Centre for Public Health, Equity and Human Flourishing (PHEHF)
About the centre
The Centre for Public Health, Equity and Human Flourishing (PHEHF) is a unique, world-leading multi-disciplinary research centre extending the horizon of public health research. We undertake internationally renowned research and create thought leadership that responds to the significant public health problems of our time. We focus on undertaking research and advocacy activities that improve equity in society, locally, nationally and globally, and will enable human flourishing for all. Our 'field of vision' is on the systems and structures that currently hinder or destabilise human flourishing for some groups, but not others.
Our research programs focus on understanding and improving social justice globally. Our researchers have expertise in academic disciplines such as sociology, epidemiology, psychology, human physiology, nutrition, anthropology, medicine, philosophy and laboratory sciences. As such, we are uniquely placed to respond to 'wicked problems' in contemporary society. Our research studies are multi- disciplinary and utilise the benefits of multiple complimentary research designs, including qualitative methodologies, randomised controlled trials, cohort studies, cross-section designs, systematic reviews and meta- analyses.
Professor Paul Ward, Centre Director
Professor Ward is a social scientist and he applies and critiques various methodologies and social theories to contemporary public health problems. His current research focuses on equity of access to healthcare services, public trust in a variety of health and social care services and systems and understanding risk behaviours of various vulnerable and marginalised population groups.
Contact Professor Ward for project partnerships or to learn more about our research centre.
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Explore our areas of research
Social and commercial determinants of health and wellbeing
This research cluster focuses the social and commercial drivers that ‘cause’ illness in an attempt to develop actions to create health and wellbeing in our most marginalised and vulnerable populations. Our focus is on solutions aimed at illness prevention, under the banner of ‘prevention is better than cure’.
Cluster focus areas:
- Social class
- War and conflict
- Equity and access to services
Improving services and systems to promote trust and human flourishing
This cluster focuses on understanding and improving public trust in healthcare professionals and services and developing the fertile soil in society for humans to live their ‘best lives’ in order for enable human flourishing.
Cluster focus areas:
- Human flourishing
- Human capabilities
Understanding and improving equity of access to, use of and benefits from healthcare services
This cluster focuses on understanding the reasons for unfair or inequitable access to healthcare services, in additional to inequitable outcomes in terms of illness and death. Studies also focus on developing and testing interventions to improve equity.
Cluster focus areas:
- Equity in access to healthcare services
- Equity in treatment within healthcare services
- Equity in outcomes from healthcare services
Sociology of emotions, wellbeing and the future
This cluster focuses the critically important functions that emotions have for human wellbeing and flourishing. Studies focus on understanding the structural drivers of negative and positive emotions and developing strategies for enabling positive emotions to flourish.
Cluster focus areas:
- Hope, Love, Trust, Resilience, Happiness
- Fear, Loneliness, Anger, Grief
Discover our live projects
Feasibility and acceptability of a tailored model of care to address frailty among residents of retirement villagesThis project aims to develop and test a co-designed model of care to address frailty among older residents (aged 70+ years) of residential aged care facilities.IMPAACT: IMproving the PArticipation of older Australians in policy decision-making of Ageing related CondiTions
The IMPAACT study supports the early diagnosis and treatment of common health conditions among older Australians by enabling them to provide evidence-informed views on screening in order to facilitate the translation of these perspectives into health policy.Communicating messages about alcohol risk in an alco-genic environmentThis 3-year study is a mixed-methods study on alcohol and breast cancer in midlife women (aged 45-64 years) in Australia. It men in different social classes and on developing strategies aimed at alcohol and breast cancer reduction in this population group.
Developing evidence-based strategies for addressing childhood vaccination rejectionThis 3-year study explores parental trust in childhood immunisations and develops ethically-grounded strategies for communicating with parents who do not (or partially) vaccinate their children.Increasing resilience and reducing smoking for lower socio-economic groupsThis 3-year study is a randomised control trial of mindfulness interventions aimed at reducing smoking in people from areas of low socio-economic status.
Meet our researchers
Dr Aylward is a qualified teacher, and teaching specialist with expertise in qualitative and mixed methods approaches, particularly with ‘methodologically challenging’ vulnerable groups.
Associate Professor Mwanri is a public health physician by training and has research experiences in public health in general, global health and migrants’ health in particular.
Dr Baker is a research fellow and lecturer at Torrens University whose research interests include emotional demands (emotion work), people skills (Affective Abilities) required, and organisational contexts (power-relations) in people-centric service work.
Dr Dent has a keen research interest into integrating healthcare systems, including supporting older adults with frailty so that they can receive best care and avoid any unnecessary hospitalisations.
Dr Ambagtsheer has more than 20 years’ experience working in the health field, as a researcher, planner and consultant to all levels of government and the private and not-for-profit sectors.
Dr Gesesew conducts research in Medicine and Public Health which aims at improving HIV care continuum in Tigray (North Ethiopia) and other developing countries.
Google Scholar Profile
Dr Lunnay is a post-doctoral qualitative researcher and Research Associate to Professor Paul Ward on an ARC Discovery project on women, alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk.
Elissa is a clinical dietitian but she has worked in public health for most of her career.
Professor Beilby has been an active researcher and general practitioner for nearly 30 years.
Associate Professor Littleton conducts research in the area of public health with a specific focus on children, the social and political determinants
Dr Townsin undertakes research in Education and Health, and has a particular interest in intercultural communication and cultural
As an emerging social scientist with an interest in human flourishing, relational sociology, occupational science, and feminist philosophy.
Dr Fauk is an early career researcher. He mainly applies qualitative methods and social cognitive theories to public health problems.