The ripple effect of prevention



TYPE Prevention Centre News

One the eve of what is expected to be a ‘wellbeing budget’ for Australia, how can we measure a wellbeing economy?

This was a tricky question recently addressed at a Prevention Centre Emerging Leaders Network seminar with Dr Katherine Trebeck of the University of Edinburgh, advisor to The Next Economy, and co-founder of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance.

She has outlined the benefits of a wellbeing economy approach, which is very much in line with a systems approach to the prevention of chronic disease. The Prevention Centre has been spotlighting the many co-benefits of prevention i.e. the multiple and diverse benefits across different policy or program areas that can arise from a preventive health strategy or initiative.  

Co-benefits is a really beautiful concept. It’s not the sexiest of terms, it’s fairly technical, but in a way it’s just about positive ripple effects, and really being more ambitious for interventions.

Dr Katherine Trebeck

Dr Trebeck has expanded on these issues in our latest Prevention Works podcast, which looks at how a wellbeing economy and co-benefits framework can help make the case for investment in prevention. She shares how governments often think about the return on investment, and how expanding this approach to emphasising wellbeing and other co-benefits is a more constructive way to justify investment in a solution or change.

The Prevention Centre has also highlighted our growing focus on co-benefits of prevention, with a new section on our website and as a key feature of our vision for the new Australian Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

If we approach a challenge in a way that’s saying let’s not just put a band-aid and solve and fix, let’s try to do something bigger and better, let’s try to make sure that when we intervene or try to bring about a solution that we’re thinking bigger, we’re looking for more opportunities, we’re looking for the potential of wider benefits and these beautiful, positive ripple effects… it enables people to look up and cast their eyes around, or hopefully literally, actually say is there something more we can be doing here.

Dr Katherine Trebeck

The presentation from Dr Trebeck was followed by a response from Dr Victoria Brown, a member of the Collaboration for Enhanced Research Impact (CERI) highlighting the need to move away from reactive healthcare to preventive healthcare. The ripple effect of co-benefits perfectly underlines this much-needed approach.