About Joint Health Command

Surgeon General Australian Defence Force
Commander Joint Health

RADM Sarah Sharkey has served as a Medical Officer in the Royal Australian Navy for more than 25 years

Sarah began her service under sponsorship while an undergraduate medical student at the University of Queensland; and has enjoyed a range of postings both at sea and ashore with her clinical background being mainly in submarine and diving medicine.  In her more recent career, Sarah has served at the Director General level in Joint Health Command, and as the Head of the Navy Health Community.  In December 2019, Sarah was promoted to Rear Admiral and assumed the role of Surgeon General Australian Defence Force and Commander Joint Health

Sarah has a Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery, Masters in Business Administration, and a Masters in Politics and Policy.  She is a Fellow of the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies and an Associate Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Medical Administrators, and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. 

Sarah is a recipient of the Australian Defence Medal, Australian Service medal with Solomon Islands Clasp, and the Defence Long Service Medal.  She has been awarded a Chief of Army Commendation in 2001, a Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) in the 2014 Queens Birthday Honours.  In 2020, Sarah was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia (Military Division) in the Queens Birthday Honours for exceptional service to the Australian Defence Force in the management of health care. 

Sarah is married to Frank and together their biggest achievement is being the proud parents of Samuel, Bridget, Patrick and Daniel.

Joint Capabilities Group Organisational Chart

JCG Organisational Chart (PDF 543.78 KB)


The Directorate of Defence Clinical Services (DDCS) provides health support services to Joint Health Command (JHC) and the Australian Defence Force (ADF). DDCS operates in two sections with responsibility for clinical governance and OOH.

  • Clinical Governance - Clinical Governance works within a framework through which Joint Health Command (JHC) is accountable for continuously improving the quality of its services, safeguarding high standards of care and creating an environment of quality and safety in which excellence in clinical care will flourish.

  • Operational and Overseas Health (OOH) - Operational and Overseas Health (OOH) responsibility within DDCS includes promulgating Health Support Plans (HSP) in support of military operations and exercises, providing general advice and support to the Regional Heath Services (RHS), supporting Military personnel and their families in overseas locations and coordinating the 1800 IMSICK service.

Regional Health Services

DDCS is the organisation through which the Commander Joint Health Command (CJHLTH) and Director General Garrison Health Operations (DGGHO) provide medical technical direction to the Regional Managers of the RHS.

DDCS is responsible for the provision of quality driven health care in the National Support Area (NSA). DDCS is the JHC - conduit to the NSA for the exercise of technical control and exercises technical control through the 5 RHS around Australia.


The role of Directorate of Workforce Development & Training (DWD&T) is a broadening of the Directorate of Defence Force Nursing (DDFN) previous role to apply those skills and functions developed by and within the DDFN, to the wider Health workforce. In this way, significant innovative synergies in the delivery of health care, and professional development of the Health workforce, can be identified and developed from a holistic Health Workforce perspective.

Program recognises skill sets

A SPECIALIST paramedic qualification is providing fast-tracked career opportunities for ADF advanced medical technicians (AMT) through a process recognising previous skills and training.

Monash University qualification HLT50407 Diploma of Paramedical Science (Ambulance) is being awarded to eligible AMTs.


More Information

ADF Nursing Officers

Nursing Links

ADF Medical Officers

ADF Medical Assistants

Professional Development

National Registration



The Directorate of ADF Rehabilitation and Compensation (DRC) is responsible to the Commander Joint Health Services (CJHLTH) and the Service Chiefs for overseeing the effective and efficient coordination and delivery of three inter-related programs.

The Directorate will reduce the impact of injury or illness on the ADF through the delivery of the following programs:

  1. ADF Rehabilitation Program
  2. ADF Compensation Support

DRC is the Technical Authority responsible for the development, implementation and interpretation of ADF Health policies, procedures and standards related to rehabilitation. DRC is also responsible for evaluation and reporting on performance and compliance related to occupational rehabilitation.

Garrison Health Services are responsible for the delivery of the ADF Rehabilitation Program (ADFRP).

Australian Defence Force Rehabilitation Program Poster — PDF 0.64 MB

Australian Defence Force Rehabilitation Program Brochure — PDF 3.35 MB


The Directorate of Military Medicine (DMM) is responsible for current Clinical Policy role as well as all Public Health related roles currently undertaken by Operational & Preventive Health, including public and preventive health policy development, CBRN doctrine and policy development and advice, health promotion, and health surveillance.

Clinical Policy

Clinical Policy is responsible for advice on clinical health and determining common clinical health policy. Exercises technical control of clinical medical services and provision of clinical medical input into ADF policy formulation. Provide advice on the professional training and development of ADF medical officers.

The goals of the of Clinical Policy are to improve individual health readiness and the quality of health care in the ADF.

Aviation Medicine

Responsible for the provision of advice and formulation of policy on clinical elements of aviation medicine.

Medical Services

Responsible to Clinical Policy for the provision of advice and formulation of policy on health standards for employment within the ADF. Responsible for the coordination and Secretariat function relating to Australian Defence Human Research Ethics Committee (ADHREC).

Clinical Policy

Responsible for the revision and development of clinical policy directives relating to communicable diseases.

Clinical Dental Standards

Responsible for the revision and development of dental clinical policy relating to ADF entry and operational fitness.

Clinical Nursing Standards

Responsible for the provision of revision and development of clinical nursing policy and standards relating to ADF operational fitness.

Operational & Preventive Health

Operational & Preventive Health is responsible for preventive health policy in the ADF and for the strategic direction of health surveillance, health promotion, and injury prevention.

Health Promotion and Prevention

Health Promotion and Prevention is responsible for preventing disease and promoting health in the ADF. This is achieved by:

  • Monitoring the health status of ADF personnel.
  • Prevention and early detection of risk factors for lifestyle-related diseases.
  • Promotion of physical fitness.
  • Production of health promotion products such as:
  • Fact Sheets
    These publications are intended to provide general information to ADF service members pertaining to specific health hazards and immunisations required by the ADF.
  • Operational Products (Health Information Pamphlets and Cards)
    Health information pamphlets detailing preventive health procedures an individual should follow during a deployment or exercise within Australia and/or overseas, in order to maintain their health.
    Wallet cards contain health information about deployment-related health exposures. They are intended as a prompt or guide for doctors if a service member presents with unusual symptoms that may be due to an illness or condition linked to a deployment related exposure.

Health Surveillance

Health Surveillance involves the collection and analysis of health data resulting in the production of reports that identify health trends in the ADF.  The Health Surveillance section is responsible for the operation and management of the ADF EpiTrack and NOTICAS health surveillance systems.