Director's welcome

Building Healthy Communities (BHC) is one of the five Research Focus Areas at La Trobe University. BHC was established in late 2013 with the aim to foster collaboration among academics, government, industry and community organisations to undertake innovative and practical research to inform practice and enhance health and wellbeing in communities in Australia and in the Asia Pacific.

Promoting population health and wellbeing is one of the most significant challenges facing Australia and is recognised as a research priority by the Australian Government. We need research that will optimise the effective delivery of health care and related systems and services, maximise social and economic participation in society and improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians.

The researchers in BHC are working to better improve health outcomes by understanding the underlying causes, interconnections and impacts of health services and health systems.  Strong partnerships already exist within the University and with local, national and international partners from industry, government, not-for-profit organisations, hospitals and health service providers but we want to strengthen and deepen these partnerships and find new ways of fostering debate and collaboration.

The themes that guide our research fall under four major interconnected themes:

  1. Optimising health and wellbeing through social and economic policies as well as health, educational and human services
  2. Meeting the health needs of disadvantaged groups
  3. Promoting health and wellbeing across the life course
  4. Supporting the health, social and educational systems in the Asia Pacific region

The values of equity, social inclusion, social justice and human rights are fundamental to our research focus. We seek to contribute to the creation and sustainability of communities in which:

  • Early disadvantage is reduced and ameliorated
  • Ageing is not regarded as a problem
  • Individuals and groups are free from stigma and discrimination
  • Diversity and difference are celebrated

In 2013/14 BHChas funded 19 research projects, involving over 40 researchers from various disciplines including psychology, nursing, law, economics, management, and sociology. If you are interested in learning more about our Funded Research Projects, we would love to hear from you.

We are seeking to foster partnerships with business, international organisations, state and local government departments, not-for-profit organisations, leading international universities, philanthropic organisations, and our indigenous, local, regional, national and international communities.   We also want to hear from new or established researchers and potential postgraduate students interested in joining our teams and benefiting from our world-class research facilities and generous scholarship funds.

As Director of the Building Healthy Communities RFA, I invite you to take a closer look at our funded projects and be inspired by the diversity and scope of the work underway.


Professor Alan Shiell

Director, Research Focus Area, Building Healthy Communities, Professor of Health Economics

Department of Public Health

School of Psychology and Public Health

La Trobe University, Victoria 3086

T: +61 3 9479 5098

M: +61 429202997