Project 2:

The right care at the right time in the right place: understanding the influence of local partnerships developing primary care interventions for vulnerable people

PhD opportunity at the Australian Institute for Primary Care and Ageing, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University

Getting access to primary health care is important for everyone, but not everyone can find care that matches their needs. The “Innovative models promoting access to care transformation” (IMPACT) Centre of Research Excellence is a collaboration between Australia and Canada that aims to generate organisational innovations to promote access to primary health care for vulnerable populations

Even though the Australian health system has prioritised access to effective and high-quality health meaningful gaps in equitable primary care still exist. These gaps particularly affect vulnerable groups such as people on low incomes, refugees and indigenous communities. As a consequence poor access to health care translates into unmet needs for care, delayed or inappropriate treatments and avoidable emergency department consultations and hospitalisations.

The IMPACT program is cultivating a network of innovation partnerships between decision makers, researchers and community members in three Australian states (Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia). Our research teams work with these partnerships to find the best ways to improve access to primary health care for those at most risk.

The project will involve designing and undertaking a case study comparison of how the three health systems identify and prioritise access-related need in their region. Using a mixed-methods approach, you may choose to focus on specific vulnerable populations, investigate organisational factors that influence decision-makers or another area of your interest. This project will enable a student to pursue a topic of their own interest whilst receiving strong support from an international research team.

Through this project you will receive exposure to international health systems through participation in meetings with health experts in the Canadian and Australian health systems.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Associate Professor Virginia Lewis (Principal Supervisor). A second La Trobe University academic with relevant expertise will be identified to act as secondary supervisor. External co-supervision is also possible.

The project will be undertaken within the Australian Institute for Primary Care & Ageing in the School of Nursing & Midwifery within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Melbourne campus (Bundoora).

We welcome applications from high calibre candidates with diverse backgrounds including (but not limited to) primary care, nursing, public health, medicine, organisational psychology, sociology and management. Key competencies required are: strong verbal and written communication, flexibility, experience and/or commitment to working collaboratively in an inter-professional team. Experience in evaluation an asset.

A three year stipend is available to support the successful candidate. The stipend is a La Trobe University Scholarship and will be paid at the APA equivalent rate (2014 = $25,392 Full-time APA stipend rate). The stipend is tax-free. Candidature needs to be recommended prior to an offer of scholarship.

Australian citizens and permanent residents are exempt from University student fees while international students need to provide evidence on how the fees will be managed when applying for the position. Students will be required to pay the La Trobe University annual student services amenities fee (

To apply candidates must submit a cover letter, CV and academic transcript.

For further enquiries or to submit your application please contact:
Associate Professor Virginia Lewis +61 3 9479 3924 or
Dr Samantha Chakraborty +61 3 9902 9698 or