutic alliance in general practice. Liz led an interdisciplinary, international research team to validate the measure for general practice. The survey tool has now been translated into Dutch and is being investigated by primary care research teams in the Netherlands and Belgium. The tool is a robust, internationally relevant measure of the process of primary care. It is useful for research, intervention design and evaluation, and clinician training.

Policy and practice

Liz's doctoral work on obesity management in general practice has been implemented by clinicians in the ACT and NSW. General practitioners (GPs) are the front-line for management of weight and obesity in Australian adults. Liz’s 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. In 2018/19 “The Change Program” was rolled out to over 850 GPs in western Sydney and 500 GPs in the ACT via Primary Health Networks who together care for more than 600 000 patients with overweight and obesity. The Program bridges the implementation gap between obesity guidelines and clinical practice and improves the confidence of GPs to provide obesity management and changes the clinical practice of GPs. GPs now have access to an innovative program to assist them in managing patients with obesity.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

General Practice, Doctor of Philosophy, Exploring the role of the general practitioner in obesity management in Australian primary care, Australian National University (ANU)

… → 19 Sept 2018

Award Date: 19 Sept 2018

Master of Forensic Medicine, MONASH UNIVERSITY

Award Date: 26 May 2011

Public Health, Master of Public Health, University of New South Wales (UNSW)

Award Date: 17 Aug 2009

Medicine, Bachelor of Medicine, University of Newcastle

Award Date: 17 Dec 2003

External positions

Visiting Fellow, Australian National University (ANU)

Research area keywords

  • Obesity
  • Primary Health Care
  • General Practice
  • Equity
  • Health Promotion

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or