7 no 1, 1999
Newcastle Institute of Public Health
By Rosemary Aldrich member of The LEAD Group Technical Advisory Board
The Newcastle Institute of Public Health (NIPH) was formed in 1998 for the purpose of bringing together the expertise and capability in public health and health services research of a number of groups in the Hunter. Previously the 18 groups that have become NIPH members worked independently or collaborated on specific projects only. NIPH is structured in such a way that members can work together to research and implement evidence-based solutions to health service delivery and public health issues.
NIPH is funded by infrastructure grants from Hunter Health and NSW Health. The University of Newcastle provides resource support from several of its units including Research Branch, Human Resources Branch and Marketing and Media Services.
A core idea underpinning NIPH is to match public health and health service managers with researchers who can conduct timely, responsive research into practical solutions to problems confronting the managers. Achieving this should result in fewer allegations of health managers making service decisions in the absence of evidence, or of academics lacking an understanding of real world health services delivery and public health issues.
Depending on the nature of the project, a number of expert researchers from within NIPH comprise a project consortium. Consequently, any project undertaken by NIPH builds on the strengths of the individual researchers who have critical expertise in population and health services research.
Several projects involving researchers from NIPH member groups are currently under way. These projects are addressing issues such as patient safety and quality of care, as well as the changing focus in health service delivery. Projects include an evaluation of adverse events in patient care at Hunter hospital, and a needs assessment of the Tomaree peninsula.
Professor Richard Heller is the Chair of NIPH. The Executive Officer, Dr Rosemary Aldrich commenced duties in July 1998. By the end of 1998, the secretariat will comprise the Executive Officer, some research staff, and an administrative officer. Research staff will work across several projects at once. Given that NIPH could provide infrastructure support for additional research staff, it will be possible for decision-makers to have researchers working to resolve a problem for a relatively small financial investment.
Staff and officers of NIPH are located in the Booth Building at the Wallsend Health Campus. For more information contact Dr Rosemary Aldrich Telephone 02 49246341 (Newcastle, NSW) or email: [email protected]
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