Primary Care Research Unit
The vision of the Primary Care Research Unit (PCRU) is to be a national and international centre of excellence in primary care research, known for rigorous research programs, strong national and international collaborative research and research higher degree training. PCRU brings together researchers from within the Academic Centre from a diverse range of academic backgrounds including science, psychology, statistics, social sciences, computing science, medicine, nursing and allied health.
Our research is firmly based in general practice and primary care and focuses on the provision of primary, comprehensive, and continuing care. The social model of health, the doctor-patient relationship and the primary care team are all embedded firmly within the work.
Our current research focuses on quality and safety in primary health care, models of primary care delivery and clinical research in primary care in four major program areas: Abuse and Violence, Chromic Disease, Primary Care Mental health and Young People’s Health. In addition to these four major programs the PCRU is undertaking research in the areas of cancer research, complementary and alternative medicines, sexual health and chiropractic.
We are committed to getting evidence into practice. Our practiced based research network, VicReN, is a demonstration of our commitment to engaging the primary care sector at all stages of the research process.
1. Abuse and Violence Program
Our aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of women, children, families and communities through addressing problems of abuse and violence through primary care. Our research focus is: family violence (or intimate partner violence), child abuse, unwanted sexual encounters, abuse and resilience, sexual harassment, abuse in same-sex relationships and workplace violence.
2. Chronic Disease and Equity Program
Our aim is to conduct rigorous multi-method primary health care research that leads improves the health outcomes of people with chronic diseases; particularly those from disadvantaged, culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and the Indigenous population. The research focuses on the role of general practitioners, practice nurses, other primary health care providers and the health system in improving diabetes care and reducing cardiovascular disease risks in the community. Emphasis is also placed on consumer engagement in the self-management of diabetes and other chronic diseases.
3. Primary Care Mental Health Program
We conduct research to inform the primary care response to the growing burden of mental health problems in the Australian community. General practice provides most of the health care for high prevalence conditions such as depression, anxiety and related disorders. Our research adopts a mixed-method participatory approach to investigate pathways to care, interaction between physical/mental health and system redesign to improve mental health services in primary care.
4. Young People's Health Program
Our aim is to conduct research into the health issues of young people (14 to 24 year olds). We research mental health and the key risk-taking behaviours such as; unprotected sex, substance use, unsafe driving. Our focus is around practice based system change and intervention aiming to increase young people’s engagement with, and commitment to, health care and thereby ultimately contributing to improved health care access and health outcomes.