Population Health

Our Population Health team explores the physical and mental health of humans across the lifespan.

Our projects integrate epidemiological, clinical and basic research approaches to conduct studies that have real-world translational applications. With this comes the unique ability to describe the epidemiology of physical and mental health conditions in the population.

Together, Theme Leader Professor Julie Pasco and Deputy Theme Leader Associate Professor Lana Williams oversee a diverse team of researchers and students that engages community members of all ages from Geelong, surrounding regions and beyond. Our study participants visit the state-of-the-art clinical facilities at Barwon Health, where we conduct physical and mental health assessments. Data linkage with health registries broadens the scope of our research.

We develop hypothesis-driven epidemiological research by testing observations from basic science to see if they appear in populations. We also generate hypotheses by raising questions about mechanisms of action to be explored in the laboratory.

We run several long-term health studies, including:

  • The Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS)
  • The PRedictors and Outcomes of incident FRACtures (PROFRAC) study
  • The Vitamin D in Pregnancy (VIP) study
  • The Bipolar Disorder and Lifestyle study
  • The Ageing, Chronic Disease and Injury (ACDI) study

The rich data sets produced by these studies have local, national and global significance. Our invaluable research provides evidence for designing clinical trials, generates data for economic modelling and contributes to large international meta-analyses.

The Geelong Osteoporosis Study (GOS) is one of few studies in Australia that has continued to follow contemporary, population-based cohorts of young, through to middle and older-aged men and women across a range of sociodemographic backgrounds. Important biomarkers from this study have helped to form the basis for the development of diagnostic criteria for physical and mental disorders.

Our world-renowned team is also leading the way in developing and testing solutions for real-world practice. We ensure our research can become a driving force for positive change to improve health outcomes by shaping public health messages, informing national health policy and influencing clinical practice.

Team profiles:

Professor Lana Williams Deputy Theme Leader
Dr Kara Holloway-Kew Research Fellow
Dr Natalie Hyde Research Fellow