Since its establishment in 1990, the National Centre in HIV Social Research has always been about more than ‘just’ HIV. As the suite of national strategies has expanded over time, so has the research program of CSRH. So now we’re taking the small step of changing our name to leap into a future offering many new opportunities for health-related social research; research that makes a difference to affected individuals and communities. Welcome to the new Centre for Social Research in Health.
From the outset, the research program has situated HIV in the broader social, cultural and political contexts that affect our communities and shape responses to HIV, both nationally and internationally. Sex, sexuality, sexual heath and sex education have long been an integral part of the centre’s research program and since the late 1990s the centre has developed a highly successful program of research with respect to the prevention, treatment and lived experience of viral hepatitis that also encompasses research into injecting and illicit drug use.
In recent years we’ve built new strengths in research to support not only the translation of theories and evidence into health promotion practice but also the evaluation of innovative health promotion policies, programs and services. We’ve also expanded our research into the broader health and wellbeing challenges faced by gay men, same-sex attracted young people, people who use illicit drugs, and people who live with chronic HIV or viral hepatitis infections, and re-invigorated our research into sex, sexuality, education and sexual health. We’ve also expanded our research with the health workforce and established a strong reputation of research with Aboriginal communities that addressed a range of health issues, including experiences of cancer care.
Our research that responds to the national strategies regarding blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections will remain central to the work of the Centre for Social Research in Health into the future, as will our commitment to research conducted in collaboration with national, state and territory governments, community organisations and health service providers. If anything, we aim to strengthen this core component of our research and expand coverage. At the same time, drawing on our established expertise and experience, we also aim to increase the diversity of communities we work with and respond to a larger range of issues they face. This more comprehensive approach to social research in health as well as capacity building will help inform responses in emerging areas of health promotion for our communities as well as strengthen knowledge exchange across other areas of health promotion, nationally and internationally.
We hope to continue and expand our collaboration with other key partners as we embark on this exciting journey.