Associate Professor Ruth Colagiuri

Director, Health & Sustainability
Public Health, School of Public Health
Menzies Centre for Health Policy

D02- Victor Coppleson Building
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: +61 2 9036 7006
F: +61 2 9036 3176

Biographical details

Ruth is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health, having joined the Menzies Centre for Health Policy (formerly Australian Health Policy Institute) at The University of Sydney in June 2005 to establish and direct The Diabetes Unit - a focus for policies and strategies for improving diabetes prevention and care and to establish an Oxford Health Alliance presence in the Asia-Pacific Region. Prior to this Ruth co-founded and directed the Australian Centre for Diabetes Strategies at the Prince of Wales Hospital, University of New South Wales. Previously, she managed the ambulatory care Diabetes Centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital, and worked as a Senior Policy Analyst in the NSW Health Department on diabetes as the prototype for a ‘health outcomes’ approach to chronic diseases.

Research interests

Over the last ten years Ruth has worked extensively on international health having initiated and/or been involved in health policy and health service/system development policy and programs and strategic plans for population health across four continents. She is a co-author of the (Australian) National Diabetes Strategy and Implementation Plan (1998), and author of the Plan of Action for the Western Pacific Diabetes Declaration (2000) and the Diabetes Strategy for (sub-Saharan) Africa (2006). She has conducted extensive health professional training in India and the Pacific Islands and has a strong track record of capacity building for health in Pacific Island countries - initially in Tonga and more recently in Nauru and Vanuatu, managing diabetes projects in up to six Pacific Island countries at a time. She has undertaken a number of consultancies for the WHO, including a diabetes and hypertension plan for Mongolia and for AusAID.

Ruth has been central to the development of evidence based guidelines for diabetes in Australia, and worked on the seminal NSW Health Diabetes Guidelines in the mid 1990s and, since 2000, led the development of and co-authored six NHMRC endorsed guidelines and a guideline for the Management and Care of Diabetes in the Elderly. Since late 2007, she has lead the development of a further four NHMRC guidelines on behalf of the Diabetes Australia Guideline Development Consortium. She has also published in the area of patient education, clinical diabetes care, chronic disease issues and professional competencies, and authored a number of seminal technical and policy reports including the development of an (Australian) National Consensus Position on Outcomes and Indicators for Diabetes Patient Education, reports on preventing diabetes both in the general population and for culturally and linguistically diverse groups, and psychosocial issues in diabetes. Other areas of research interests include involvement in diabetes risk factor and prevalence surveys (Tonga and Australia) and cost of illness (Australia and Vanuatu). Ruth is a chief investigator on the NHMRC Serious and Continuing Illness Policy and Practice Study (SCIPPS).

Ruth was involved in the inception of the Oxford Health Alliance (OxHA). She leads the activities of the OxHA Asia-Pacific Centre and was instrumental in initiating the Alliance’s Sydney Resolution and in designing and organising the OxHA Sydney Summit, Building a Healthy Future: Chronic Disease and the Environment. She has a particular interest in working with industry and business to modify negative aspects of the food and physical activity environment.

Ruth also serves a number of local and international organisations on an honorary basis. She is a member of the Diabetes Expert Advisory Group of the Australian Department of Health and Ageing and Chairs the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) Global Task Force on National Diabetes Policy and Action. She is a member of the IDF-Western Pacific Regional Council. In the past she has served as Chair of the Australian National Association of Diabetes Centres, Vice-president of Diabetes Australia, and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association (ADEA). In 2002 she was awarded life membership of ADEA for her contribution to diabetes.

International links

Nauru. (Ministry of Health) Collaborate on diabetes reserch and capacity building program.
Tonga. (Ministry of Health) Collaborate on diabetes and NCD prevention and care.
United Kingdom. (Oxford University) Lead the Asia pacfic centre of the Oxford Health Alliance.
Vanuatu. (Ministry of Health) Project director for World Diabetes Foundation project.