Stretton Health Equity
The Stretton Health Equity leads high quality scholarship on the social and economic determinants of health and health equity.
Its researchers conduct highly relevant research that informs practice and policy development in Australia and overseas, in relation to the promotion of population mental and physical health and health equity, and the reduction of social and economic exclusion.
Stretton Health Equity’s research focus is on what can be done about the underlying factors that determine the distribution of health and well-being outcomes. We produce research knowledge on why health inequities exist, what can be done about them and how population health overall can be improved. Our research includes that on primary health care, the commercial determinants of health, Health in All Policies, and assessment of policies in a range of areas including housing, urban planning, trade and social welfare in terms of their health and wellbeing impacts. We receive funding from the ARC and NHMRC and government agencies including Wellbeing SA.
For more information, contact the Stretton Health Equity Program Director, Professor Fran Baum AO.
Stretton Health Equity aims to produce policy relevant and engaged research on health inequities, and the social determinants of health that drive them. Our Stretton Health Equity Policy Lab brings together policy briefs and summaries of key findings from our research to inform practice and policy in Australia and internationally.
Professor Fran Baum AO - Program Director
Dr Toby Freeman - Director of Research
Toby Freeman is a Senior Research Fellow and the Director of Research at Stretton Health Equity, part of the University of Adelaide's Stretton Institute. His core research interest is how to redress growing health inequities. His areas of research include primary health care, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, healthy public policy, and the social determinants of health.
Toby was previously a Senior Research Fellow and Deputy Director at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society, and Equity at Flinders University, and a policy officer at the South Australian Council of Social Service.
Dr Julia Anaf
Julia Anaf is a Research Fellow at Stretton Health Equity in the Stretton Institute at the University of Adelaide.
Her research interests focus on the social, political, and commercial determinants of health and health equity. Her most recent work explores the health impacts of the products and operations of transnational corporations. It utilises a Corporate Health Impact Assessment Framework to identify both positive and adverse health and equity impacts of transnational corporations across a range of industry sectors.
Julia is currently employed on a National Health and Medical Research Council Investigator Fellowship led by Professor Fran Baum entitled "Restoring the Fair Go: which policies and practices are likely to reverse growing health inequities in Australia post-COVID-19”. This research will provide a detailed assessment of the drivers of health inequities in Australia and determine the policies and practices most likely to reverse them.
Dr Helen van Eyk
Helen van Eyk is part of the research team working on an Australian Research Council funded history of community health in Australia, as well as other projects. She is interested in research into the social determinants of health and health equity, and in the translation of research into policy and practice.
Prior to coming to the University of Adelaide in 2022, Helen worked at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University and was involved in a number of research activities including the evaluation of Health in All Policies in South Australia, and supporting the work of the Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health on translating research to policy.
Prior to working at the Southgate Institute, she had an extensive career in the South Australian public sector, working in health policy and legislative roles, up to executive level.
Dr Matt Fisher
Dr Matt Fisher is a Senior Research Fellow in Public Health, with the Stretton Health Equity research unit, part of the Stretton Institute and School of Social Sciences at The University of Adelaide. Dr Fisher completed his PhD in political philosophy in 2010, before taking up a research role with the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University. Since that time, his research has focused on two broad issues: 1) how and why public policy does or does not address social determinants of health and health equity (SDH-HE); and 2) how policy action on social determinants can be improved to promote public health and reduce health inequities.
Dr Fisher’s work has focused mainly on public policy and public health in an Australian context and investigated policy in a range of areas including Australian health policy, Indigenous health, primary health care, telecommunications, urban planning and urban environments, environmental policy, early childhood education, and justice. Dr Fisher’s research on policy has applied a range of theoretical concepts from policy studies to explain policy action or inaction on SDH/HE, such as power, political will, the policy cycle, Kingdon’s three streams model of policy development, and the role of Ideas, Interests, and Institutions in determining policy. He has also contributed to theory development, for example in developing and applying a framework to assess Indigenous cultural safety in public policy and publishing work on the role of universal and targeted policies in advancing health equity. With colleagues, Dr Fisher has also conducted research on digital health services, and on the role of transnational corporations as commercial determinants of health.
Dr Fisher had a particular interest in understanding the social factors that affect chronic stress and mental illness, and what they mean for public policy and social change to prevent mental ill-health and promote human wellbeing. In 2019 he published ‘A theory of public wellbeing’ in BMC Public Health, which defined seven wellbeing abilities and showed how these can be promoted or inhibited by social conditions. In 2021 he developed this theoretical work further in an article on ‘Moving social policy from mental illness to public wellbeing’ published in the Journal of Social Policy. In 2020, with Indigenous colleagues, he published research investigating ‘Theories of Indigenous and non-Indigenous wellbeing in Australian health policies’ in Health Promotion International.
