Latest NHMRC grants a boost in the fight against chronic disease and injury

Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has awarded a total of $4.2 million in grants to The George Institute for Global Health to fund projects addressing some of the world's biggest health concerns.

Executive Director of The George Institute, Australia, Professor Vlado Perkovic, said: "This success is something we are very proud of. This funding will go a long way to help improve health outcomes in Australia and around the world and provide critical support for the people who make this work possible."

The grants were funded towards the following fellowships:


Research Fellowships

Professor Anushka Patel: Improving outcomes in chronic disease prevention and control

This fellowship focuses on improving health outcomes in people with or at risk of chronic diseases. This will involve systematic reviews to better understand the efficacy and safety of preventive therapies, with an emphasis on people with multiple chronic disease, and building on an ongoing program of health services research to identify novel strategies for implementation of evidence-based care within complex health systems. The work will be conducted largely in Australia, China and India.

Professor Rebecca Ivers: Reducing the global burden of injury through effective prevention and trauma care

Injury is a major cause of death and disability globally, including in low and middle income countries and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Professor Ivers will lead a policy focused research program to identify risk factors for major causes of unintentional injury (road injury, burns, falls and drowning), develop and evaluate programs to prevent injuries, and lead work in health systems to improve trauma care and rehabilitation in both Australia, and globally.


Career Development Fellowships

Associate Professor Lisa Keay: Preventing injuries and promoting health, safety and mobility for older people with age-related eye disease

Maintaining health in later life depends on our ability to be independently mobile but also safe.  This is a major public health problem, as older people are vulnerable to injury, particularly those who have lost sight.  This program of research will tackle the two major causes of injury to older people: falls and road traffic injuries.  Innovative strategies are being comprehensively evaluated which stand to prevent injury and make a difference to the lives of many older Australians.

Associate Professor Maree Hackett: Improving the identification, management and outcome of people with depression and other chronic diseases

Associate Professor Hackett's research is designed to reduce depression and help people with chronic disease have a better quality of life. Prof Hackett will work with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities to improve how depression is identified, prevented and treated. The project will work with the general community who have major depression, depression that is difficult to treat and people with depression and chronic disease to improve their outcomes. It will also aim to improve the recovery of people who have had a stroke.

Associate Professor Julie Redfern: Implementation of innovative strategies for CVD secondary prevention

Heart disease is the leading cause of death and disease globally. The resulting social and economic burden is of growing concern and the demand for efficient care is intensifying. Associate Professor Redfern's research aims to implement innovative, scalable and efficient strategies to improve outcomes for people living with heart disease. Specifically, the research will evaluate how text messaging and mobile apps can strengthen patient-level behaviour change and how data can be used to strengthen health service delivery.

Professor David Peiris: Strengthening primary health care systems for under-served populations worldwide

The World Health Organization has identified the strengthening of primary health care systems as a priority area for global health. Professor Peiris's research program focusses on identifying, developing and testing innovative strategies to improve access to high quality primary health care for under-served populations in Australia (particularly for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities), rural India, China and the USA.


Early Career Fellowships

Dr Thomas Lung: Simulating the long-term health economic impact of overweight and obesity in Australia and identifying cost-effective treatment or prevention strategies

Increasing levels of obesity in Australia negatively impact on health and at considerable cost to the health system. Recent availability of large individual-level health datasets enables us to develop a better understanding of weight gain on the progression of obesity related co-morbidities, mortality and healthcare costs. This fellowship provides much-needed evidence on obesity interventions and its impact on long-term costs and benefits in Australia to inform future obesity related policies.

Dr Kristina Petersen: A practical new method of measuring population salt intake

The World Health Organization has set a target for member countries to reduce salt intake by 30% by 2025. Key to this is measurement of population salt intake. Collection of 24-hour urine samples is the gold standard used to estimate salt intake but this method is burdensome. Collection of a single urine sample is an alternative method. This project will bring together all of the available data worldwide to assess the reliability of using a single urine sample to measure population salt intake.