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UC researcher wins $4 million grant to keep Canberrans out of hospital

20 May 2019: Professor Rachel Davey, Director of the Health Research Institute at the University of Canberra, has won a prestigious Medical Research Future Fund grant for a project that aims to keep people out of hospital.

The project, titled Environmental and Social determinants of health in ACT: Program interventions aimed at reducing the burden of disease and avoidable hospital admissions, aims to decrease the burden on the ACT hospital system by reducing avoidable admissions.

“A large proportion of the burden of diseases in the Australian Capital Territory can be prevented by reducing modifiable risk factors and with better coordinated healthcare interventions,” explains Professor Davey.

“For example, one third of all heart attacks in Australia are repeat events and many results in re-admission to hospital. Approximately 30 per cent of all hospital admissions in those aged 65 years and over are for medication-related harm.”

Increasing rates of lifestyle-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes remain a major public health concern and are among the predominant reasons for avoidable hospital admissions in the ACT.

The aim of this research is to create local neighbourhood environments which encourage and support healthier and better-connected communities.

“We will take a two-pronged approach; one to address aspects of broader social and environmental determinants of wellbeing in helping to develop healthier communities, and another; to develop and test implementation strategies for better co-ordination and self-management of chronic disease,” said Professor Davey.

“Geographical mapping, spatial modelling and predictive analytics will be used to identify high-priority, disadvantaged target areas for the planning of public health policy and practice interventions.”

By partnering with local health care providers, key stakeholders and undertaking co-design with the community for the delivery of the interventions, the project will facilitate uptake and translation of research into routine practice.

Professor Davey said the team was delighted to receive the funding to support the University’s preventive health research program.

“We hope that our research will result in health programs that will promote better management of complex and chronic health conditions for improved overall wellbeing of everyone living in the ACT,” said Professor Davey.