16 November 2021

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) welcomes today’s announcement by Minister for Health Greg Hunt of the $10 million Special Initiative in Human Health and Environmental Change.

The Healthy Environments And Lives (HEAL) Network will provide national and international leadership in environmental change and health research.

The multidisciplinary national research network will contribute to Australia’s preparedness and responsiveness to human health threats from changing environmental conditions and extreme weather events.

HEAL network partners have committed more than $6 million in cash and $8 million in kind, in addition to the $10 million provided through NHMRC’s Special Initiative in Human Health and Environmental Change.

NHMRC identified resilience to environmental change, emerging health threats and emergencies as a strategic priority in 2018.

This initiative was developed following a stakeholder workshop in 2019 to understand past investments in human health and environmental change research, key areas of research need and how a strategic investment by NHMRC could best contribute to this priority area. 

NHMRC also consulted its Council, whose membership includes Commonwealth, state and territory chief medical officers, to identify the best model to facilitate and support collaborative research.

The objective is to strengthen the Australian health system’s resilience, preparedness and responsiveness to changing environmental conditions and extreme weather events by establishing a collaborative, multidisciplinary network that builds national research capacity and capability in human health and environmental change

The HEAL network announced today is led by Professor Sotiris Vardoulakis, Professor of Global Health at the Australian National University, and includes 28 participating institutions. 

The network has strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and wide geographic reach for a uniquely Australian response.

The HEAL network will develop the evidence, capability and tools needed to protect and improve community health, strengthen health system resilience and reduce inequities and inequalities across communities and generations.

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said resilience to environmental change, emerging health threats and emergencies is a high priority for NHMRC. 

“This network will help to protect the health of the Australian community and build a resilient and responsive health system, based on strong engagement and co-design with federal and state governments, the public health and healthcare sectors, charities, communities, business and industry,” Professor Kelso said.

With strong leadership, the network will also seek respectfully to integrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and culture with Western knowledge. 

The multidisciplinary research network includes leaders in environmental/public health, health systems, economics, and climate, data and social science who will work together to assess and communicate environmental health risks, and develop practical integrated solutions to reduce their impacts and protect human health.


CONTACT
NHMRC Media Team
M: 0422 008 512
E: media@nhmrc.gov.au 
 

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