La Trobe University has ranked second in the world for its growing contribution to good health and wellbeing in the latest Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.
The rankings, now in their second year, scored 766 higher education institutions in each of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Professor Meg Morris, Director of the Academic Research Collaborative in Health (ARCH), explains why La Trobe is a world leader in biomedical, clinical, public health and health service research initiatives.
Outstanding academics. La Trobe has an outstanding cohort of health and social care academics who specialise in multidisciplinary research with translational outcomes. “The University has co-funded chairs based in hospitals and health services, allowing academics to work directly with our partners on a daily basis,” says Morris. “And our reach is significant. Our campuses at Bendigo, Mildura, Shepparton and Albury Wodonga have strong collaborative partnerships and research strength in rural, regional and remote communities. Our Rural Health School is the largest of its kind in Australia.” The result? A world-class contribution that transforms health and wellbeing and has a real impact on people’s lives.
Research centres. La Trobe boasts multiple health-focused research centres. The Living with Disability Research Centre co-partners with people to improve health, wellbeing and quality of life. The La Trobe Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine Research develops targeted physical activities and exercise therapy to improve human movement. The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society is a leader in research on sex and sexuality. The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre advances knowledge, education and policies on autism spectrum disorders. The Judith Lumley Centre explores issues of major public health importance for parents and infants, across different cultures, geographical regions and age groups. Discoveries by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research inform the development of evidence-based policy in Australia and internationally. And the Centre for Research Excellence in Aphasia Rehabilitation and Recovery specialises in rehabilitation to enable people with neurological conditions to live well. “Examples such as these show that La Trobe is exceptional at responding to the community’s need for more information and evidence in key health areas. We co-partner with stakeholders to ensure that the knowledge that we produce quickly reaches end-users,” says Morris.
Institutes. La Trobe conducts biomedical, clinical and health services research through the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) and affiliated Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI). The ONJCRI undertake collaborative research and joint training of medical researchers with La Trobe to improve health outcomes for patients with cancer. LIMS researchers work closely with the ONJCRI to move their molecular discoveries from the lab bench to the bedside.
Indigenous health. La Trobe is committed to research and education in indigenous health. “The Bouverie Centre is a great example of leadership in this space,” explains Morris. “It combines clinical family therapy, model development, academic teaching, qualitative and quantitative research, workforce development and community education, to advance knowledge, health and social justice.” SHE College researchers are also working on a range of transformative projects. Dr Catherine Chamberlain is leading a world-first program to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents experiencing complex trauma. Dr Mishel McMahon is examining First Nations principles of parenting. And Dr Mary Whiteside, Dr Sarah MacLean and Kathleen Maltzahn are working with Mallee District Aboriginal Services to embed the Family Wellbeing Program into staff training and client services.
ARCH. La Trobe University’s College of Science, Health and Engineering established the ARCH, a partnership with nine leading Victorian healthcare providers. It brings together researchers, clinicians, healthcare professionals, managers and policy makers skilled in the translation of interdisciplinary research. Future leaders have access to specialist mentoring pathways, while placements offer students valuable experience at the clinical interface. “The ARCH is about partnerships that deliver better care to Australians,” says Morris. “Our model promotes close ties between research, education, training, clinical practice and consumer engagement. The end result is high-quality, science-led care with major impact to the lives of Australians.”
Monash Partners. La Trobe is an affiliate member of Monash Partners Academic Health Science Centre, a multi-disciplinary partnership that connects researchers, clinicians and the community to improve the health and wellbeing of 3.5 million Victorians. As well as research collaborations, mentoring and research training, it also provides pathways to reach consumers, community partners, clinicians, health services, policy makers, researchers and thought leaders.
MACH. La Trobe is an affiliate member of the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (MACH). One of nine National Health and Medical Research Council-accredited research translation centres in Australia, MACH takes targeted, evidence-based research findings and quickly turns them into healthcare practice. La Trobe joins 19 hospitals and medical research institutes in the partnership, providing representation on subcommittees, as well as offering workshops for clinicians and researchers.
“These are just some examples that demonstrate the breadth and excellence of La Trobe University’s inter-disciplinary, translational research,” says Professor Morris. “They highlight our strong commitment to co-producing our work with consumers and healthcare partners, from initial ideas, all the way through to the fast delivery of new therapies that improve health and wellbeing.”