Examining when and the way people use health care, people’s health risk behaviours and the social and environmental factors that affect their health, researchers in the public health research program can explore ways to encourage better health decisions and environments.
Research in this group encompasses a wide and diverse range of health needs at all stages of life – from pregnancy and birth, through to childhood and adult health, as well as ageing and end of life decisions. The research extends from methodological and descriptive research, through trials of strategies to improve health, to studies involving the translation and monitoring of proven programs, surveillance of health risks, and measurement of health system performance. The research is conducted in a wide variety of clinical and community settings, with a strong focus on engagement with industry partners.
Under the guidance of two of Australia’s most experienced public health experts, Professor John Wiggers and Professor Julie Byles, researchers in the HMRI Public Health program work collaboratively to address a variety of topics, such as: ageing, reproductive health, mental health, nutrition, obesity, smoking, alcohol, and prevention of chronic illness including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and communicable diseases.
Working in conjunction with the University of Newcastle’s Priority Research Centre for Gender Health and Ageing, Priority ResearchCentre for Health Behaviour, and the Hunter New England Area Health Service, researchers in the HMRI Public Health research program focus on the individual, societal and health care factors. The Program brings together researchers from a variety of fields including; public health, epidemiology, psychology, statistics, economics, medicine, nutrition and dietetics, health promotion, pharmacology, physiotherapy, nursing and occupational therapy.
Research Focus Areas:
A dedicated team of educators within the Public Health program is researching ways to increase the effectiveness of tertiary education about public health. Evidence based strategies are being developed to increase the understanding of, and the capacity to carry out, interdisciplinary public health measures. Enhancing the capacity of academic staff to teach about social disadvantage across the tertiary sector is a key public health initiative.