The University of Wollongong is committed to working towards the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its governance, teaching and learning, community engagement, partnerships and research. The following initiatives are by UOW staff and students working towards SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing.
Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
Molecular Horizons is dedicated to illuminating how life works at a molecular level and solving some of the biggest health challenges facing the world.Visit the Molecular Horizons website
UOW is very excited to partner with ANTSO to use their fantastic research infrastructure and support personnel to house our Titan electron microscope. Housing our microscope there allows us to start using the microscope for two years before the molecular horizons building will be finished on the UOW campus the electron microscope will be used by researchers who are interested in various diseases such as cancer, antimicrobial resistance and motor neuron disease and understanding how these diseases are caused at the molecular level. The Titan microscope will allow researchers to visualise the three-dimensional shape of proteins, the little machines inside our cells that can cause disease when they stop working the way they should.
UOW's molecular horizons facility will put New South Wales and in fact Australia on the map as a leader in this revolutionary science and open up unlimited possibilities for vital health-related discoveries.
Researchers at UOW are tackling the challenge of antimicrobial resistance, by developing and testing interventions to stop, or at the very least slow down, rates of resistance. Wollongong Antimicrobial Resistance Research Alliance (WARRA) is a collaboration between UOW and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, NSW Health Pathology, Southern IML Pathology, Centre for Health Research Illawarra Shoalhaven Population and other universities. The team is building a large longitudinal study across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region which looks at all of the factors (food, animals, waste, genetics, microbiome etc.) that drive antimicrobial resistance and test interventions.
Mental health support
UOW has a number of support services available to staff and students, including UOW’s Employee Assistance Program, LifeWorks which provides 24/7 confidential counselling as well as mental health awareness and intervention training and counselling and wellbeing support for students. UOW’s Unilife provides mindful meditation and ‘bend and snack’ sessions where UOW students are given free access to guided meditation sessions.
Sexual health and the HARP unit
The Sexual Health and the HIV and Related Programs (HARP) Unit is a collaboration between UOW and Healthy Cities Illawarra. The sexual health and HIV prevention program is committed to creating a safe and respectful environment for all members of our community.
Living well, longer
The UOW Global Challenges Program’s Living Well, Longer challenge area is improving the lives of older Australians and people with lived experience of mental illness. The challenge connects experts from a range of fields and disciplines to understand and address ageing and dementia, mental health and therapeutic and personal recovery. The following are some of the projects to improve the health and wellbeing: Recovery Camp, Ahead of the Game, Connections for Life with Dementia, Combating Neurodegenerative Disease, Anxiety in aged care, Driving Change, Dementia Friendly Communities and Mind the Age Gap.
Connections for Life with Dementia
Connections for Life with Dementia is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project bringing together expertise from UOW with community and industry partners, including people living with dementia and their care partners. The purpose of this research is to understand, support, and enhance social connections and quality of life for people with dementia in various care and community settings.Visit the Connections for Life with Dementia webpage
Our project Connections for Life with Dementia is about overcoming the barriers that exist for people as they age and as they live with conditions like dementia, to make those connections that will help them to live a good life.
So our research is conducting audits and interviews with people living with dementia both in their apartments, to find out about the elements that make their apartments manageable, meaningful and comprehensible, and also taking them outside to walk around and doing mapping activities to find out which elements of the physical environment are helping them or impeding them from connecting with local community. Our external partners in this project are the members of the community themselves so people living with dementia and people at risk of dementia and we'll be looking later on in the research to reach out to other partners within local government like architecture firms and that kind of thing to try and affect change in how we design buildings and environments.
In Australia, we have a tendency of putting people who need the most support on the very edges of society and for people with disabilities and older people that has historically meant placing them in institutions that are right on the edges of communities. This project really aims to put people with dementia and people in residential aged care with dementia at heart of communities and to see residential aged care as a community hub.
My role on this project is to contribute as someone who supports someone living with dementia. In her case it's young onset dementia a rare form and I think it's important for research if it's to be action research to be based on the lived experience of the people about whom others are researching and basically for us within the dementia community it's really nothing about us without all of us.
In our project we will know we're successful if we increase the opportunities for people as they age and as they are living with conditions like dementia to stay connected. That will mean there'll be more opportunities in our communities for people to be socially connected we will begin to design our cities and our communities so that they the outdoor spaces and the buildings actually promote connectedness and involvement for our older population. We will also build residential aged-care facilities in a way that sees them as central to the communities that we live in rather than as places where people become more segregated.
Success in our project also means that people regardless of their discipline, or their background, see the challenges of an aging population as something that they can contribute a solution to. That means that architects, designers, town planners and providers of aged care services, as well as community members all see aging as part of their responsibility and something that they can contribute solutions to.
The research program combines professional experience placement for health students, with a recovery-oriented experience for those living with a mental illness. Recovery Camp has provided over 65,000 hours of clinical placement to over 800 health students.Visit the recovery camp website
So our research team is made up of mental health nurses, a senior lecturer from the Faculty of Education. But we've also got a consumer on our interdisciplinary team that lives with bipolar disorder and he's a peer support worker. So the students are interdisciplinary, but the research team is also interdisciplinary. Each team member contributes their specialised discipline expertise to examine recovery camp efficacy. The research specifically examines effects on student learning, lived experience of carers, and importantly quality of life issues for people who live with mental illness.
Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute
The Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI) is a partnership between UOW and the Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District. IHMRI provides our affiliated researchers with a range of services to help them find new insights into disease and illness, devise prevention strategies, and develop more effective treatments and health care services.
Intelligent Polymer Research Institute
Internationally recognised as a leader in electromaterials research, the Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) draws together researchers and external experts from a range of disciplines, including biologists, clinicians, chemists, physicists and engineers. IPRI’s competencies lie in the design and synthesis of intelligent materials and is renowned for expertise in the group of multifunctional, stimuli-responsive materials – organic conducting polymers and carbons; used in diverse applications of energy and health.
Australian Health Services Research Institute
The Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) is an internationally-renowned research institute that generates robust evidence through rigorous research and evaluation that informs and supports better management of health and community services across Australia. AHSRI’s innovative work facilitates greater equity in resource distribution, fairer access to services, improved continuity within and across health and community care sectors, and evidence-based decision making.
Aged Dementia Health Education & Research
Aged Dementia Health Education & Research (ADHERe) undertakes interdisciplinary research generating evidence in gerontological studies. ADHERe’s purpose is to transform the lives of older people and family carers using our evidence-based resources. UOW collaborates with Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District to support better health services, leading to a healthier community.
Stronger Culture Koori Kids
A unique after-school program that encourages Aboriginal children to connect with their culture and focuses on using culturally relevant activities chosen by the local Aboriginal community to promote healthy lifestyles and educational outcomes.Find out more about the Stronger Culture Koori Kids program
Ahead of the Game
Led by Dr Stewart Vella, this research team was awarded $2million from Movember Foundation to develop a sport-based mental health program for young men. This partnership has seen the program confirmed as the official program of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 and has reached over 50,000 adolescent men, globally.Read more about Ahead of the Game