DU/DHHS/DoJAR Strategic Alliance

The Deakin University (DU), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Department of Justice and Regulation (DoJAR) Strategic Alliance exists to protect and enhance the health and social wellbeing of all people living in the Barwon-South Western Region.

The alliance integrates research, teaching and practice to help create supportive environments, strengthen community actions, develop personal skills, ensure quality services and build healthy public policy.

Our history

The collaboration between Deakin and the Department of Human Services (Barwon-South Western Region) was initiated in 1998 following the identification of regional and rural public health needs.

In 2006 and 2007 a business plan was developed to establish four strategic advisory groups for planning and managing the ongoing business of the partnership. The plan outlined and identified strategic goals focused under public health forums, teaching and workforce, research and evidence-based practice, and health and wellbeing.

Towards the end of 2009 the partnership executive team undertook a major review of priorities and direction for 2010. As a result, a wider alliance was developed that sought to bring together the knowledge and resources of Deakin with the newly formed Department of Health and the Department of Human Services in the Barwon South West Region. The alliance remained committed to facilitating collaborative engagement for the benefit of people living in the region.

In 2015 the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services reintegrated into the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). In 2016 the Department of Justice and Regulation (DoJAR) joined the alliance as a full member.

Our mission

  • Broker and collaborate in innovative interdisciplinary research across faculties to engage members of the community, support evidence-based practice and policy, and encourage intersectoral action on the social determinants of health.
  • Ensure a skilled and responsive local workforce through a coordinated and collaborative approach to workforce planning and development across the region.
  • Ensure a diverse range of mechanisms are explored and supported to increase individual, organisation and communities' ability to work sustainably together to address key local issues in the region.
  • Facilitate cross-alliance representation on audit panels, course advisory committees and other strategic planning activities.
  • Develop useful community resources.

Strategic objectives

The alliance aims to:

  • be instrumental in harnessing the skills, experience and research capabilities of Deakin staff to contribute to service planning and development within DHHS and DoJAR (Barwon South Western Region)
  • create alignment between DHHS and DoJAR (Barwon South Western Region) regional priorities and Deakin's research priorities in order to identify evidence which might inform policy and practice to build community capacity and reduce disadvantage and inequality
  • contribute to the development of major government initiatives
  • harness opportunities that arise from the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Health Reform agenda
  • emphasise early intervention by focusing on local risk factors and promote a shared understanding of health and wellbeing
  • develop a coordinated and strategic approach to student placements, which address the needs of Deakin, DHHS, DoJAR, and the health and community sectors.

Our stakeholders

  • The residents and communities of the Barwon South Western Region
  • Deakin's Faculty of Health
  • Research clusters within Deakin's health and wellbeing research portfolio
  • Other faculties at Deakin with an interest in health and wellbeing issues
  • Program areas within the DHHS and DoJAR (Barwon South Western Region)
  • Deakin, DHHS and DoJAR (Barwon South Western Region) staff
  • Deakin students 
  • The workforce within the Barwon South Western Region
  • Barwon South Western planning bodies, including G21, Great South Coast and Barwon South Western primary care alliances
  • Barwon Health
  • Other relevant alliances with current memoranda of understanding (i.e. Deakin University-City of Greater Geelong Alliance).

Organisational structure


The Deakin/DHHS/DoJAR Strategic Alliance (Barwon South Western Region) is quite complex. There are various elements and stakeholders at different levels of the continuum. The degree of engagement varies from 'Associate Membership' (a networking group for stakeholders external to the formal alliance) through to the Alliance Executive, which collaborates and shares resources and strategic goals.

The structure of the alliance is adapted from the governance model for the World Health Organisation's 'Healthy Cities and Communities' and 'Health Promoting Universities' initiatives. It reflects the various degrees of commitment based upon our strategic objectives and the various levels of alliance required to fulfill them.

Alliance executive

The Alliance Executive represents top level collaboration between the three formal partners of the alliance.

The Alliance Executive consists of:

  • Regional Director, Barwon South West Health, DHHS
  • Executive Dean, Faculty of Health, Deakin University
  • Area Director, Barwon DHHS
  • Executive Director, DoJAR West Area and Barwon South West Region
  • Professor and Chair in Health Psychology, Faculty of Health, Deakin University.

Peter Quail Oration

The Peter Quail Oration is an annual initiative of the Deakin/DHHS/DoJAR Strategic Alliance. It is held in memory of Mr Peter Quail, a valued DHS colleague and founding champion of the partnership between Deakin, the Department of Health and Department of Human Services. Peter’s career in the Victorian public service spanned three decades. His work ethic was grounded by the principles of social justice and he used every opportunity to improve service delivery to the most vulnerable in our communities. Each year, the oration aims to engage and inform the community and health service professionals on a topical and relevant regional health and wellbeing issue.

2017 Peter Quail Oration

Topic: The Social Determinants of Health and Collective Impact: Making the case for investment in prevention
Dr Angela Donkin, Joint Deputy Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College, London
Monday 20 November 2017
Deakin University Geelong Waterfront Campus

The 2017 Peter Quail Oration was delivered by Dr Angela Donkin to an enthusiastic audience from a range of key agencies across the Geelong region.

Dr Angela Donkin leads a range of Institute of Health Equity (IHE) programmes at the University College London which aims to evaluate, improve and disseminate evidence based strategic policy advice to key stakeholders and Government agencies in the United Kingdom.

