The Population Child Health (PCH) Research Group is a multidisciplinary health systems research team working across Australia and Internationally from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Randwick precinct and Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN). We conduct translational health services and health systems research to optimise child health outcomes and address inequities.
We improve quality of care, integrate services, promote equity, and enhance access for the ultimate benefit of children and young people.
Our objectives are to:
Central to our work is Consumer and Community Engagement. Our multidisciplinary research brings together clinicians across paediatric disciplines within health services. Our researchers have expertise in epidemiology, statistics, implementation science, qualitative research methods and economics. We assess the impact, implementation, and cost effectiveness of novel models of care and health innovations delivered across the health system embedded within gold standard health systems randomised controlled trials, quasi-experimental studies, and longitudinal cohorts.
Our partners include Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN), Local Health Districts (LHDs), NSW health, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations (ACCHOs), Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and the national Child Unlimited Network. With our partners we embed child health, implementation science and health economics researchers into health service initiatives to inform policy and service delivery.
6 academic & professional staff
> $1.3 million successful grants
4 HDR students
Established 3 streams
8 academic & professional staff
> $5 million successful grants
4 HDR students
> 10 projects
14 academic & professional staff
> $4.5 million successful grants
4 HDR students
> 15 projects
100+ links with external partners
14 academic & professional staff
> $13.8 million successful grants
4 HDR students
> 20 projects
100+ links with external partners
Professor and Financial Markets Chair Population Child Health Research Group
Director Community Child Health Central Sydney LHD, NHMRC Fellow
Clinical Director of Priority Populations at SCHN
Jackie Curtis, Shanti Raman, Valsamma Eapen, Tony Mendoza Diaz, Jane Shrapnel, Matthew Hooke, John Eastwood, Paul Chay, Michelle Jersky, Natasha Larter, Louise Sealy, Jennifer Stephensen, Paul Hotton, Emma Dickins, Stephanie Hodgson, Jordana McLoones, Gaston Arnolda, Vanessa Sarkozy, Kate Hunter, Ania Anderst, Lauren Hamill, Ingrid Wolfe, Ibu-mei and James John.
Our research addresses 3 key themes: Integrating Care; Priority Populations and the First 2000 Days.
Our evidence-based projects aim to improve quality of care, integrate services, promote equity, and enhance access for the ultimate benefit of children and young people. We work with children, young people, parents/carers and families by recruiting people with lived experience of chronic and complex diseases to act as research advisors. All our projects include impact evaluation (outcomes: health service use; patient-reported outcomes such as quality of life; patient-reported experiences), economic analysis (including cost-effectiveness analysis), and implementation evaluation.
FDCC is a holistic, first 2000 days model of care for migrant and refugee populations. Our team has been successful in securing TRGS funding to evaluate the impact of an integrated Child and Family Health (CFH) hub on attendance at CFH services, completion of developmental checks, support for child growth and development, breastfeeding and maternal wellbeing, and meeting family psychosocial needs. FDCC is TRGS funding and started in July 2021.
Our Healthier Wealthier Families project tested the feasibility and benefits of linking families to financial counselling services. We are assessing whether this initiative improves responses to poverty and deprivation in families of children aged 0-5 years.
NHMRC funded SEARCH has been Australia’s largest long-term study of the health and wellbeing of urban Aboriginal Children. SEARCH is a partnership between researchers from numerous institutions, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC), and four Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs). Our preliminary results showed increased prevalence of hearing problems, risk of developmental disability, and language delay among urban Aboriginal Children as compared with non-Aboriginal children. Collaboration with the community and ACCHSs in SEARCH has been instrumental in our MRFF funding success (just under $900,000) for the Aboriginal Community Controlled Ear Health Support Systems (ACCESS) project. We are now working with the chief executives of 3 ACCHSs to develop a child health navigator program in their services to support children with or at risk of poor ear health and/or hearing impairment.
This Aboriginal participatory Arts in Health parent group is a multi-award-winning program delivered at the La Perouse Aboriginal Community Health Centre. Parents, children, and providers connect through artmaking, supporting children’s physical, social, cultural, and emotional wellbeing. Our evaluations have shown that NNM participants have improved use of health services, improved mental health, new aspirations for further education and employment, enhanced resilience, and a keenness to give back to their community. We have successfully been funded by Rotary to expand NNM to Western Sydney.
