Dr Justin Coleman is a GP-writer who looks sceptically at health interventions where the evidence suggests they might not actually be worthwhile. This is part of his broader interest in the public health concept of equity – fair access to primary health care for everyone.
Despite earnest intentions, he frequently breaks out into lighter reflections on GP practice, with its quirks and oddities – often discovering the oddest person in the room is him!
Justin works in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health on the Tiwi Islands, north of Darwin.
Justin was Editor of the Diabetes Management Journal from 2018-20 and remains on its Editorial Board. He runs editing and writing workshops for medical writers, and medical workshops for doctors in his spare time.
He has edited over a million words for medical publication. He peer reviews for the BMJ, MJA and AFP medical journals, all of which have also published his research articles. He edits websites, including the National Heart Foundation and the Inala Indigenous Health Service.
Medical writing: Justin has been a freelance medical writer since 1996 and President of the Australasian Medical Writers Association (AMWA) from 2010-15. His freelance writing CV is found at AMWA.
He has published around 1500 articles in around 40 Australian and international newspapers, magazines and journals. He has authored six book chapters and four regular newspaper columns. He has won various awards for his medical writing and for his fictional short stories and a play.
Justin initiated and wrote the weekly GP Tips column in Medical Observer for its entire 13 years (1998-2011), wrote a twice weekly medical news column for GPs, still writes a monthly humorous column (six years so far). He writes and reviews GPlearning modules for the RACGP and National Asthma Council Australia, and writes the Diabetes chapter in each update of the National guide to a preventive health assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
TV, radio: Justin has featured on a number of TV shows, including the ABC’s 7.30 report and Channel 7’s Tonight. An example of an extended interview is on Starts at 60. He does a regular weekly medical talkback radio gig with the Novos and has been interviewed on radio around a hundred times around his medical areas of expertise. As a younger man (pre-medicine) he acted on TV, including two very forgettable episodes of Neighbours!
Qualifications: In addition to his medical degree (Uni of Melbourne, 1992) and FRACGP, Justin has completed a Masters in Public Health (Uni of Qld, 2009, first class honors) and a Writing and Editing course (Uni of Qld 2009, first class honors). Justin is a senior lecturer at both University of Queensland and Griffith University, and was an inaugural member of the Qld Health Clinical Senate. He assesses UQ and Griffith medical students and also clinically assesses Overseas-Trained Doctors for the NT Medical Board.
Talks, presentations: Justin is invited to give perhaps 20 talks and presentations each year. He is interviewed by print and radio journalists a few times each month. So far, his record is featuring in four articles in the one edition of MJA Insight (2 March 2015). Talks in 2016 include; RDAV16, RDAQ16, GP16, Allied Health Leadership Forum, UQ School of Pharmacy, Logan Hospital Grand Round, RACMA, Choosing Wisely Australia, GPRA16 (Future of General Practice) and Therapeutic Goods Advertising seminar.
Campaign – No Advertising Please: In 2014, Justin founded a campaign which encouraged doctors to avoid seeing visiting pharmaceutical representatives at their surgeries. He invited 25 other doctors, academics and health experts on board, and launched the No Advertising Please website at the RACGP conference in October 2014. The response was huge: the campaign featured on TV at the ABC’s 7.30 Report, and subsequently in almost 60 newspaper articles and radio programs in Australia and internationally.
The Naked Doctor and Choosing Wisely: Justin’s alter ego ‘The Naked Doctor’ blogs about the perils of over-testing and over-treatment on the Croakey health blog for Crikey.com. The Naked Doctor makes videos (unfortunately not medically titillating ones) for the NPS, wrote the RACGP submission (pdf) to the TGA and chairs the RACGP working group on the Choosing Wisely Australia campaign and the Transparency Working Group, aiming to ‘make transparent’ payments to doctors from pharmaceutical companies. He runs Choosing Wisely workshops for GPs (e.g. GP15), GP Registrars and consumers.