Angela has worked in applied social research for 25 years and is an expert on early years, health inequalities and improving work and income for health, sitting on a number of advisory and steering groups in this capacity. Prior to joining IHE Angela was a civil servant in the Office for National Statistics, Department for Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office. At the end of her civil service career, Angela managed the delivery of key Government reports on Early Intervention and Health Work and Wellbeing.

Angela also maintains research interests in sustainable international development and food and poverty.

2016 Peter Quail Oration

Topic: Alcohol, Violence, Policy and Politics: Can we make progress?
Professor Peter Miller, School of Psychology, Deakin University (Professor of Violence Prevention and Addiction Studies)
Thursday 29 September 2016
Geelong Clinical School Lecture Theatre

Professor Peter Miller’s research interests include alcohol-related violence in licensed venues, the behaviour of vested interests, especially the alcohol industry, and predictors of violence (including family and domestic violence).

Professor Miller has published over 150 journal articles, books and peer-reviewed reports. He is currently running 12 projects focussed on alcohol, drugs and violence (including domestic violence) nationally and internationally. He has also authored numerous government reports including three of the largest studies ever conducted into licensed venues, comparing 11 Australian cities (and Wellington, NZ) over five years and talking to more than 20,000 patrons.

In 2013 Professor Miller was presented the Excellence in Research Award at the Australian National Drug and Alcohol Awards. His
presentation outlined the combined results of these studies and the need to adopt a public health approach to alcohol-related violence, both in terms of research and advocacy.

Download the 2016 Peter Quail Oration presentation (PDF, 2.27 MB)

2015 Peter Quail Oration

Topic: Changing the Culture of Domestic Violence: New ways forward to address the unacceptable levels of family violence in our community
Speakers: Fiona Richardson MP, Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Minister for Women, State Victorian Government and Professor Andrew Day, School of Psychology, Deakin University
Date: Thursday 5 November 2015 
Venue: Geelong Clinical School Lecture Theatre

The Minister for the Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson MP, provided an update on Australia's first Royal Commission into Family Violence and discussed policy initiatives to address the unacceptable levels of family violence in our community.

Professor Andrew Day, a forensic psychologist and specialist in domestic violence prevention, discussed the importance and challenges of behaviour change programs to prevent the harmful effects of violent victimisation.

2014 Peter Quail Oration

Topic: Breaking New Ground in Disability Service Provision: A National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to support all Australians with a disability as well as their carers
Speakers: Louise Glanville, Deputy CEO of the National Disability Insurance Agency, Professor Susan Balandin, Chair in Disability and Inclusion, School of Health and Social Development, Deakin University, Tina Gulino, Leading, Educating, Advocating for Disability (LEAD) member, and Krystyna Croft, LEAD member
Date: Tuesday 29 July 2014 
Venue: Geelong Clinical School Lecture Theatre

Louise Glanville discussed the three pillars that underpin the NDIS, how the National Disability Strategy fits into Australia's obligations under the convention and why the NDIS is a significant economic as well as a social reform.

Professor Susan Balandin discussed the expertise and objectives of Disability at Deakin, the role of research and the importance of links between universities and communities in meeting the challenges of facilitating meaningful choice for groups of people with a disability.

Tina Gulino and Krystyna Croft spoke about the lived experience of engagement with the NDIA, as a spokesperson with a disability and a parent or carer of a person with a disability.

Download Louise Glanville's presentation (PDF, 186 KB)

Download Professor Balandin's presentation (PDF, 244 KB)

2013 Peter Quail Oration

Topic: Where next for prevention of chronic disease? Scaling up from community based obesity prevention in schools to whole populations
Speaker: Dr Steven Allender, Professor of Population Health and Co-Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, Deakin University
Date: Tuesday 22 October 2013
Venue: Deakin University Geelong Waterfront Campus

Dr Steven Allender presented a summary covering the first ten years of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention and its current program of research. The program relates to the development of novel obesity prevention, as well as scaling up from community-based obesity prevention in schools to whole populations.

Dr Allender has an ongoing program of research on the burden of disease and obesity prevention. His recent work has seen a particular interest in the emerging burden of chronic disease in developed and developing countries and the possibilities for using complex systems approaches for community-based intervention.

Download Dr Steven Allender's presentation

The Delphi Study

Identifying health research strategies to reduce chronic disease determinants and place-based disadvantage in regional settings: A Delphi study in Australia.

Project background

Directed by Professor John Toumbourou, Chair in Health Psychology at Deakin University, the aim of the Delphi Study was to identify priority health and social problems across the Barwon South West Region of Victoria, as well as develop actions and research to address these priorities.

Using the Delphi survey, a forecasting and innovation consulting technique, the Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance Research Advisory Group consulted people with health and social planning expertise from across region in 2012/13. The sample invited to participate was identified using available databases of employees working in a range of sectors.

Study reports

Now complete, the Delphi Study produced two reports disseminated to stakeholders associated with the SW Alliance. 

The first report presents the main priorities. The second summarises the recommendations for actions and research to address the issues of obesity and mental health that respondents indicated to be amongst their priority concerns. 

The findings revealed a number of stakeholders across the region recommended the use of evidence-based community-level approaches informed by research and evaluation that are supported by multiple systems.

Download Delphi Report 1

Download Delphi Report 2

Contact us

Chair in Health Psychology, Faculty of Health
Professor John Toumbourou
Email Professor Toumbourou