This project aims to improve communication pathways between housing, health, and social services working with Aboriginal families in South East Sydney. The Healthy Housing project is a strong collaboration between our team, The George Institute (TGI), SPHERE, Ngarruwan Ngadju First Peoples Health and Wellbeing Research Centre, Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI), University of Wollongong, NGOs, community and primary health clinicians, and government organisations. We have completed a systematic review and qualitative interviews with multiple stakeholders and are in the process of developing clear guidelines and pathways for health and other professionals so they can more effectively support the housing needs of Aboriginal families. We will begin trialling the pathway in 2021. This project was funded by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Fellowship program.
The aim of this study is to understand the life course development of children who enter out-of-home care and the factors that influence their development. We found that carer mental health was a strong predictor of child related mental health. These findings have been fed back to NSW health and social care.
The last 200 children study is a national cohort study examining the health and well-being impacts of prolonged (up to 4-5 years) offshore immigration detention on refugee children. Indefinite mandatory immigration detention of those seeking asylum in Australia by boat is a key Australian Government policy, and this policy’s downstream impacts on refugee children and families. The consequences of such extreme prolonged detention have also not been explored in the international peer reviewed literature. The children’s treating clinicians from 10 participating sites across Australia are providing data on sociodemographic factors and health and well-being outcomes factors for up to 5 years after the children’s release from immigration detention. Preliminary findings from the baseline study have been presented at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) national Congress in May 2021 and the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) international Congress in June 2021.
Our team collaborates with researchers and clinicians globally to support international child health research and advocacy. Professor Karen Zwi led the development of a published Global Position Statement on the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable children and youth. We are also working with universities and health services in Fiji and Indonesia to develop evidence-based interventions to support children with neurodevelopmental disorders. We work closely with colleagues in King’s College London and have run programs in India, Pakistan, Uganda, and Mozambique. The Spring Program has informed enhancements of the Lady Health Worker Program in Pakistan and the Asha Worker Program in India. It has been adopted in the participating states and presented at the WHO. The Inscale program has led to development of telehealth (mobile phone) enhancements of the IMCI program in Uganda and Mozambique. It has informed further development of Community services during the Covid Pandemic.
The Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise aims to change the future of healthcare by combining research, innovation, education, and knowledge translation to drive better outcomes for communities. With a total of more than $5 billion annual revenue, this partnership combines 14 leading organizations in the Sydney region, including SCHN and UNSW, along with LHDs, hospitals, universities, and medical research institutes. SPHERE’s clinical academic groups bring together experts across disciplines to find answers to complex health challenges.
Lingam set up and co-leads Child Unlimited. Child Unlimited connects more than 200 world leading researchers and clinicians with children who live with chronic illnesses. Researchers and clinicians in the Alliance are based at children’s hospitals, research institutes, and community organisations across Australia. Child Unlimited’s mission is to enable children with chronic illness to live their best lives now and into the future. The Alliance builds on the current work of child health research organisations by leading new and collaborative research that focuses on ensuring children affected by chronic illness successfully navigate the journey to adulthood, supported by their family and community.
The Early Life Determinants of Health clinical academic group aims to improve policy and practice to ensure every child has the best start to life. ELDoH focuses on boosting access to health and wellbeing supports for children from vulnerable communities, such as those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) and/or refugee backgrounds. The ELDoH clinical academic group includes >180 members including professors, senior clinicians, chief executives, and policymakers from SPHERE partner organisations.
The Luminesce Alliance is a joint venture between the Children’s Cancer Institute, Children’s Medical Research Institute, SCHN, UNSW, and University of Sydney—established with the support of the NSW Government—that brings together experts in paediatric research and translation. The Alliance aims to invest in excellent research so all children can live healthy and productive lives. Luminesce Alliance programs include research on cancer, rare diseases, and paediatric mental health.
BestSTART-SWS brings together world-class clinicians, researchers, and policymakers, who work with families and children to create a centre of excellence in child-health translational research. BestSTART-SWS aims to revolutionise health systems and integrate the voices of young people and their families into research efforts. The goal of BestSTART-SW is to optimise the health, development, and wellbeing of children and young people in South West Sydney, with a focus on CALD, refugee, and Indigenous populations.