School of Population Health

New research to help tackle the impact of COVID-19 on women's health and well-being

Women's health and well-being

The UNSW School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM) is contributing to the response to COVID-19 with new research supported by UNSW's recently established Rapid Response Research Fund for COVID-19.

Head of School, Professor Rebecca Ivers says that this research will provide needed evidence to understand the implications of COVID-19 on clinical practice and other health and equity priorities. 

"While the world is making progress to curb the spread of COVID-19, there is much we still need to understand about its impact on current understanding of the best ways to prevent and treat disease and injury, " says Professor Ivers. 

"Understanding the long term impacts of COVID-19 are crucial for ensuring the best for health and social outcomes for populations around the world, especially those most vulnerable." 

Dr Patricia Cullen from the SPHCM and The George Institute for Global Health is a collaborator on one of the new funded projects looking at the impact of COVID-19 on women’s health and well-being. 

"It is important that we understand and address the sex and gendered impacts of COVID-19, particularly for affected patients, health workers and women impacted by domestic and family violence," says Dr Cullen.

"There are widespread concerns that COVID-19 social isolation measures may increase women’s risk of domestic and family violence; however routinely collected data are scarce," she says. 

The implications for women and first-responder services are not being systematically tracked, preventing the development of coordinated and effective responses. As part of this project, researchers will work in collaboration with frontline health and specialist domestic and family violence services in Australia to undertake mapping of service activity and regulatory responses, as well as geospatial trends in online searches and social media activities, to understand the extent to which needs are being met across services that are first responders. 

"The results will help inform services and policymakers in developing tailored strategies that can be implemented during the escalating pandemic as well as future outbreaks, and contribute to longer-term policy reform to enhance equitable and more effective health outcomes for women," says Dr Cullen.
The project called 'COVID-19: Understanding the sex and gender dimensions on women’s health and wellbeing' is led by Professor Louise Chappell from the Australian Human Rights Institute at UNSW in collaboration with The George Institute for Global Health, UNSW School of Women's and Children's Health and the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Faculties of Engineering and Arts & Social Sciences, and the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

UNSW is the home of many world class researcher experts with research capability in or closely related to COVID-19. Find out more about UNSW Research COVID-19 here.
Find out more information about UNSW's response to COVID-19 here.

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School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM)