Sydney Health Projects Group

A constituent research centre of the School of Public Health

The prime purpose of the Sydney Health Projects Group (SHPG) is to carry out commissioned projects in public health, health policy, health services development and evaluation, and health and medical research and development policy. Its staff are committed to the application of research rigour in all phases of these projects, from project definition and design, through analysis and reporting, to dissemination and implementation.

They accept projects in almost any field of health, carrying out commissioned projects, and collaborating with experts in particular areas of health policy, practice or research.

Where possible, the staff collaborate with our colleagues in the School of Public Health in undertaking commissioned projects. They also contribute academically, both through extensive teaching in the University of Sydney Medical Program and Master of Public Health and related programs, through research, and through our service to the academic community.

Strengths of the SHPG

  • Staff bring research rigour to all of the projects from their extensive training and experience in a wide variety of health research methods, quantitative and qualitative.
  • Staff also have first-hand knowledge of the Australian health system, with diverse backgrounds in the Commonwealth government, state governments, health services at regional and institutional levels, non-government health organisations, and research organisations. Their extensive practical experience spans policy development and implementation, health system management, public health, clinical services, and research projects. This enables the Group to integrate policy, management, research, service and community perspectives.
  • SHPG is independent - with have no vested interests and they are non-aligned
  • The Group have extensive experience in managing projects, including complex projects with collaborators throughout Australia, and a demonstrated capacity to adapt to evolving requirements in defining and carrying out projects. SHPG has an extensive track record of completing a wide variety of difficult health projects commissioned by Commonwealth and state governments, major national public-sector agencies, regional health authorities, non-government organisations, the academic sector, and the private sector.
  • SHPG clients widely recognise the high scientific standard of the work, the strength and clarity of SHPG reports, and the Group's ability to present findings orally in high-level forums.

How projects are allocated

In most instances SHPG are invited directly by the commissioning agency to undertake a project.

SHPG discuss the project with senior staff of the commissioning agency, and reach a clear understanding of their needs and intentions. Often this process not only helps SHPG staff to understand what is required, but helps staff of the commissioning agency to understand their needs and intentions more clearly. There is no charge for these initial discussions.

If the agency decides to proceed, and if SHPG consider that the project can be undertaken in accordance with the agency's wishes, SHPG prepare a proposal describing the project plan, methods, timetable and costs. Where possible, projects are carried out on a fixed-cost basis, with the cost calculated from an estimate of the amount of time that staff of the SHPG will put into the project. A spreadsheet detailing this calculation is included in the proposal.

Initiation of the project follows the signing of a formal contract or an exchange of correspondence specifying the expectations of the commissioning agency and the SHPG. Contracting arrangements are made in consultation with the University's Business Liaison Office, and must comply with relevant University policies.

Staff often form collaborative proposals for projects, bringing together their analytic and project-management capacity with the depth of knowledge that content experts bring to their fields of expertise. SHPG are willing either to lead such collaborations, or to participate in consortia led by others.

Projects are undertaken if SHPG consider that they can do them well, and can fulfil the needs and expectations of their clients. SHPG are privileged to have been able to carry out projects of great significance for the Australian health system at national, state, regional, and institutional levels.

SHPG projects

Members of SHPG have worked on projects in the following fields:

  • strategic development of health and medical research in The University of Sydney;
  • development of a schema for the evaluation of evidence on public health interventions;
  • diabetes, including the implementation and dissemination of national guidelines for Type 2 diabetes, the development of a national diabetes information framework, and the evaluation of service improvement initiatives for people with diabetic foot disease;
  • immunisation, including the development of a national immunisation strategy;
  • congestive cardiac failure, including the development of a clinical service framework and the evaluation of initiatives to reduce readmissions and to improve clinical outcomes, patient quality of life and carer burden for cardiac failure patients;
  • analysis of obstetric and perinatal service outcomes in conjunction with the Ministerial Inquiry into King Edward Memorial Hospital (Western Australia);
  • evaluation of initiatives to improve outcomes and reduce re-admissions for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;
  • stroke, including the evaluation of initiatives to improve the management of stroke patients after discharge from hospital, and a review to underpin guidelines on the control of hypertension in the secondary prevention of stroke;
  • policy recommendations to improve community acceptability of forensic pathology services in NSW;
  • recommendations to enhance uptake of research in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health;
  • recommendations to ensure that major national public health strategies incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health imperatives.

