About us

The overall aim of the PHI is to work in genuine (grounded) ways with the general public, health consumers, health practitioners, health organisations and government, locally and internationally, using innovative research and evaluation approaches to develop tools and interventions that assist people, particularly those whose needs are not being met by existing services.
We achieve this role by selecting opportunities to: 

  • undertake competitive commissioned research and program evaluation;
  • develop innovation;
  • provide education and training; and
  • share our ideas through publishing papers in journals and participating in conferences, workshops and other networking events.

We have run successful implementation training workshops for a wide range of individuals and organisations. Members of our team are frequently invited to present at local and international meetings, and we have initiated and run successful international and local conferences and other events.

Principles and values

Our unit is committed to seeking out, understanding and meeting the needs of consumers and the health practitioners and organisations who work with consumers. We are committed to assisting people whose needs are not being met by existing services. This is our motivation to innovation. In support of these aims, we have identified four principles that guide our research.

1. Grounded approaches
We base our work on genuine consultation with consumers and the service providers who work most closely with them. We have developed a range of processes to ensure that our work in program development, questionnaire development and evaluation is informed by this consultation.

2. Focus on variability and equity
Many health interventions target the people who are easy to reach and with whom it is easy to obtain results. This means that people with serious problems or complex needs often do not benefit from innovations in health service delivery. In our work, we routinely focus on the needs of consumers who have the most complex problems or whose needs have not been met by existing services. Our health literacy work has been driven by our need to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges different groups in the population face to maintain their health and achieve positive health outcomes.

3. Engagement of communities, practitioners & policy makers
While we consider it critical to take a bottom-up approach to thinking about community health needs and developing innovative responses to these needs, we recognise that putting new ideas into practice requires a combination of bottom-up and top-down approaches. We have developed a range of novel and inclusive approaches to facilitate the engagement of all stakeholders and to ensure that top-down and bottom-up approaches to innovation are integrated.

4. Working in isolation does not work
We invariably work in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that we not only obtain the best information to generate innovation, but we have the support and ownership of the individuals and organisations intended to benefit from our research. Where possible, we take a co-creation of research approach, whether with consumer organisations, industry, policymakers or fellow academics. Partnership approaches are usually harder work and more costly at the start, but this investment ensures the research outputs are more likely to meet the needs of the members of the community and actually be implemented in settings where innovation is required.