Minister announces new research grants

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Health minister Greg Hunt has announced six research initiatives that will share in over $4.8 million in funding under the NHMRC's Partnership Projects scheme.

The University of Melbourne will receive over $415,920 to assess suicides in public places that have become known as ‘suicide hotspots’. Minister Hunt said the research will provide practical guidance on how best to prevent suicides and save lives at these sites.

He said, "Suicides are traumatic for those who live or work at these sites, and can create a devastating ripple effect that flows through families, friendship groups, schools, workplaces and communities.

"Almost a third of all suicides occur in locations that are or may become hotspots, and there may be as many as 120 hotspots in Australia."

The University of Newcastle will receive $734,163 to improve antenatal care to prevent excess weight gain.

"Weight gain outside recommended levels during pregnancy contributes to a range of adverse outcomes for the mother and child, including gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, preterm birth and obesity," said Minister Hunt.

"Despite guidelines recommending routine weighing and weight gain care being provided by antenatal services, 50-70% of women gain weight outside recommended levels during pregnancy."

The University of Sydney will receive $1,108,389 to develop the Get Health Coaching Service to reduce the burden of low back pain.

Australia spends around $9 billion annually on low back pain management. The proposed approach aims to improve health services and processes in low back pain management, at low cost, and be implementable across Local Health Districts in NSW.

"These grants will support our health and medical research workforce, providing opportunities for more health advances and for direct impact on Australians’ quality of life," added the Minister