What is HOT NORTH?
HOT North is an NHMRC funded research program led by Menzies School of Health Research, which draws on more than three decades of research collaboration, education and translational leadership to address these enduring health challenges. A multidisciplinary collaboration involving eight of Australia’s leading health research organisations, HOT North aims to improve health outcomes in the tropical north through projects that link organisations, translate research into outcomes and create pathways for health professionals.
The first three years of funding has provided for the establishment of 97 pilot/translation projects and funded individual fellowships and scholarships for researchers. The funded researchers have formed collaborations with 23 other research organisations across Australia and South-Asia. More than 80 health sector implementation organisations such as health departments, hospitals and Aboriginal Medical Services, also participate in these HOT North-supported projects.
HOT North’s primary aim is to build the health research workforce across northern Australia. In its first three years, HOT North has supported 14 undergraduate and postgraduate students at universities, 23 early-career and mid-career fellows at three research institutes and seven Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders working in the health research sector. HOT North also offers specific training to build research and research translation capacity and networking and mentoring opportunities to compensate for professional isolation caused by geographical distance. For example, it has established the 130-member Women in Tropical Health (WITH) network.
On the Ground Impact
Every year HOT North conducts a series of teaching workshops in remote towns and cities across northern Australia, from Broome to Thursday Island. By the end of 2019, 15 workshops had been conducted with a total of 1631 participants, who listened to 290 presentations from Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers.
These workshops provide opportunities for local health professionals to meet university-based researchers and discuss research ideas that work towards closing the health gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
HOT North also provides opportunities for northern-based health professionals to participate in projects that build research capability and capacity in northern Australia.
To date, at least 573 people have participated in HOT North supported projects and the participation rate is expected to continue.
3 YEAR SNAPSHOT: Jan 2017 – Dec 2019
The tropical north faces three enduring challenges
- to improve the health of Indigenous populations
- to support, grow and retain health care professionals and scientists
- to optimise disease surveillance, communication and research translation.
HOT NORTH’s integrated research agenda brings together biological, sociological, environmental and health service research expertise across tropical Australia and regional neighbours.
This approach enables the development of a unified response to critical health issues, to build the capacity of health services and advance knowledge in Australia, our region and globally.
It also provides a rich training ground for health workforce development and professional advancement. HOT NORTH will provide interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral training for the next generation of academic experts, health leaders within the community sector and the officials and technical specialists within governments.
The program has five key research themes
- skin health
- respiratory health
- antimicrobial resistance
- chronic disease, and
- vector-borne and emerging diseases.
The program has an ambitious plan that will
- Generate new knowledge that leads to improved health outcomes
- Promote effective transfer of research outcomes into health policy and / or practice
- Develop the health and medical research workforce by providing opportunities to advance the training of new researchers, particularly those with a capacity for independent research and future leadership roles
- Formalise the already active collaboration across more than four CREs and twenty large projects and programs working in priority areas
Research translation will be directed by and achieved through five peak committees
- Executive Steering Group
- Indigenous Governance Committee
- Laboratory Advisory Board
- Research Translation, Policy and Practice Advisory Board
- Northern Neighbours Advisory Board