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Western Alliance announces Flagship Research Program to improve maternal and infant health in western Victoria and beyond

Western Alliance is delighted to announce its inaugural Flagship Research Program, ‘The Pregnancy Research and Translation Ecosystem (PTR-E)’, a collaboration between Deakin University and health services in our region involved in pregnancy care.

The Western Alliance Flagship Research Program is a new initiative that supports a major program of research and capacity-building that will assist in solving a health problem identified as a top priority by Western Alliance member organisations.

A collaboration between Barwon Health, Ballarat Health Services, East Grampians Health Service, Colac Area Health, Western District Health Service, Deakin University, Gen V (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Federation University, the Pregnancy Research and Translation Ecosystem (PTR-E) will receive a $200,000 grant from Western Alliance to generate and implement best evidence to improve maternal and infant health.

To achieve this, PRT-E will collect data on pregnancy care and collaborate with the GenV initiative, which aims to recruit and follow 80% of all infants born in Victoria over the coming 2 years. This data will create a world-leading and unique resource for future research.

In parallel, PRT-E will establish a Pregnancy Stakeholder Working Group of consumers and health professionals that will be trained and supported by the established systems of Deakin University’s Institute of Health Transformation.  The Working Group will then co-design and co-produce the research program.

A starting priority is to design a clinical trial and translation plan with the aim of safely reducing the caesarean section rate in the region, which has risen to around 40%. It is a complex problem requiring design of a multifaceted intervention.

Chief Investigator Professor Vuillermin said “PRT-E will create a research, co-design and translation ecosystem that will drive continual improvements in mother and baby care. The program will be an exercise in people power meets cutting edge research methodology. We can’t wait to get the PRT-E started!”

Our congratulations to the PRT-E team.

Western Alliance Research Fellow receives SPINIFEX funding boost

Our Western Alliance Research Fellow and recently awarded Heart Foundation Fellow, Dr Laura Alston (Colac Area Health, Deakin University), has been awarded funding from the SPINIFEX network to undertake a Rural Health Rapid Review.

Spinifex is a national collaborative network aimed at achieving equitable funding for rural and regional health research. Laura’s review, entitled ‘A review of evidence on interventions to improve the availability and promotion of healthy food in rural communities’, will form part of a series which aims to improve the health of rural, regional and remote living Australians by undertaking focused research and implementing evidence-based policies and practices.

Further detail, including information on the other review topics can be found here.


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