School of Population Health

Grant Success for School of Population Health

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UNSW Medicine has been awarded $5.8 million for six research partnership projects in the latest National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding announced in the federal budget. UNSW Sydney has topped the country, securing 28 per cent of the total funding awarded in this round of Partnership grants, totalling $20.3 million. The School of Population Health has been awarded grants to fuel important research projects ranging from mental health, health data collection, and post hospitalization patient care:


Providing support to patients following hospitalisation

Scientia Professor Mark Harris from UNSW’s Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity has received $1 million for a project to evaluate ways community health workers can provide follow up and support care to patients after they have been in hospital.  
“Patients with multiple long-term conditions are at risk of re-hospitalisation which places a significant burden on the health system. Community health workers are a cost-effective way to help patients navigate the transition from hospital to the community and access ongoing care,” Prof. Harris said.   
The project will develop a program for community health workers to provide follow up and support care to patients following hospitalisation. A trial will be run to evaluate the effectiveness of community health workers on health service and health outcomes.
Partners in this study are the Sydney Local Health District, Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network, NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation and Health Consumers NSW. 



Unifying health data

Professor Siaw-Teng Liaw from the School, has received $735,000 for a project that will combine and quality assure data from different health care services and facilities.
“This project has many positive outcomes,” Prof. Liaw said. “It will ensure health data held in different sources are saved in the same format, it will enable personal data from disparate systems to be integrated and become interoperable, and it will ensure a standardised approach to the governance and ethics of how health data are stored, shared and used.”
Working through the Australian Health Research Alliance, this project will link clinical data collected from general practices and combine them into a common data model. It will then link general practice data to other sources of data including hospital data and genomic tests.  

This will enrich existing data routinely collected in clinical information systems and promote personalised medicine, which tailors treatments to individual patients rather than treating patients with a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Personalised medicine uses information from past clinical events, family history and genomic information.
The project partners are NPS MedicineInsight, Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network, South Western Sydney Local Health District and GP Synergy.



MRFF funding for COVID-19 mental health research

Dr. George Karystianis, Senior Lecturer Dr Adrienne Withall and Professor Tony Butler from the Schools’ Justice Health Research Program have been awarded $232,159 from the NHMRC's Medical Research Future Fund to investigate the mental health needs of the Australian population during the COVID-19 crisis. The project will employ text mining and data linkage, to process police records over the past four years and investigate whether there have been increases in mental illness and domestic violence incidence including self-harm and suicide attempts both before and during the COVID-19 crisis.  This work extends a working relationship between the JHRP and the NSW Police Force.

Prof Butler recently led the move of The Justice Health Research Program from the Kirby Institute to SPH, bringing with him a track record of research in offender health, mental illness, role of traumatic brain injury in offending behaviour, blood-borne viral infections, smoking cessation, health surveillance, sexual health, and violence.

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School of Population Health, UNSW Medicine