SHPG have also served as the secretariat of:

  • the Australian Health Policy Institute at the University of Sydney;
  • the Faculty of Medicine Research Development Committee; and
  • the Sydney Health and Biotechnology Alliance (the health and medical research hub linking the Central Sydney Area Health Service and the main campus of the University of Sydney).

SHPG staff

Professor Michael Frommer, Director - MBBS, DObstRCOG, MPH, FAFPHM, FAFOM
Michael is Director of The Sydney Health Projects Group. With a background in medicine, he has more than two decades' experience in occupational health, public health, epidemiology, health information, health services development and evaluation, and health research policy, both in academia and in government. He has also published widely in these fields. Michael's previous posts include Director, Epidemiology and Surveillance, National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety; Deputy Director, Epidemiology, NSW Health Department; Director, Research and Development, NSW Health Department; Acting Chief Executive, NSW Cancer Council; and Deputy Director, Effective Healthcare Australia.

John Bennett, Project Co-ordinator - BA (Hons), MCR
John gained a 2:1 honours in philosophy & sociology in England, then traveled widely (his passport warns border guards that he is a poet). He ended up in Sydney and has worked in the NSW public service for the Dept. of Health and more recently with the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service as a policy officer. He has considerable project implementation and project management expertise.

Dr Rebekah Jenkin, Senior Associate - BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, Dip Law
Rebekah began her research career as a pharmacologist and later moved to clinical and health services work. She has particular expertise and experience in medical research and development, health policy development, implementation and evaluation, and research and health ethics. Rebekah has worked in a number of areas of research and teaching including pharmacology, pyschopharmacology and neurophysiology; ageing and dementia research; science, medical and policy writing; and, more recently, in government in policy areas. Rebekah recently completed a law degree and is very interested in health law, particularly issues related to health ethics and health policy.

Ms Christine Madronio, Research Officer - DipHSci (Podiatry) BAppSci (Exercise & Sport Science), MPH
Christine has a diploma in Podiatry and an undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sport Science. She has worked within the public health system both as a podiatrist and a research officer. Her research career began at the University of Sydney in the field of exercise science. She has also worked with the University of Technology Sydney focusing on research in intensive care settings. Christine is currently undertaking a Masters degree in Public Health.

Ms Rosa Reitano, Administrative Officer - BSocSc
After completing a Bachelor of Social Science degree at the University of Western Sydney, Rosa joined a major Australian non-profit community services organisation. She had various administrative and coordinator roles in the Counselling Services and Regional Administration Office, including Volunteer Coordinator. She maintains close association through continuing her voluntary work as a telephone counsellor (for over 10 years now). Rosa co-ordinates the administration of the Sydney Health Projects Group.

Dr Lucie Rychetnik, Senior Associate - BSc (Hons) Nutrition, PGrad Dip Dietetics, MPH, PhD
Lucie has expertise in reviewing evidence in public health and health promotion; conducting commissioned projects in public health research and evaluation, and policy and practice development; and conducting public health workforce development and training on evidence-based practice. She has also taught epidemiology, critical appraisal, biostatistics, and qualitative research methods to postgraduate students at the University of Sydney Masters of Public Health and Masters of Clinical Epidemiology programs. As a health practitioner, Lucie has worked in clinical dietetics, community nutrition and migrant health promotion.

SHPG clients

  • Commonwealth and State governments;
  • major national agencies, such as the NHMRC and the National Public Health Partnership;
  • universities;
  • regional health authorities, notably Central Sydney Area Health Service; and
  • non-government organisations.

Contact details

Mailing address:
Sydney Health Projects Group
Level 3
Victor Coppleson Building (D02)
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Professor Michael Frommer, Director
Phone: +61 2 9351 4394
Fax: +61 2 9351 7218

John Bennett, Project Co-ordinator
Phone: +61 2 9036 5050
Fax: +61 2 9351 7218

Dr Rebekah Jenkin, Senior Associate
Phone: +61 2 9351 7219
Fax: +61 2 9351 7218

Ms Christine Madronio, Research Officer
Phone: +61 2 9351 2719
Fax: +61 2 9351 7218

Ms Rosa Reitano, Administrative Officer
Phone: +61 2 9351 2930
Fax: +61 2 9351 7218

Dr Lucie Rychetnik, Senior Associate
Phone: +61 2 9351 6824
Fax: +61 2 9351 7218