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“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”

World Health Organisation, 1946

Our Philosophy

Northside Health is a patient-centred medical practice committed to providing quality, holistic health care for those who desire to optimise their health and wellbeing.

Our growing team of integrative and mainstream medical doctors, nurses and allied health practitioners are committed to working with you to develop a personalised treatment plan using the most appropriate evidence-based conventional medicine and complementary treatments available.

Comprehensive healthcare is provided through all of life’s stages from pregnancy and early infancy through adolescence, young adulthood, middle age and advanced years. There are however, two groups of people who are particularly attracted to Northside Health’s integrative approach.

About Northside Health

Ar Rosie and Dr Alex at Northside Health Coffs Harbour

Northside Health was founded by Dr Alexander Joannou, who has been a GP in Coffs Harbour since 1982. Following a personal health crisis ten years later, Dr Alex was unable to find a solution using conventional medicine alone. After achieving further qualifications with the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) and the Australian Medical Acupuncture College (AMAC), Dr Alex conceived the idea of building a bridge between medicine and natural therapies within a mainstream medical practice. Dr Alex affirms, “Our priority at Northside Health is to deliver superior health outcomes and empower our patients by increasing their health literacy and working together with them to optimise their health and well-being in mind, body and spirit”.

Dr Rosie Ross may be considered a ‘late bloomer’. She was an owner/manager of three health food stores in Hobart, when she discovered that many people did not tell their doctor that they were taking complementary medicines. Recognising the potential for adverse interactions between some complementary supplements and pharmaceutical medications, Dr Rosie became motivated to “become a medical doctor people would feel comfortable discussing their treatment options and preferences with”. Dr Rosie has a long history as a health professional first graduating as a Registered Nurse in 1979, Herbal Medicine in 1991, Bachelor of Health Science (Natural Medicine) in 2006 before graduating with Honours in medicine from the University of NSW in 2010, receiving the Murru Mari prize for academic excellence and attaining a Fellowship with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). After attending the primary course with ACNEM, Dr Rosie continues to harness her passion for life-long learning and is currently undertaking studies with the Australasian Society for Lifestyle Medicine (ASLM), American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) and American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) with the goal to achieving international accreditation in Lifestyle Medicine in 2019.


Partnering with Patients/ Patient Preferences

The first group of people are those who are interested in preventive medicine. These people are generally healthy and proactive in making conscious lifestyle choices. There are times when they require medical attention and are looking for a medical practitioner who is aligned with their health care philosophy and are conversant in the risks and benefits of various evidence-based treatment options and will support them in their health journey.

The second group are those people who are dealing with issues involving stress, low levels of physical activity, unhealthy weight, and often have chronic diseases due to genetic causes or environmental influences which may be exacerbated by poor lifestyle choices. These people are tired of fast food medicine where “a pill is prescribed for every ill”. They are educated about health matters, yet have difficulty applying this knowledge to their daily routine. These people appreciate the fact that health professionals listen to and work together with their patients.

We solve these problems as a team through comprehensive assessment, a tailored program of education, mentoring and coaching, in individual as well as group settings. Personalised programs are based upon the optimal use of natural therapies combined with judicious use of conventional medicine.

Our commitment to future generations

Dr Alexander Joannou Award presentation
Dr Alex Joannou presented with his Recognition of Service Award for over 10 years of service as a GP supervisor.

Northside Health is committed to training the future generations of doctors and has hosted GP registrars, international medical graduates and medical students since 2001. Some fifteen country doctors on the North Coast have been successfully trained by Northside Health, including four who have stayed on in our practice.

Training doctors is not a solo effort. Currently we have four doctors who are GP supervisors and Northside Health is proudly supported by and associated with: