Lessons from a decade of the Prevention Centre



TYPE Prevention Centre News

Co-Director Professor Lucie Rychetnik shared insights from the network of researchers, practitioners and policy makers who have collaborated for ten years to strengthen and enhance the national chronic disease prevention system. She shared the size and scale of these partnerships working together for an empowered prevention system.

The Prevention Centre is a trusted voice on the systemic nature of chronic disease and its unique role in bringing jurisdictions and universities together has helped accelerate the translation of evidence and established new ways of working to address increasingly complex issues.

It’s not just about getting evidence into policy and practice, it’s also about ensuring that the real-world questions that policy and practice are grappling with actually inform the type of research we do and that there is a closing of the loop – there’s a lesson that has been drawn from policy and practice informing research going forward.

Professor Lucie Rychetnik

Much of the Prevention Centre’s research is conducted by recognised leaders in applying systems thinking to chronic disease prevention research. Lucie covered a number of examples and tools of our systems approaches. She also welcomed the growing interest in the co-benefits of prevention and spoke of the need to establish collaborations outside the health system to identify win-win solutions.

She said key to the success of the past ten years has been the funding partners’ investment in the core relational infrastructure of the Coordinating Centre to help nurture national partnerships and build capacity across the prevention system, particularly with a strong focus on supporting emerging leaders.

The Coordinating Centre has also supported the embedding of science communication as a core capacity to support research impact. The focus of science communication is on the meaning and practical implications of research, helping to raise awareness of the value of prevention and supporting policy makers to make their case for investment.

In order for us to have an effective and equitable prevention system, it relies on us being all connected and better informed, being aligned and empowered in what we’re asking for and working together as a whole.

Professor Lucie Rychetnik

This message was echoed in a workshop on advocating for prevention research hosted by the Collaboration for Enhanced Research Impact (CERI) at the conference. The workshop identified that the future of prevention research funding and investment will depend on strong collaborations and alignment across research and policy, with practical examples of how it makes a difference in the real world.  

The Prevention Centre models an important partnership approach to tackling chronic disease prevention that is based on pooled funds from national, state and territory jurisdictions and non-government agencies that came together to support initiatives of shared value. The collaborations and connections that we celebrated during the Preventive Health Conference point to a strong future for prevention in Australia. 

You can watch a video recording of Lucie’s presentation here.