Dr Joanne Flavel
Joanne Flavel is a Research Fellow at Stretton Health Equity in the Stretton Institute. She has qualifications and experience in economics and public health, and expertise in quantitative analysis. She worked at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society & Equity prior to joining Stretton Health Equity, and prior to that worked at the National Institute of Labour Studies.
She is a scholar in social epidemiology and public health but her quantitative skills and social science background are interdisciplinary. Her research focuses primarily on health equity and social determinants of health. She is a member of the international Punching Above Weight (PAW) Network, formed to advance thinking and research about why some countries do much better in terms of health outcomes than would be predicted by their economic status. She is also a Global Burden of Disease Collaborator.
Ms Sue Gibbons
Sue is a Research Support Officer for the Stretton Health Equity Programs.
Sue has decades of experience in research administration and executive support in various universities.
Dr Connie Musolino
Connie Musolino is a Research Fellow at Stretton Health Equity in the Stretton Institute. She is an early career researcher with expertise in social science, gender studies and public health. Connie completed a PhD in Social Science with a focus on young women with eating disorders and examined the gendered and socio-cultural factors of their experiences to understand why they were reluctant to seek therapeutic help.
Connie previously worked at the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity in the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University from 2017-2022 as a Research Fellow and Project Manager. Connie is currently a Research Fellow on Prof Fran Baum's NHMRC Investigator Fellowship entitled "Restoring the Fair Go: which policies and practices are likely to reverse growing health inequities in Australia post-COVID-19". She is working across a range of projects examining health inequities, the social determinants of health, gender and health, health promotion and community health services, and civil society and social movements.
Connie has experience in a wide range of research methods including semi-structured interviewing, focus groups, community consultation, observations, diary writing, world cafe and surveying. She is also experienced in project managing complex and interdisciplinary teams, including organising project advisory committees, and community and policy engagement to enhance evidence translation.
Dr Miriam Vandenberg
Miriam is currently based in Tasmania but grew up and studied in South Australia. Miriam has a background in public and environmental health, having worked in these areas is South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. Following a career working for both local and state governments, she completed additional studies in health promotion and public health through Curtin University in WA. She undertook a PhD at Flinders University in SA which explored how working in the informal economy affects workers’ health and wellbeing. Miriam has worked as a public health consultant for 15 years, working on a range of research, evaluation, policy and advocacy projects for many government and non-government organisations in Tasmania, as well as the World Health Organisation. Miriam has worked for Flinders University and the University of Tasmania. Her research interests are social determinants of health equity – particularly to do with work, food security and housing. Miriam also has research experience in areas related to anticipatory care, mental health, positive aging and the criminal justice system.
Stretton Health Equity's key projects include:
Restoring the Fair Go
Australia has long prided itself on being the land of the “fair go” yet in the last two decades and particularly since the onset of Covid-19, this claim has been under threat. While life expectancy has continued to grow in Australia, the distribution of health has grown more unequal. Prof. Fran Baum’s five year NHMRC Investigator Grant (2022-2026) seeks to produce compelling evidence so that policy makers will see the value of adopting new policies to reduce inequality in the context of building back from Covid-19. It will do this by providing a detailed assessment on the pattern of inequities, policies and practices driving inequities and determine those likely to reverse it. The research will engage policymakers and citizens in co-developing these strategies.
Contact: Prof Fran Baum, email@example.com
History of Community Health in Australia
This Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative grant funded project (2020-2023) aims to complete a comprehensive history of the development of community health centres and services in Australia, including Aboriginal community controlled organisations. It is intended to be significant in showing how the Aboriginal, women's, workers' and other social movements interacted with social and political institutions in crafting the variety of community health services now existing in Australia. It is intended to trace the changing meanings of 'community' and 'health' over the past fifty years. It is anticipated the research will enhance understanding of cultural, political and institutional influences on healthcare in Australia, thereby assisting in improving interventions promoting community health and well-being.
Contact: Dr Connie Musolino, Project manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
Decolonising Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care
The NHMRC funded Decolonising practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care project (2018-2023) is partnering with five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care services around Australia to understand and establish an evidence base for decolonising practice in primary health care to address the negative health effects of ongoing colonisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Punching Above Their Weight Network
The international Punching Above Their Weight Network was established to advance thinking and research about why some countries do much better or much worse in terms of life expectancy than would be predicted by their economic status.
Health in All Policies
Health in All Policies (HiAP) is a strategy promoted by the World Health Organization to encourage intersectoral action on social determinants of health. It has been implemented in South Australia since 2007. We have conducted a 5 year NHMRC project (2012-17) to evaluate the state's HiAP approach. The key messages from this research are outlined in the policy brief.
In 2022, Stretton Health Equity produced a review of intersectoral collaboration models to address social determinants.