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A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


21 Nov 2016

Funding boost to tackle health challenges in northern Australia

A Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) project to tackle health challenges in northern Australia has been awarded $6 million grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The project will create opportunities to attract health and medical staff to northern Australia and provide professional development and interdisciplinary training in disease surveillance, policy and practice, case management and prevention, and build capacity to respond to emerging infectious threats.

The Doherty Institute is one of eight partners on the project, Improving Health Outcomes in the Tropical North: A Multidisciplinary Collaboration (HOT NORTH). Infectious Diseases Physician, Associate Professor Steven Tong and Laboratory Head, Professor Cameron Simmons are investigators on the grant.

“As a partner of this initiative there is enormous potential for the Doherty Institute to strengthen collaborations with Menzies and to continue contributing to closing the gap in Indigenous health in northern Australia,” Associate Professor Tong said.

Chief Investigator and team leader for Tropical and Emerging Infectious Diseases at Menzies, Professor Bart Currie, said building capacity of health professionals and scientists in northern Australia will improve health outcomes, for not only Australia, but also the Asia Pacific regions.

“Our research will focus on skin and respiratory health, chronic diseases such as diabetes, and emerging threats, including increasing antimicrobial resistance and diseases transmitted by mosquitoes,” Professor Currie said.

Menzies and the partner institutes in Australia will work with Indigenous stakeholders to improve health service delivery in remote communities.

“Building strong primary health care systems is recognised worldwide as a key element to improve health outcomes, reduce inequity and close the gap,” Professor Currie added.

Menzies will establish a research academy to train and develop medical and other health professionals beyond their core discipline, by promoting interdisciplinary thinking and collaboration.

The research program will accelerate translation of new knowledge into regional and national guidelines for the prevention and management of diseased relevant to the north and to Australia’s northern neighbours.

HOT NORTH participating institutions:

  • Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University
  • Telethon Kids Institute
  • James Cook University
  • Doherty Institute, The University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Marie Bashir Institute, The University of Sydney
  • Burnet Institute
  • South Australian Health and Medical Reearch Institute
  • QIMR Berghofer