Building healthy communities
We may know broadly what makes us healthier and happier, but it's difficult to translate that research into policy and practice. Particular challenges are our ageing population, the growing complexity of chronic disease and mental health, and the social, emotional and environmental impacts on health.
La Trobe University focuses on research that attacks disadvantage, builds health and wellbeing, and advocates access to high-quality systems and services. We have a growing reputation in the Asia-Pacific region for our work in strengthening equitable health systems for communities most disadvantaged by poverty, poor educational achievement and reduced life opportunities.
Action on autism
Research indicates that one in 100 children are affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). One such child is the grandson of philanthropist Olga Tennison. She donated A$2.3 million to La Trobe to establish Australia's first centre dedicated to ASD research.
This donation has helped consolidate our position as a national leader in ASD research. This was further strengthened in 2013 when we were named the core partner in a new A$100 million co-operative research centre for 'Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders'
Research at the centre is making a difference through a range of work including identifying the early signs of autism in children as young as 12 months, leading to earlier intervention and better long-term outcomes for children.
Making sense of the world
In 1981, two La Trobe researchers realised that the digital era provided massive opportunities to evaluate data in ways never before possible.
Associate Professor Tom Richards and Professor Lyn Richards developed a software product called NUD*IST to help make sense of 'big data'. The early popularity of the program led to the establishment of QSR International, which is now the largest privately-owned qualitative research software developer in the world. QSR products are used to help interpret and understand data by more than 1.5 million people in more than 150 countries. The results inform health research, social policy and literature reviews.