NSW Regional Health Partners was accredited by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) as a Centre for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRH) in 2017, under a new scheme initiated by the Commonwealth Department of Health in response to the McKeon Review of Medical Research in Australia.
The Centre is one of nine national consortia that form the Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA), charged with implementing changes in health service delivery and population health to ensure better health outcomes for all Australians. The nine AHRA centres have established a collaborative approach to address national initiatives to improve the implementation of current research knowledge and evidence into new models of healthcare practices and policies.
NSW Regional Health Partners is one of only two accredited Centres for Innovation in Regional Health (CIRH) and is focused on implementing knowledge in regional, rural and remote health services.
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 former 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 brings together integrated cross-Centre programs and 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 Aboriginal health concerns.
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:
- Three NSW regional Local Health Districts (Central Coast, Hunter New England and Mid North Coast)
- A private-public health care organisation, Calvary Care (Calvary Mater Newcastle)
- A regional NSW Primary Health Network (Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network)
- An internationally recognised regional medical research institute – Hunter Medical Research Institute
- Two of Australia’s leading regional universities (University of Newcastle and University of New England)
Recognition by NHMRC as a Centre for Innovation in Regional Health will accelerate and up-scale our delivery of innovative, regional models of healthcare – supported by highly engaged 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.