Deakin University in Victoria announced the launch of the Institute for Health Transformation, established to help guide the transformation of the way Australian health and care is promoted, designed and delivered.

The main goals of the institute, which is made up of more than 200 researchers focusing on birth to end of life care, will be to boost population health, improve patient experience and grow efficiency in the healthcare system.

The institute will also focus on health issues like the growing inequality between advantaged and disadvantaged groups, ageing populations with complex conditions, the increasing burden of preventable risk factors such as obesity, and the need to deliver quality care cost-effectively.

"This new institute will work to transform how our environments impact on our health, improve the quality and experience of patient care, drive down the number of avoidable hospital admissions, and improve the sustainability of our health system," Deakin's Vice Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, said in a statement.

She explained that an innovative research partnership to develop evidence-backed programs and policies with real-world impact would be critical in meeting that aim.

"Meeting these challenges will require a transformational redesign of our health and care systems nationally," Professor den Hollander said.

The effort brings together the expertise of two strategic research centres, which include the work of the Centre for Quality and Patient Safety, Deakin Health Economics, and the Global Obesity Centre, which is a World Health Organisation collaborating centre.

In addition, four research fellowships have been announced as part of the $4.5 million investment from Deakin into the new institute.

By using a collaborative model across Deakin's Schools of Health and Social Development, Nursing and Midwifery, and Medicine, the university will be leveraging the expertise of researchers for engagement and impact.

This includes academics like Professor Steve Allender whose work with communities has led to decreases in childhood obesity rates, and Associate Professor Samantha Thomas whose gambling harm research has influenced Australian and international policy.

"The institute will provide excellent translational research that aims to accelerate the ideas we need to transform health and care in Australia and around the world," institute director Professor Anna Peeters said in a statement.

Peeters noted more than $10 million in external funding was brought in by the institute's researchers last year.

“We are confident that will grow as we engage further with national and international academic partners, governments, businesses, not-for-profits, health services, care providers and patients to increase our impact,” she said.

A three-year project led by the Global Obesity Centre will examine for the first time how population-wide policies, like food subsidies or mandatory food labeling, would impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 

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