Australia’s biggest master-planned community could soon become one of our healthiest.
Springfield city, southwest of Brisbane, has provided a unique opportunity for The University of Queensland to study health and wellbeing at a community level.
In an Australian-first project, Springfield City Group has joined forces with UQ to drive local research, co-funding a Professor at the new Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing.
Centre Director and Chair of Community Health and Wellbeing, Professor Lauren Ball said Springfield was an ideal location to test the effectiveness of community-level preventative health and wellbeing initiatives over time.
“Springfield is a young community – much younger than the national average – and we’ll work with them to design and test health and wellbeing initiatives to live and age well,” Professor Ball said.
“By collaborating with residents and workers to deliver programs that genuinely support their health and wellbeing needs, we can support their long-term health outcomes and potentially reduce future demand on the healthcare system.
“With such a vibrant, multicultural community, we know there is huge potential for positive impact through research on mental health, healthy eating, physical activity, domestic violence, school transitions, childhood health, cancer survivorship, plus so much more.”
Springfield city is made up of many young families, with a mean age of 32 years.
Springfield City Group Chairman Maha Sinnathamby AM said the collaboration with UQ would provide a unique offering to residents of Australia’s fastest-growing region.
“When we devised this master-planned city, we created it with health, education and innovation at the forefront of all of our decisions,” Mr Sinnathamby said.
“This Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing takes this commitment to a new level, combining with some of the brightest medical research minds at one of the world’s best universities.
“This is a genuine partnership between cutting-edge research and our community, understanding each other and developing health outcomes that will improve lives.”
Springfield city is home to 55,000 residents across 2,860 hectares including 30 per cent green space. The city celebrated its 30th birthday last year.
UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry said community-led research could help local residents to live and age well, and shape healthcare services in other growing communities.
“This gives residents the opportunity to help direct research to address healthcare challenges that matter to them and tailor local services to their needs,” Professor Terry said.
“Community-led research is the future of world-class health research in Australia.”
The Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing is already on the ground in Springfield city, actively engaging residents in the following projects:
- Working with cancer survivors as they transition back into their community following hospital treatment;
- Understanding the benefits of a “third space” in health and wellbeing away from home and work;
- Teaching cooking skills to residents, not only for healthy living but to create the possibility of microbusinesses based on those cooking skills.
Feedback from the community will inform the focus of research, so local healthcare services and programs can be tailored to local needs and preferences.
Findings from the research will be translated to communities across Queensland and other states.
The Centre for Community Health and Wellbeing was officially launched at Springfield City Group’s 6th Annual Medical Practitioners’ Networking Event, bringing together medical professionals working across the Springfield city region.
The Centre is part of UQ’s School of Human Movement and Nutrition Science and the School of Public Health.
The University of Queensland