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Western Alliance Flagship Research Program to improve maternal and infant health in western Victoria and beyond

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Western Alliance is delighted to announce its inaugural Flagship Research Program, ‘The Pregnancy Research and Translation Ecosystem (PTR-E)’, a collaboration between Deakin University and health services in our region involved in pregnancy care.  

Since its formation in 2014, Western Alliance has funded collaborative research projects and supported clinician researchers across western Victoria in their goal to address some of the key rural and regional health issues.

The Western Alliance Flagship Research Program is a new initiative that uses these strong foundations to support a major program of research and capacity-building that will assist in solving a health problem identified as a top priority by Western Alliance member organisations.

A collaboration between Barwon Health, Ballarat Health Services, East Grampians Health Service, Colac Area Health, Western District Health Service, Deakin University, Gen V (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Federation University, the Pregnancy Research and Translation Ecosystem (PTR-E) will receive a $200,000 grant from Western Alliance to generate and implement best evidence to improve maternal and infant health. 

To achieve this, PRT-E will collect data on pregnancy care and collaborate with the GenV initiative, which aims to recruit and follow 80% of all infants born in Victoria over the coming 2 years. This data will create a world-leading and unique resource for future research.

In parallel, PRT-E will establish a Pregnancy Stakeholder Working Group of consumers and health professionals that will be trained and supported by the established systems of Deakin University’s Institute of Health Transformation.  The Working Group will then co-design and co-produce the research program.

A starting priority is to design a clinical trial and translation plan with the aim of safely reducing the caesarean section rate in the region, which has risen to around 40%. It is a complex problem requiring design of a multifaceted intervention.

Chief Investigator Professor Vuillermin said “PRT-E will create a research, co-design and translation ecosystem that will drive continual improvements in mother and baby care. The program will be an exercise in people power meets cutting edge research methodology. We can’t wait to get the PRT-E started!”

Our congratulations to the PRT-E team.

About Western Alliance

Western Alliance is Australia’s first rural and regionally-focused academic health science centre.

Western Alliance is comprised of 12 member organisations located across the Barwon/Southwest and Grampians regions of western Victoria. Members include six public health services, three private hospitals, a primary health network and two universities. The two regions have a combined population of over 660,000 residents or approximately 44% of rural/regional Victoria’s population.

Through a program of training, education, funding and advocacy, Western Alliance supports its members to improve the health of their communities through research-based and evidence-informed health care.