The Health Equity Research and Development Unit (HERDU) is a unit of Population Health in the Sydney Local Health District (SLHD). It is also a research hub of the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity (CPHCE) at the Faculty of Medicine and Health at UNSW Sydney. 

We see an increasing recognition that some inequalities in health and access to health care are systematic, avoidable and unfair: inequitable. Access and equity are core values of the NSW Health system, driving a commitment to health for all in the SLHD.

HERDU works with SLHD staff, partners and with communities to identify health inequities. We aim to improve the health of groups of people who cannot receive the health care and resources they need to be as healthy as others in the population.

  • Our equity framework

    The SLHD Equity Framework is a resource highlighting the evidence base for how to address equity. It includes examples of the work we are currently doing in this area.

    Our framework provides a foundation for identifying inequity in health and healthcare. It outlines the actions to reduce inequity, it is clear about our values, and builds on existing good work and further understanding for what health services can do when addressing inequities.

    We know inequities are not inevitable. And we are serious about reducing and preventing these.

    Our resource was developed in consultation with our community on how we can reduce inequities in health and health services. We believe health services have an important role in improving health literacy and ensuring people have access to the resources they need for good health. For this reason, we are developing an active approach to addressing health inequity in the SLHD.

    Download a copy of the LHD Equity Framework

  • Our five key areas of focus are:

    1. Leadership and commitment: making equity a priority for the District and part of the reporting systems and quality improvement activities
    2. Engagement and partnership: involving marginalised communities in decisions about their health, working in partnership with them to address problems in health equity
    3. Organisation and workforce development: providing training and information on other forms of support to help the workforce identify and address inequities
    4. Resource allocation: targeting resources to address inequities
    5. Research and evaluation: using data and evidence to inform decision making, undertaking research and evaluation on how to best to reduce inequities in the District.
  • We do this using data and tools to build skills, knowledge and capacity, such as:

    Equity Focused Health Impact Assessments (EFHIAs)

    Health Impact Assessments (HIA): Green Square Urban Renewal Area

    • The 45 & Up study: Primary and Community Health Cohort
    • Hospital in the Home in Sydney Local Health District
    • Universal Health Home Visiting
    • Healthy Homes and neighbourhoods
    • Reasons for attendance at Canterbury ED for new migrant parents

Our future

HERDU will continue engaging the leadership and staff of the SLHD, working in partnership with local organisations including the Primary Health Network. We are also building our own infrastructure of qualified and experienced staff who can collaborate with other research organisations to provide leadership in health equity research at both national and international levels.  

Contact HERDU

HERDU contact

A/Prof Fiona Haigh, Director

Email: f.haigh@unsw.edu.au


Level 9 KGV Building
Missenden Road

Phone: 02 9515 9652