Investing in Health

Priority Research Theme: Healthy Ageing

Reducing The Heavy Burden Of Chronic Diseases And Diseases Of Ageing

Theme Co-Leaders: Professor Stephen Leeder And Professor Richard Lindley

Chronic diseases and the diseases of ageing represent a growing range of diseases which are the leading causes of death, disability and reduced qaulity of life in all western nations. Stroke and heart disease kill thousands of Australians each year, and mental illness is one of the major causes of health-related suffering. As birth rates fall or stabilize and life expectancy increases, populations across the globe are ageing. Thanks to improved medical care, higher quality diet, decreased smoking, and more sophisticated treatments for blood pressure and cholesterol, we are living longer lives. With these changing demographics comes a sharp rise in the occurrence of chronic disease.

This theme seeks to support research workers within the University of Sydney who are committed to making new breakthroughs in understanding the origins, the science of effective prevention, and the optimum ways of managing chronic disease in the Australian and international community. It recognises the necessity for many disciplines to contribute, and aims to unite practitioners from varied backgrounds to converse, fertilise new and stimulating ideas from other perspectives, gain inspiration from each other's enthusiasm and find novel research projects to work on collaboratively to which each participant brings strength and unique insight.

Research into the causes, patterns and control of chronic diseases like asthma, cancer, arthritis and hepatitis benefit from such multidsciplinary insights, and opportunities to apply these are found in abundance at a large institution like our University. The outcome is meaningful contributions to improved health in Australia and the rest of the world.

Funding Opportunity: Reducing Avoidable Hospital Admissions Among Rural And Remote-Living Australians

Dr Megan Passey and her team aim to reduce avoidable hospital admissions and unnecessary hospital presentations in rural people with chronic conditions, by increasing understanding of community-based care and support and how these can be improved.

The project will study rural chronic disease patients admitted to hospital, to develop an understanding of the personal, social, environmental and health system factors contributing to avoidable hospital admissions among rural Australians, in order to devise solutions that specifically address these factors and reduce avoidable hospital admissions. Their research will provide vital information for understanding factors contributing to avoidable admissions for rural people, and the appropriate policy and progammatic response, thus helping to reduce rural/urban disparities in health.

Staff support $150,000 per year
Over three years: $450,000