The health of our mouths is fundamental to all aspects of health. Good oral health is essential for good nutrition as well as to our psychological and social wellbeing given its importance to appearance, speech, swallowing and social inosculation.
Infections in the mouth associated with dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal (gum) diseases are increasingly seen to be linked with cardiovascular disease, stroke and lung infections. In addition, the mouth can be the focus of severe and life threatening diseases including cancer; potentially fatal infections with fungi, bacteria and many viruses and a range of severe autoimmune diseases. All of this demands continued research into rates of occurrence (epidemiology), causes, mechanisms, prevention and management of oral health.
PSHRP researchers (both scientists and clinicians) have particular strengths in head and neck (especially oral) cancer, periodontology, cariology, HIV disease and oral medicine. They have developed a strong network of international collaborators with activity in urban and rural/remote Australia and abroad.
The Health Economics research group focuses on developing evidence on the value for money of healthcare interventions to provide top level health policy advice to governments. Research measures health outcomes including quality of life, eliciting preferences for healthcare and economic modelling to predict the future costs and benefits of healthcare interventions.
Many of the researchers specialising in eliciting preferences use advanced techniques known as discrete choice experiments. Modelling the costs and benefits of healthcare includes key input into the design of clinical trials to measure health outcomes, undertaking systematic reviews of the literature using meta-analysis, indirect comparisons and mixed treatment comparisons, statistical analysis of clinical trial data, and developing Markov models to estimate future costs and benefits of interventions.
The group has several large contracts with government departments and agencies including a major contract with the Department of Health and Ageing to undertake external evaluations of industry submissions of drugs for listing on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule.
Public HealthThis group of researchers is advancing the health of populations through innovative, relevant and sustainable research, learning and teaching, and community partnerships. They strive to enhance, maintain and promote good health for community wellbeing and social productivity. Taking a socio-ecological approach to working with communities on the Gold Coast, researchers are developing models of care capable of translation into national and international communities and contexts. They offer a sound and ethical voice, creating a resilient workforce to service the local community. All this is done with the support of community partners, professionals and industry groups.
Centre for Human Services and Community Science
There are six key streams of research within this PSHRP group which undertake research around the wellbeing of the child, family, society, and the provision of healthcare and social services to the community. These streams all aim to build capacities that can transform lives or shape new approaches – especially for vulnerable groups.
These streams are:
- Healthy designs: places, pathways and partnerships: Exploring healing environments and factors that promote wellbeing within built, social, natural and symbolic spaces.
- Child protection and wellbeing: Developing knowledge about the effectiveness of child and family services and understanding the lives of vulnerable children and young people.
- Contemporary practice for complex environments: Understanding service settings that create complexity for providers, practitioners and policy-makers (e.g., working across boundaries, complicated settings or with complex populations).
- Psychosocial health: Exploring the relationships between inner psychological states and external social contexts to develop the understanding of the challenges of conditions that marginalise and stigmatise people.
- Transformation and engagement in disability and diversity: Exploring the most efficient and effective methods for engaging citizens, consumers and communities in the development of solutions, and facilitating participation in decision-making or therapeutic processes.
- Effective mental health practice and outcomes: Evaluating the outcomes of mental health services and practices, building new effective models to promote mental health, and identifying innovative solutions or new roles and professional frameworks.
Mental Health & AddictionsResearchers, multidisciplinary health practitioners and consumers and carers, working together on service-based research initiatives to provide effective mental health care in practice.
The research focuses on: evaluating outcomes to improve the way mental health care is delivered; facilitating application of knowledge in practice; and developing methods to address problems arising in practice. A large contract with the Department of Health and Ageing focuses on training and education to improve the outcomes of mental health consumers and carers through the provision of community pharmacy services.
Please see the project’s website for more information: http://www.mentalhealthproject.com.au/
Social MarketingAustralian communities are facing the consequences (both economic and social) of behaviours such as binge drinking, smoking, excessive eating, and wasting of energy resources. Social marketing is the application of commercial marketing techniques to effect change in behaviour for a social good. By giving customers voice, social marketers can change behaviours to benefit the target audience and general society. Social Marketing @ Griffith has developed a professional profile in the area of social marketing through our working association with industry and government.
Please see the Social Marketing website for more information: http://www.griffith.edu.au/business-government/social-marketing-griffith
Consumer Experience of Chronic Illness ProjectProfessor Amanda Wheeler and her team are currently exploring the perspectives of health consumers living with ongoing health (chronic and long term) conditions, the impact that these conditions and the support community pharmacy can provide in managing these condition(s). The project commented in late 2011 and has completed wide-spread in-depth interviews (n = 118) and 26 focus groups (n = 165) with health consumers, advocates, non-government representatives and healthcare professionals located in four different and diverse regions of Australia. They have published five peer-reviewed articles based on these consultations.
The team is currently working on a survey to be completed by a large number of people with conditions, their carers, and the healthcare professionals that assist them. The overall findings will form the basis of recommendations for models of care for community pharmacy to assist people with chronic disease and complex treatment regimes to better manage their conditions.
Please see the project’s website for more information: http://www.chronicillnessproject.com.au/home.html
Environment for Health Living (EFHL)EFHL is a prospective, multi-level longitudinal birth cohort study, designed to collect information from before birth through to adulthood across a spectrum of eco-epidemiological factors, including genetic material from cord-blood samples at birth, individual and familial factors, to spatial data on the living environment (Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000931077).
The study population is the offspring of women residing in the geographically defined Logan/Beaudesert, Gold Coast and Tweed Districts. It has one of Australia’s highest population growth rates. The region contains culturally and linguistically diverse populations and is markedly heterogeneous with respect to age and socioeconomic distribution.
EFHL commenced the pilot phase of recruitment in 2006 and open recruitment occurred from 2007 to 2011; there are 3400 mother/infant dyads in the study. Detailed information on each participant is obtained at birth, 12-months, 3-years, 5-years and subsequent three to five yearly intervals, using self-reported measures and administrative data.
Prevention of Childhood Obesity ProjectChildhood obesity has been recognised as a serious public health issue for some time, however, it remains unclear what the best solution is to address the high rates of childhood obesity in Australia. Griffith University is leading a team of researchers to determine the best solutions to preventing childhood obesity and specifically whether taxation on energy dense nutrient poor food could be one of these options. The project is led by Dr Tracy Comans and includes experts in nutrition, health economics and consumer engagement.
The project, which is funded by a grant from the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, seeks to find the acceptability and cost-effectiveness of taxation of energy dense nutrient poor foods in reducing the rates of childhood obesity. The study involves a number of phases and brings together information from experts, consumers and national data to fully inform an economic analysis of the impact of taxation on energy dense nutrient poor foods on rates of childhood obesity. The information gained from this study will be invaluable to governments in determining the most feasible and publicly acceptable strategies for confronting this issue.
Contact person and Chief Investigator: Dr Tracy Comans. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information on the project: Childhood Obesity Project (pdf 66kb)