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Sax Institute

Monthly e-newsletter. December 2018


Sax Awards celebrate impact in health research

Three Australian health researchers whose inspiring work has had a major impact in areas as diverse as childhood trauma, stroke prevention and homelessness were recognised at the Sax Institute’s 2018 Research Action Awards last month.
Braving the wettest November conditions Sydney has seen in decades, an enthusiastic audience of over a hundred senior policy makers, research leaders and academics gathered at Darling Harbour to celebrate the achievements of the three researchers from Melbourne, Wollongong and Perth. They were:

  • - Associate Professor Anne Abbott, Monash University, for her research and advocacy around non-invasive stroke prevention
  • - Professor Kate Curtis, University of Sydney, for her contribution to reducing the incidence and impact of childhood injury
  • - Associate Professor Lisa Wood, University of Western Australia, for her work in addressing policy gaps for homeless people.

Established in 2015, the annual ...

Public Health Research & Practice

PHRP takes on climate change

The past decade has seen an increasing research focus on the health impacts of climate change. A special themed issue of the Sax Institute’s flagship journal Public Health Research and Practice (PHRP) explores the subject in an array of articles chosen by co-Guest Editors Dr Anthony Capon, the inaugural Professor of Planetary Health at the University of Sydney, and Dr Carlos Corvalan, Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney.

One article, which has received widespread media attention, warns that climate change could lead to a rise in dangerous and even fatal allergic attacks – as occurred in Melbourne’s deadly 2016 ‘thunderstorm asthma event’. The review of recent research on climate change and allergy suggests ...


The Prevention Centre

Five-year outcomes of The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre

The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, administered by the Sax Institute, has released a report covering the outcomes and impact of its first five years: Changing the system, A partnership approach to chronic disease prevention.

The Centre was established in 2013 as one of three NHMRC Partnership Centres for Better Health to trial the use of co-production to increase the uptake of evidence in policy and practice.

Since then, it has produced internationally significant research, created a strong platform for research translation, built capacity in system thinking, and created new knowledge about system change for prevention. It has established a national profile and raised awareness of the importance of preventing lifestyle-related chronic disease in Australia.

The report details the findings of many of the 40 ...


Inaugural PHRP Awards

Last month the Sax Institute’s journal Public Health Research & Practice launched its inaugural Excellence Awards for papers published in the journal that were most likely to have a real impact on health policy and practice.

The Best Paper Award was won by a team led by Associate Professor Ray Lovett from the Australian National University (ANU), for its research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking rates; while the Award for Best ‘In Practice’ Paper went to a team led by Dr Claire Hooker from the University of Sydney, for its work on communicating with the public about naturally occurring asbestos.

The ANU paper tracked absolute change in Indigenous smoking rates and found a significant decrease between 2004 and 2015, translating into many thousands of deaths avoided thanks to the reduction. The team’s approach of looking at absolute figures, rather than expressing Indigenous smoking trends as ...

Prevention works

Podcast: tackling Aboriginal food insecurity

An Australian Prevention Partnership Centre project has identified a number of simple ways to reduce food insecurity in urban Aboriginal communities – the first study in Australia to capture local community voices in finding solutions to the problem.


Food insecurity occurs when families have run out of food and have not been able to afford to buy food during the past 12 months. It is experienced by one in five urban Aboriginal households, compared to ...

SEARCH study

Resilience among adolescent Aboriginal Australians

A just published journal article provides some good news in the area of Aboriginal health, with researchers finding that most urban Aboriginal adolescents seem to be resilient despite higher rates of various factors, including cultural marginalisation, known to worsen health outcomes.

The paper, published last week in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, is led by the Sax Institute’s Mr Christian Young, with Dr Anna Williamson and three others as co-authors. It looked at survey data collected from 119 Aboriginal adolescents participating in the Institute’s SEARCH study.

While Aboriginal adolescents are known to have higher rates of discrimination, lower socioeconomic status and other factors linked to poorer health outcomes, the researchers found 73% of respondents were in the low-risk range of the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire’s (SDQ) ‘total difficulties’ scale, while 86% were at low risk for poor prosocial behaviour. Furthermore, the study found that family encouragement to attend school, having a confidant to discuss concerns, and regular strenuous exercise, factors linked with resilience in previous SEARCH qualitative research, were all associated with ...

research, reports & publications

New Evidence Checks released on Sax Institute website

The Sax Institute’s contribution to the knowledge base through its popular Evidence Check Library continues to grow, with new Evidence Checks recently published on topics including management of health and wellbeing in the workplace, and another on a promising next-generation cancer treatment.

The workplace health Evidence Check, conducted for SafeWork NSW, found strong evidence that lifestyle management programs in workplaces are effective in helping people quit smoking and exercise more, and that these benefits were often sustained over time rather than being short-term. Programs to help reduce overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes are most effective if they last at least four months and implement an existing well-structured program. There was also strong evidence that a workplace-based resistance training exercise program helped prevent and manage upper body musculoskeletal disorders and symptoms. The review found that every dollar invested in these programs yielded an annual return of $3.20, with a range of $1.40 to $4.60. The review said there was “promising evidence that even higher returns” could be found when programs incorporated newer technologies such as telephone coaching of high-risk individuals combined with ...

the Sax institute

Back in the New Year

This issue of Evidence Matters will be the last for the year; we’ll be taking a short break and will return to your inbox in February. Our offices will closed from COB on Christmas eve, back open on Wednesday, January 2. We hope you enjoyed reading in 2018 and look forward to reporting on what’s shaping up to be a big year for the Sax in 2019. On behalf of everyone at the Sax Institute, we wish you happy and relaxing holidays.