Australian Health Research Alliance welcomes $5 million commitment by Coalition to fund

Media Release

May 13 2019

The Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA) welcomes the $5 million commitment by the Coalition to fund a ground breaking national women's health alliance

TheCoalition has made a commitment of $5 million towards a nation-building initiative – informed by women for women – called the National Women's Health Research, Translation and Impact Network (the Network).

Founding Chair of AHRA[1]and Chair of the Network, Professor Helena Teede, and current Chair of AHRA, Professor Steve Wesselingh today applauded the Coalition's commitment to the development of this network. Professor Teede said this initiative will change the way women can engage and work with health professionals and researchers to prioritise, create evidence for,and access evidence-based health services, treatments and patient care.

"Women have specific health challenges and require specific health care at various life stages; through young adulthood, the reproductive years, midlife and older age," Professor Teede said. "While Australia has made significant advances in healthcare, women's mental and physical health and illness burden continues and presents challenges unique to women. Until now, Australia has lacked a dedicated national health and research network for women.

Professor Teede said that the network presented an opportunity to ensure taxpayers' spendon key women's issues was targeted and effective.

Nine priority areas have been identified from extensive consultations across:

1. Preconception, pregnancy and postpartum health of women and babies

2. Women's mental health

3. Women's reproductive health

4. Women's chronic disease including cancer, cardio-vascular disease and preventative health

5. Healthy lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity and the prevention of obesity in women and families

6. Addressing domestic violence and abuse

7. Improving Indigenous women's' health

8. Optimising healthy ageing for women

9. Improving women's sexual health

Ms Leslie Arnott, consumer participation officer at Health Issues Centre and co-director of Lamaze Australia, said: "Our health system is among the best in the world but there are gaps. With unprecedented partnership we have established priority areas and here with government support, will collaborate to address these."

"As a consumer representative on this Network, I fully appreciate the importance of partnering in research for better outcomes for Australian girls and women and of evidence translation such as providing evidence based pregnancy and childbirth education," Ms Arnott said.

"Australian governments have collectively spent millions on tackling domestic violence and yet the dial has not moved adequately on the number of women killed by people they knew," Professor Teedesaid. "The same applies to women specific health issues such as stillbirth and important pregnancy conditions linked to significant heart disease risk that remain unrecognised, leaving women vulnerable to preventable heart attacks.

Here we can accelerate collaboration to drive evidence based approaches across these and other joint priority areas."

AHRA also highlights the opportunity for the Labor Party to match this commitment to send the strongest possible message to the women of Australia: That women have the right to the best possible health services to optimise health and quality of lifeand the best way to achieve this is through research and translation of evidence into world-best practice including through evidence based services and education.

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