New Institute unites health transformers

Improving Health and Wellbeing

A consummate networker, Professor Anna Peeters, inaugural Director of the Institute for Healthcare Transformation, will work to unite stakeholders to achieve ambitious goals for Deakin’s sixth Institute.

Solving complex challenges is most likely to be achieved through combining multiple perspectives –and that is the opportunity that most energises Professor Anna Peeters, Director of Deakin’s new Institute for Healthcare Transformation (IHT).

Professor Peeters and the Institute team will turn their sights towards health challenges such as inequalities in health, rising levels of obesity and chronic disease, growing healthcare costs and the need to support an ageing population.

“The Institute will provide excellent research that aims to accelerate the ideas we need to transform health and care in Australia and around the world,” she said.

Professor Peeters is a world-class researcher in the fields of obesity prevention and health equity. Her 20 years of research, particularly focussing on how best to improve eating habits across populations, have convinced her of the fundamental role of collaboration in achieving translational change.

“I’m really excited about what we can achieve. I love bringing together people and ideas to achieve bigger outcomes and enable initiatives to reach their potential, both within Deakin and with external partners,” she said.

“With the support of the Institute team and the broader Faculty, I will work to engage new partners, so we can have more and larger-scale projects and we can identify new areas where we can make an impact.”
Professor Anna Peeters
Professor Anna Peeters Director of the Institute for Healthcare Transformation

The Institute will draw heavily on the strengths of the Centre for Population Health Research (CPHR) and the Centre for Quality and Patient Services Strategic Research Centres, as well as other areas at Deakin, such as medical research, the new Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute, data analytics, engineering and economics.

In new examples of multidisciplinary collaboration, IHT projects will also draw on the expertise of researchers from areas such as the Institutes of Physical Activity and Nutrition and Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation, and the Centre for Integrative Ecology, the Centre for Regional and Rural Futures, the Global Obesity Centre, along with partners in urban, rural and regional areas.

Teams will work on projects such as redesign of health services to achieve higher-quality, patient-centred care and food systems transformation to support better population health . For instance, a group of researchers is seeking ways to incentivise health services that encourage them to invest in prevention strategies that keep people healthy and out of the hospital system.

The Institute will integrate research and translation across the continuum of prevention and care, with themes around healthy populations and communities, and health service delivery and design. It will draw on unique capabilities such as digital technology, data analytics, health economics, applied health services research, and policy development and evaluation.

Anna Peeters joined Deakin (from Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute) in 2015, as Professor of Equity and Epidemiology in Public Health. Since arriving, she has distinguished herself as an outstanding leader in the School of Health and Social Development, the CPHR (as Deputy Director) and the Globe Obesity Centre (GLOBE), as Associate Director.

One of the triumphs of her career was leading the development of Australia’s first National Obesity Prevention Consensus, launched last year, which brought together over 35 leading community, public health, medical and academic groups for the first time, to call for urgent Federal Government action to address Australia’s serious obesity problem. The Obesity Policy Coalition and GLOBE developed the “Tipping the Scales” consensus document, which establishes the key elements needed in a national strategy to address the obesity epidemic.

“This was a significant marker in turning the tide,” said Professor Peeters.

“It has led to strong engagement and wider media pick-up. For instance, ‘Four Corners’ recently ran a program called ‘Tipping the scales: Sugar, politics and what’s making us fat’ and, at the time of the launch, ‘The Age’ made obesity a priority issue and continues to run stories on the topic.

“I made the move to Deakin because I was attracted to the University’s idea of supporting excellent research that makes a difference to the communities we serve.

“I have found Deakin really does liberate you to do that. I look forward to driving excellent research with exciting partners. The IHT is a forward-thinking venture that gives us the opportunity to make a real difference to health and healthcare.”

 

Published by Deakin Research on 14 May 2018