New research projects

Professor David Johnston

  • ARC Discovery grant
    Microeconomic analysis of socioeconomic inequity in mental healthcare
    with Michael Shields, Nicole Black and Anthony Harris

    The project aims to describe the extent of socioeconomic inequity in Australian mental healthcare, identify the causal pathways that drive socioeconomic inequities, and economically evaluate programs aimed at increasing healthcare access. Microeconometric methods will be used to analyse large, longitudinal survey and administrative datasets that have not previously been used for this purpose. The project expects to provide a greater understanding of the barriers people face in accessing treatment and how to overcome them. Such understanding is currently missing from academic literature. Ultimately, the research should aid in the design of cost-effective policies that improve mental health and that reduce inequities in treatment access.
  • ARC Linkage grant
    Insecure work and the mental health of workers and their families
    with Michael Shields and Sonja De New

    This project aims to explore the relationship between insecure employment and mental health by applying advanced econometric methods to large administrative datasets and newly collected survey data. This is expected to provide causal policy-relevant estimates of how job and economic insecurity is affecting the mental health of workers and their families, and for whom the effects are most harmful. It is also expected to inform on how mental health influences the types of jobs that people enter into. This research should provide significant benefits, including the evidence needed to improve existing workplace programs and policies, and to ensure that assistance is efficiently targeted to those workers and industries with the greatest need.

Professor Anthony Harris

  • NHMRC Synergy grant
    Improving patient outcomes through better use of blood products
    jointly with Maame Esi Woode, Zoe McQuilten

    Professor Anthony Harris will lead part of the NHMRC Synergy Grant on improving patient outcomes through better use of blood products.
  • National Blood Authority grant
    A registry analysis of the impact of perioperative patient blood management guidelines on blood use, patient outcomes and costs for cardiac surgery
    jointly with Dennis Petrie and Adam Irving

    Professor Anthony Harris will lead the NBA Grant. This grant is being provided as part of the National Blood Sector Research and Development Program which aims to facilitate world-class research and development in Australia that contributes to optimising the use, management and administration of blood products, and improves patient outcomes.
  • Department of Health CRISTAL Project
    Cluster Randomised Trial of Aspirin versus Low molecular weight heparin for venous thromboembolism
    jointly with Ian Harris

    Professor Anthony Harris will lead part of the DOH CRISTAL project. Hip and knee replacement surgery represent the two most costly medical procedures performed in Australia (over $2 billion in direct costs annually). Venous thromboembolism is an uncommon but serious complication of joint replacement surgery and although chemoprophylaxis is routinely recommended, there is uncertainty and controversy regarding which drugs should be used. Systematic reviews have highlighted the lack of high-quality evidence and the need for large high-quality trials comparing aspirin to other drugs.
  • NHMRC clinical trials
    Professor Anthony Harris will lead part of the NHMRC Clinical trials on A randomised controlled trial of telephone-delivered psychological treatment to reduce methamphetamine use.

Associate Professor Gang Chen

  • NHMRC Ideas grant
    Screening for Primary Aldosteronism: Outcomes, Economics and Biomarkers
    with Dr Jun Yang and Dr Maame Ise Woode

    Associate Professor Gang Chen will lead part of the NHMRC Ideas Grant, with colleagues at Hudson Institute of Medical Research, titled 'Screening for Primary Aldosteronism: Outcomes, Economics and Biomarkers'. Hypertension is a major cause of strokes, blindness, heart attacks and kidney failure. Primary aldosteronism (PA) is a curable cause of hypertension. Unfortunately, PA often goes undiagnosed as most doctors do not screen for it, leading to hypertension that is difficult to control and high risk of strokes and heart attacks at a younger age. This project will find out exactly how many people in our community have PA and find new cost-effective ways to make the diagnosis earlier.
  • Department of Health
    Precision Medicine for hypertension: Early detection of primary aldosteronism

    Associate Professor Gang Chen will lead part of the DOH grant. Hypertension is a major cause of strokes, blindness, heart attacks and kidney failure. Primary aldosteronism (PA) is a curable cause of hypertension. Unfortunately, PA often goes undiagnosed as most doctors do not screen for it, leading to hypertension that is difficult to control and high risk of strokes and heart attacks at a younger age. This project will find out exactly how many people in our community have PA and find new cost-effective ways to make the diagnosis earlier.

Dr Maame Esi Woode

  • NHMRC Ideas grant
    The algorithm will see you now: ethical, legal and social implications of adopting machine learning systems for diagnosis and screening
    with Associate Professor Gang Chen

    Dr. Maame Esi Woode will lead part of the NHMRC Project Grant, with colleagues at the Universities of Wollongong, Sydney, Adelaide and Macquarie University, titled ‘The algorithm will see you now: ethical, legal and social implications of adopting machine learning systems for diagnosis and screening.’ The project focuses on machine learning - a form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) - which can now diagnose and screen for conditions including breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. The multi-disciplinary team will systematically examine how AI is changing healthcare, and the values of data scientists, health professionals and the public. Drawing on ethics, social sciences and the law, the study will develop a new approach to guide future use of machine learning for diagnosis and screening.

