Funding boost for Hunter public health research

Jan 7 2010

The Hunter has been recognised as a place of excellence for public health research with a NSW Government grant to recruit four leading research fellows.

The NSW Health Capacity Building Infrastructure Grant of $1.75 million over three and a half years will assist the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) Public Health Research Program to tackleAustralia’s health challenges.

“Only six institutes secured this funding, which recognises that HMRI is among the state’s top institutes in public health research,” said Associate Professor John Wiggers*, Co-Director of the HMRI Public Health Research Program.

“The new research fellows will work alongside our nationally renowned researchers to expand our research capabilities, while being mentored as the next generation of public health researchers.”

The HMRI Public Health Research Program is focused on identifying the health needs of the Hunter community and solutions to current health problems. The Program has four key research areas and the new fellows will work in each of these areas:

  • Reducing social and behavioural health risks including tobacco, alcohol and obesity
  • Improving the delivery of health services to the community
  • Monitoring health services use and impact to identify the most cost effective ways to improve the health of community members
  • Reducing communicable disease health risks, such as H1N1 swine flu, by providing national and international leadership in surveillance and early response

HMRI Director Professor Maree Gleeson said the funding would support the salaries for the four new research fellows.

“Fellowship funding provides a significant boost to our research capabilities. Together with our community’s support of research funding, it ensures the ongoing success of our Hunter researchers,” said Professor Gleeson.

The HMRI Public Health Program is made up of more than 230 researchers from the University ofNewcastle, Hunter New England Health and Calvary Mater Newcastle. HMRI is a partnership between theUniversity of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.

* Professor Wiggers is Director of Population Health with Hunter New England Health and an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle.