Centre for Health through Action on Social Exclusion

Working collaboratively with communities, organisations and governments, the Centre for Health through Action on Social Exclusion (CHASE) promotes social inclusion.

We also look at ways to improve health and wellbeing, especially among individuals and groups who may be experiencing exclusion.

The CHASE philosophy

Our research profile is characterised by an acknowledgment of the multiple forms of exclusion and diversity of communities: 

  • promotion of self-reliance 
  • individual creativity and agency 
  • a sense of optimism in positive health and wellbeing regardless of inclusion status
  • tackling causes of exclusion in practical ways.

Our research themes and recent projects

Our work is underpinned by: 

  • the development of mixed methodologies 
  • multidisciplinary approaches and the application of systems thinking 
  • the systematic review and synthesis of the research literature 
  • the importance of knowledge transfer and practice development. 

CHASE has four main research themes in exclusion, all of which are interconnected:

Social diversity and improving the health and wellbeing of marginalised, disadvantaged and excluded groups

We investigate the mental health and social wellbeing of people at risk of marginalisation and social exclusion due to their sexual orientation, pattern of sexual behaviour, gender identity, cultural diversity, physical disabilities or socio-economic status. We develop social strategies to combat this exclusion.

The Thin Line and You the Man are our theatre-based, health education programs targeting eating disorders and sexual abuse respectively.

Gender, families and reproductive health

We undertake specific projects in gender issues, families, reproductive health, teenage pregnancy, childlessness, and the prevention and intervention of domestic violence and abuse. 

Our interagency collaborations support resilient students, families and schools in disadvantaged communities (ARC funded).

Associate Professor Julia Shelley is an investigator on the Australian Longitudinal Study of Health and Relationships (NHMRC funded, and in partnership with La Trobe University, the Universities of Sydney and New South Wales).


We focus on ways to foster the inclusion of people with diverse disabilities in active lives of their choice. We research the effectiveness and quality of targeted interventions to support inclusion, such as assistive technology or mentoring employees with disabilities.

The 1 in 4 project is a national poll of people with a disability on issues of importance to them (ARC funded and in partnership with Scope).

Aboriginal health

Our work in this field has grown out of a partnership with Wesley Mission Victoria (WMV) and Aboriginal Elders within North East Melbourne. The partnership facilitates development and implementation of research ideas that originate with the Aboriginal Elders in a manner that fosters Aboriginal research capacity and remains, at all times, under the control of Aboriginal participants.

Projects include: 

  • Healing stories - helping Aboriginal people and their families move towards better physical, emotional and spiritual health.
  • Talking it up! - a review of current Aboriginal health policy, with particular emphasis on the role and inclusion of indigenous knowledge in policy formulation.

Our partnerships

Partnering with CHASE provides increased capacity to drive positive social change through policy development, workforce development and research.

CHASE members have worked with a wide range of organisations, including:

  • Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth)
  • Department of Human Services
  • Victorian Centre for Excellence on Depression and Related Disorders (beyondblue)
  • Mental Illness Fellowship
  • Parks Victoria
  • Helen McPherson Smith trust
  • WISE Employment
  • ACE National Network
  • MS Society
  • Coles Myer
  • Telstra Foundation
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Department of Justice.

Ongoing partnerships 

Wesley Mission Victoria

Over the past four years CHASE and Wesley Mission Victoria have been working together on a variety of projects, all of which share the characteristic of aiming to promote social inclusion.


Scope is a not-for-profit organisation providing disability services throughout Victoria to thousands of children and adults with physical and multiple disabilities.

The CHASE team

CHASE researchers are made up of Deakin teaching staff, full-time researchers and a number of PhD and master's students.

Professor Ann Taket

Deputy Director
Dr Melissa Graham

Contact us

Deputy Director
Dr Melissa Graham
+61 3 9251 7271
Email Dr Graham