Sustainable Community Healthcare Networks


This project will apply social network theory to the problem of coordinating healthcare to optimise the control and treatment of diet-related disease.


Professor Manfred Lenzen

Research Location

Charles Perkins Centre – the Judith and David Coffey Life Lab

Program Type



We propose to study the problem of coordinating healthcare to optimise the control and treatment of diet-related disease. A study of social networks and its analysis can help in understanding the frequency, strength of ties, density of the individuals, teams and community members. Of particular interest to us are the social networks that emerge in an ad hoc fashion in response to fluctuating demands on the system. These networks typically consist of representatives from different federal, state, and local government and NGO agencies. Our study will contribute to an understanding of how such extended networks operate in a coordinated manner in the context of mitigation and management of chronic disease, and to inform the creative use of information technology tools to facilitate communication and coordination of preparation and implementation through such social networks. The main questions we address in this proposal are:

  1. What role and implications do these ad-hoc networks have in sharing local knowledge so that intervention coordination can be effective?
  2. How can we capitalize on the existing ad-hoc response networks for building a sustainable healthcare coordination program?
  3. How can we develop a better understanding of the state of inter agency communication for management of chronic disease?
  4. How do we support, equip, and enable ad-hoc networks to function more?

Additional Information

The Life Lab creates a new kind of graduate and postgraduate training environment at the interface between life, social, economic and physical sciences. Its focus is to address the significant challenges we face from an unsustainable food system that degrades the environmental services it depends on, and creates significant societal health problems. A better understanding of the complexity of the environment-food-health nexus is critical. It is fundamental to building a sustainable society, and one that is more robust to future uncertainties. Our unique approach will be a world-first in shifting research on these growing challenges from treating symptoms to prevention.Life Lab will challenge existing paradigms and university models to create a research training environment in which traditional disciplinary boundaries do not apply. Our ambitious vision is to create an ‘innovation hub' where researchers from disciplines spanning physical, life and social and economic sciences will interface with business, government and agency leaders. It will develop integrated approaches to the challenges that threaten societal wellbeing, and train the next generation of experts with the skills required to find solutions.

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social network theory, modeling, chronic disease, coordination, public health, sustainability, nutrition

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1702

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