Pharmaceutical Advisory Committee (PBAC) and Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC)

The HTA team has had a very busy start to 2020 after successfully tendering for work with the Department of Health to conduct evaluations for the Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Singaporean Ministry of Health in addition to their usual portfolio of work conducting reviews for the Pharmaceutical Advisory Committee (PBAC). In delivering all the new work tendered, the team successfully recruited Laura Fanning in January.

Laura Fanning is a clinical pharmacist and has recently completed her PhD in 2019 with the Faculty Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences. Despite her short time with us, she has already successfully completed one PBAC evaluation, contributed to a tender and a grant proposal. The team has just completed a busy PBAC round, despite the high load and the challenges of working from home, the final commentaries were of a very high standard and were delivered within a very tight timeframe.

The HTA team is also working more collaboratively across CHE accessing wider HTA expertise within the centre with Dennis Petrie currently leading a MSAC evaluation on blood products together with Sara Carrillo, Maame Esi Woode and Karinna Saxby.

Team members are also working with other academics within the CHE contributing to a variety of projects. Kah Ling Sia has worked with Anthony Harris, Gang Chen and Maame Esi Woode on a TAC project, Karen Yong has worked with Duncan Mortimer on a falls prevention model, Jing Bo Li is working with Gang Chen on measuring hearing loss with AQoL, Peter is working with Dennis Petrie and Gang Chen for his PhD and Jing Jing Li is working with Tony Harris and Duncan Mortimer for her PhD.

In effort to diversify and expand capabilities within the group, the team will be continuingly looking out for interesting projects in 2020 and beyond.

Fiji

Revitalising informal settlements and their environments

Settlement in Makassar
  • Professor David Johnston, Dr Rowan Sweeney and Michelle Escobar

Objective 4: Well-being led by Professor David Johnston at CHE

RISE is an action-research program working at the intersections of health, environment, and water and sanitation. RISE is trialling a new water sensitive approach to water and sanitation management in 24 informal settlements across Makassar, Indonesia and Suva, Fiji.

The physical environment is a significant structural determinant of well-being. Changes to this environment can affect how people live, how they feel about themselves and their lives, and how safe they feel. It can affect an individual’s capacity for paid work and to feel part of a community. By design, RISE will improve housing stock, physical layout, and green spaces. Objective 4 will monitor the effects of physical structural change on individual and community well-being.

Indonesia

Informal settlements in developing countries

  • David Johnston, Rohan Sweeney, Rachel Knott and Michelle Escobar

CHE staff are collaborating with Universitas Hasanuddin in Indonesia and Fiji National University, seeking to improve the health and wellbeing of residents of informal settlements. These are some of the world’s most financially vulnerable communities - facing significant exposure to environmental health hazards from poor access to clean water and sanitation, frequent flooding and now changing climates. This collaboration is part of the Monash-led interdisciplinary RISE (Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments) cluster randomised controlled trial funded by the Wellcome Trust (UK), Asian Development Bank and NZAID. Professor David Johnston is leading the RISE wellbeing assessment, surveying 1300 households across Indonesia and Fiji every 6 months to measure how RISE’s novel nature-based water-management community upgrades impact on the wellbeing of residents. CHE researchers are further making major research contributions to better understand factors that help and hinder the health and wellbeing of these most vulnerable communities and identify strategies for policy-makers to improve the sustainability of community upgrade projects.

Community upgrade projects, Fiji

Norway

How is your life? (…in the time of corona…)

  • Associate Professor Gang Chen

Associate Professor Gang Chen and Professor Jan Abel Olsen (University of Tromsø, Norway, and Monash University) are currently co-leading a multi-country 'How Is Your Life' study to understand the influence of COVID-19 on personal well being of the general public. This project is funded by an ARC DECRA project (titled 'What do Australians really care about? New survey and experimental evidence') and the University of Tromsø.

The outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) COVID-19 triggered policy interventions that have affected people to an extent they have not previously experienced – let alone imagined. Many have lost their jobs, others are temporary laid-off. Freedom to move around has become restricted. Many are anxious about their health and safety. All in all, life has simply become much different! Countries were differently prepared for the outbreak, in terms of their healthcare systems and social insurance schemes. Different sets of interventions have been chosen. Within countries, people have been hit differently – flight attendants have lost their jobs, while professors have now suddenly been encouraged to work from home! It is hoped that results from this project will inform policy makers about which life domains are most important to people, and implement policies that minimize loss of wellbeing.

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