HEAL network to tackle health impacts of climate change

Flinders University’s Dr Martin Breed and Professor Corey Bradshaw are part of a new $10 million national network to build resilience to environmental change.

The Healthy Environments And Lives (HEAL) Network will be a new multidisciplinary national research team created to contribute to Australia’s preparedness and responsiveness to health threats from changing environmental conditions and extreme weather events.

The network, led by Australian National University with partners from across Australia, will provide international leadership in environmental change and health research through innovative ways of examining health through natural systems. This will include Dr Breed and Professor Bradshaw working to:

  • Examine ways to restore health-promoting biodiversity.
  • Develop a mechanistic understanding of improved health from exposure to biodiverse environmental microbiota.
  • Model the effects of climate change on child health and mortality.
  • Calculate the combined effects of climate change and dwindling exposure to nature on child health.
  • Examine ways to improve Aboriginal health through the maintenance of environmental intactness.

The national initiative will involve researchers, practitioners, communities and policymakers working together to address themes such as urban health, bushfires, food security, heatwaves and other extreme events, and biosecurity. Through this process, it will bring together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, sustainable development, environmental
epidemiology, and data science and communication to address climate change and its impacts on health.

Announcing the launch of HEAL, the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt MP, said the network would develop the interdisciplinary, cross-sector, solutions-driven research needed to address local, regional, national and global challenges.

HEAL will be funded for five years through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Special Initiative in Human Health and Environmental Change and operate across all Australian states and territories.

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