On Friday 24th April, Senior Policy Adviser Anne-marie Boxall represented the Alliance at the launch of the Centre of Research Excellence on Social Determinants of Health Equity at Flinders University in Adelaide. The Centre – referred to in brief as the 'CRE for Health Equity' – is a new initiative funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. It was recently awarded $2.4 million in funding over five years. The Centre will be jointly led by Professor Fran Baum, from Flinders University, and Professor Sharon Friel, from the Australian National University.
Over the coming years, the work program of the CRE for Health Equity will be of particular interest and importance to people in rural and remote Australia. Researchers at the Centre will examine policy issues across a wide range of areas that impact on people's health status. These include areas such as trade, taxation, land-use, digital technologies and social security. Importantly, the Centre will have a strong focus on inter-sectoral policy analysis and action, and translating research findings into policy and practice. This will ensure that the work of the Centre has the best possible chance of leading to health improvements among the most disadvantaged Australians.
Because of the important role social determinants play in Indigenous health, the Centre has partnered with the Lowitja Institute, Australia's national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Over the next five years, the Centre will work closely with the Lowitja Institute to better understand the policy issues affecting Indigenous health. Stemming from this work, the Centre will make policy recommendations that aim to make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians.
The National Rural Health Alliance has a strong interest in the social determinants of health, and has been active in this area over the last few years. Over the coming years the Alliance will be keeping a close eye on the research findings coming from the CRE on Health Equity. At every opportunity, we will work with the Centre to help develop and implement policy recommendations that will improve the health and wellbeing of rural Australians.