PhD project to improve health outcomes in rural communities

West Wimmera Health Service (WWHS) in regional Western Victoria and La Trobe University are partnering on a PhD project exploring new health promotion approaches in rural communities.

The project has arisen after West Wimmera Health Services (WWHS) identified that traditional prevention and health promotion activities currently in place, are failing to improve health indicators. WWHS will fund local initiatives over the duration of the three-year research project, involving key community stakeholders.  The purpose of the PhD project will be to conduct a process evaluation of these new community-based health promotion projects.

WWHS and La Trobe are seeking a candidate for the three-year PhD project.  The successful candidate will be offered a scholarship to the value of $27,596 per annum, to support living costs.

Ritchie Dodds, Chief Executive Officer, at West Wimmera Health Services, says the communities they serve face serious challenges in various areas.

“Our West Wimmera community experiences significantly higher than average burden of disease and lower than average screening rates for most cancers.  Obesity, alcohol use and domestic violence are also areas for improvement in the district.  A new approach is required and this project will help empower communities and individuals to respond to the unique challenges of their district,” said Mr Dodds.

Dr Evelien Spelten of La Trobe University says the Industry PhD program is proving to be popular with businesses, as they look at new and innovative ways to solve challenges.

“We’ve had tremendous interest in our Industry PhD program, with two PhD students already based at the Mildura Campus and another two in Bendigo.  The program is a great way for smaller organisations to secure a three year research collaboration with a University at a reasonable cost.

“Along with our current research staff, this successful applicant will join an active and supportive research community.  We are looking for an applicant who has an interest in new ways of health promotion and social determinants of health. We are flexible with where our applicant is based, so I'd encourage interested people to get in touch,” Dr Spelten says.

To find out more about this opportunity, please click here.


Media enquiries
Ashlee Ryan, Community Engagement Coordinator  
T 03 5051 4069