The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) call for Centres for Innovation in Regional Health recognised the need for strong and genuine partnerships between the academic and healthcare delivery sectors, as well as the unique challenges that face health service providers and researchers in regional, rural and remote Australia.
As a recognised CIRH, the NSW Regional Health Partners builds on the achievements of the Hunter New England Central Coast Mid North Coast Research Hub to deliver a comprehensive set of programs across the communities of northern and north–western NSW. It brings together regional healthcare providers and research organisations to deliver innovative models of care to improve the health of our regional communities.
Serving a population of 1.5 million people, including 10% of Australia’s Aboriginal population, the partnership is already delivering major improvements in health outcomes, driven by innovation and leadership of a group of Australia’s most talented clinicians and academics.
The Centre has developed, commenced and integrated large scale cross-Centre programs and support platforms and the development of a unified focus on some of the major healthcare issues facing regional and remote communities. These include: obesity; cancer; diabetes; depression and mental health; cardiovascular disease and stroke; chronic lung disease; and a number of specific issues in Aboriginal health.
Innovation has been driven both by geographical separation from the state capital and the demographics of our region, as well as a long history of collaborations generating novel improvements in healthcare delivery. The Centre is underpinned by an internationally recognised discovery research platform and translational research institute, and will continue to be delivered by healthcare partners internationally recognised for innovative best-evidence care.
The NSW Regional Health Partners brings together eight strategically aligned partners:
- 3 NSW regional Local Health Districts (Hunter New England, Mid North Coast and Central Coast);
- 1 regional NSW primary health commissioner (Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network);
- Australia’s only Regional Medical Research Institute – Hunter Medical Research Institute;
- 2 of Australia’s leading regional Universities (University of Newcastle and University of New England); and
- 1 private-public health care organisation, Calvary Care (Calvary Mater Newcastle).
The Centre is focussed on three Major Programs that align the clinical service delivery and partnership structures: Healthy Regional Communities Program, Major Translational Research Programs, and Clinician-Initiated Priority Research. These are supported by world-class research and innovation platforms, operated by the NSW Regional Health Partners across the region.
Recognition by NHMRC as a Centre for Innovation in Regional Health will accelerate our Programs and up-scale our delivery of innovative, regional models of healthcare – supported by highly engaged senior health service managers, driven by patient and clinician needs, designed with research intent using implementation science, and evaluated with academic rigor to produce outcomes that influence clinical practice and health policy locally, nationally and internationally.