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Centre launches toward a healthier community

Daniel Bouwmeester    October 12, 2023    4 min read   
UQ Centre of Community Health and Wellbeing staff pose proudly in the lead-up to their official launch in early September. Images: UQ.

The University of Queensland (UQ) Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing was officially launched in Springfield on Wednesday, September 6.

In an Australian-first project, UQ has joined forces with Springfield City Group (SCG) to drive local research and help make Australia’s biggest master-planned community one of the healthiest.

The launch event was held as part of SCG’s sixth annual Medical Practitioners’ Networking Event.

Centre Director and Chair of Community Health and Wellbeing Professor Lauren Ball said Springfield was an ideal location to test the effectiveness of community-level preventative health and wellbeing initiatives over time.

“Springfield is a young community – much younger than the national average,” Professor Ball said.

We’ll work with them to design and test health and wellbeing initiatives to live and age well,”.

“By collaborating with residents and workers to deliver programs that genuinely support their health and wellbeing needs, we can support their long-term health outcomes and potentially reduce future demand on the healthcare system.

“With such a vibrant, multicultural community, we know there is huge potential for positive impact.”

Research examples include mental health, healthy eating, physical activity, domestic violence, school transitions, and childhood health.

The Centre is already actively engaging residents, such as working with cancer survivors transitioning back into their community following hospital treatment.

The goal is to understand the benefits of a “third space” in health and wellbeing away from home and work.

They can also explore teaching cooking skills to residents, which in turn could inspire food microbusinesses.

Attending the launch event were SCG Deputy Chairman Bob Sharpless, UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Deborah Terry AO, Professor Lauren Ball, SCG Chairman Maha Sinnathamby AM, and Mater Federation Group Chief Executive Dr Peter Steer – pictured at top, from left to right. (Image: SCG)

Centre Director and Chair of Community Health and Wellbeing Professor Lauren Ball says feedback from the Springfield community will form the basis of the Centre’s research.

Planning for health

SCG Chairman Maha Sinnathamby said the collaboration with UQ provides a unique offering to residents of Australia’s fastest-growing region.

“When we devised this master-planned city, we created it with health, education, and innovation at the forefront of all of our decisions,” Mr Sinnathamby said.

“This Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing takes this commitment to a new level.

“[We’re joining] with some of the brightest medical research minds at one of the world’s best universities.”

He described it as a genuine partnership between cutting-edge research and the Springfield community.

“[It’s about] understanding each other and developing health outcomes that will improve lives.”

Translating research

UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said community-led research could help local residents to live and age well.

“Community-led research is the future of world-class health research in Australia,” Professor Terry said.

“[It] gives residents the opportunity to help direct research to address healthcare challenges that matter to them,” Professor Terry said.

She added that such research will not only tailor services to local needs, but inform those in other growing communities.

Findings from the Centre’s research will be translated to communities across Queensland and other states.

Check In survey

To start getting involved in the Centre, you can complete the “Springfield Health and Wellbeing Check In” survey.

This is your opportunity to influence the research direction of the team.

To take part in the Springfield Health and Wellbeing Check In survey, visit ​​loom.ly/9lzh85U or scan this QR code.

By sharing your thoughts, experiences and opinions, the Centre can act accordingly to design and deliver the solutions you want and need.

Complete the survey on your computer, laptop, tablet, or phone. It takes just a few minutes to complete.

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Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.