Professor Luke Wolfenden
Professor Wolfenden is an NHMRC Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Evidence and NCD program implementation, and a member of the Prevention Centre’s Leadership Executive.
Luke’s research seeks to reduce the burden of chronic disease in the community. Over the past five years his work has focused on trialling interventions to reduce modifiable chronic disease risks in the community; and trialling dissemination and implementation strategies to increase the adoption of evidence-based chronic disease prevention practices by organisations in the community. Professor Wolfenden’s research addresses primary modifiable risks, including obesity, diet, physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use.
He won a Sax Institute Research Action Award 2020 for his work.
- Improving connection and engagement by maternity services in the prevention and better control of risk factors for chronic disease, including smoking, alcohol consumption and unhealthy weight gain in pregnancy
- Community managed organisations: a potential role in addressing the chronic disease burden among people with mental illness
- Methods and metrics for moving from best practice prevention to implementation and scale up
- The effectiveness of strategies to scale the implementation of community chronic disease interventions
- Barriers to, and strategies for, evaluating complex interventions
- Developing codes of practice as a means of activating new non-communicable disease (NCD)-prevention provisions embedded within the South Australian Public Health Act 2011
NHMRC Fellow, University of Newcastle
Please describe your role in one or two sentences: I’m leading a project that’s investigating strategies to scale up chronic disease prevention programs in community settings.
The most challenging part is … this work is all being done in the form of Cochrane Reviews. It’s a developing field and the literature is heterogeneous with new studies coming out every day. It’s challenging to synthesise it in a way that’s quick enough to be of benefit before it becomes redundant.
I’m interested in the work of the Prevention Centre because … it’s one of the few centres internationally that brings together such a multidisciplinary team of people working in the field of implementation science. A lot of the work of the Prevention Centre is in systems science, an area I find intriguing.
Before my current position, my most memorable role was … working on Hunter New England’s Good for Kids, Good for Life obesity prevention program in NSW, which was the first time we really applied implementation science methods to a public health problem at scale.
My favourite holiday is … travelling overseas, though now I have kids you’re much more likely to find me in a holiday park.
The things I most enjoy is … hanging out with my family, playing touch football in the park or going for a run.
Read more about Luke here.