Strategic Research

Population Health


Congratulations to Prof Richard Osborne – awarded a prestigious NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health literacy as “the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health”. Health and social policies identify health literacy as a key determinant of a person’s ability to manage their health and ensure equitable access to and use of services. Low health literacy is associated with higher mortality, frequent hospitalisation, lower use of preventive healthcare (e.g., immunisation), poor adherence to medications, and communication problems. The prevalence of low health literacy in Australia has been estimated at more than half the population. Given ever-increasing demands on the public dollar and for health equity, the vision for this Fellowship is to advance health literacy approaches so the full potential of these can be realised to reduce health inequalities and disease burden.

Poor measurement tools have stymied the field. This Fellowship will improve measurement approaches, characterise health literacy across settings, and empirically define health literacy profiles that are markers for poor outcomes. These data will assist policy development and identify priorities for interventions.
The Fellowship will involve developing and implementing system-wide interventions to improve health literacy and health equity. In partnership with hospitals in Australia and Asia, our large community intervention in Victoria will be redesigned for application in hospitals. The Fellowship will advance public health through combining strong community and organisational engagement with intervention development, and through advancing implementation science. Toolkits will be developed and tested to assist implementation. Durable partnerships with government agencies and the WHO will be developed to ensure the outputs of the Fellowship generate transformative and lasting improvements in health and equity across settings.

NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) grant

Congratulations to Rob Carter, Boyd Swinburn, Marj Moodie, Steve Allender, Richard Osborne, Mark Lawrence and their team who were successful in obtaining an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) grant. This grant success is a great win for the Population Health Strategic Research Centre and for Deakin University. There is strong evidence supporting the need for government policy action for obesity prevention. However, the implementation of obesity prevention policy has been slow in Australia and internationally, largely because the proposed solutions are multi-sectorial, long-term in nature, and involve a wide range of players with differing objectives.

This CRE in Policy Research on Obesity and Food Systems extends the exceptional work that the Chief Investigators have been doing in obesity and food policy over the past 10 years, by establishing a world-leading, multi-disciplinary research team that aims to have a real impact on the successful implementation of potent and sustainable obesity prevention policy actions. The Centre is collaboration between Deakin University, University of Queensland, the George Institute, Baker IDI and Yale University. It addresses key questions across four integrated areas to reduce the obesity burden and create healthy, equitable, sustainable food systems: 1) ‘What are the economic credentials of non-health sector policy options?’ 2) ‘How can evidence-informed policy development and implementation be enhanced?’ 3) ‘What are the impacts of policies on environments and systems? 4) ‘What progress is being made by public and private sectors?’.
Congratulations to Cathy Mihalopoulos from Deakin Health Economics who is a Chief Investigator on a NHMRC CRE grant (Evidence-based Mental Health Planning: Translating Evidence into Policy and Services) lead by Professor Harvey Whiteford at the University of Queensland. This grant success is a wonderful opportunity for Deakin as Deakin researchers will be involved in research which has the aim of designing a better mental health system for Australia. This service system will include the full range of prevention and treatment interventions using the best available scientific evidence. The research will be carried out across five of the best research Centres in Australia, including Deakin, with expertise in clinical medicine, epidemiology, and service planning and implementation science.

Rob Carter receives an Award from the PVCs Office

for the DIfHR work at the Faculty of Health day 13th June 2012

Grace Kabaniha has been confirmed in her PhD
“A Novel Approach to Priority Setting for HIV/Aids Prevention Among Adults in Uganda”

Deakin Health Economics featured in a major Policy Forum


Deakin Health Policy Forum program (175 KB)
Invitation to Health Policy Forum (185 KB)

PhD updates for 2012


  • Population Health SRC welcomes two new students, Jennifer Marks and Rebecca Lingard
  • Congratulations to Eva Yuen and Jessica Herbert who have successfully completed their confirmation of candidature. Upcoming confirmations are Grace Kabaniha (who is doing hers remote from Uganda) and Jill Whelan.
  • Well done to Natasha Layton and Jenny Marks for their participation in the 3 minute thesis competition
  • Micheala Jackson is presenting at a conference in Berlin mid 2012

Congratulations to Vivica Krak

Vivica Krak received an award at the World Nutrition conference in Rio De Janeiro in May for her presentation titled “Accountability of public-private partnerships with food, beverage and restaurant companies to address global public health nutrition challenges”

ACE-Prevention report released

Deakin University and University of Queensland researchers have released the Assessing Cost Effectiveness of Prevention (ACE-Prevention) report, which assessed illness prevention measures to identify those that will prevent the most illness or premature death and those that offer best value for money.

Deakin University’s Professor Rob Carter and Professor Theo Vos from the University of Queensland presented key findings at the report’s launch at VicHealth on Wednesday 8 September, 2010.

New books by Professor Boyd Swinburn

Professor Boyd Swinburn, Alfred Deakin Professor and Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University in Australia, has recently released two books.Preventing Childhood Obesity: Evidence Policy and Practice was edited by Professor Swinburn, Elizabeth Waters, Jacob C. Seidell and Ricardo Uauy. Planet Obesity: How we’re eating ourselves and the planet to death, co-written with Garry Egger, explores the relationship between obesity, climate change and consumerism.


Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

31st October 2013