Research Projects

At BestSTART, we pioneer novel research projects in the areas of Healthy Beginnings, Health Systems, Population Health, Equity, Mental Health, and COVID-19.

Research outputs

Check out our latest publications, policy evidence, and annual reports…

Engaging Community

You can make a difference! We want to listen to your views to shape young people’s research in South West Sydney. BestSTART works closely with young people ….

BestSTART Mission

South West BestSTART (Systems Transformation And Research Translation) aims to revolutionise the health system by integrating the voices of young people and their families into current research efforts, making sure the research in South West Sydney (SWS) is locally relevant and internationally important. We will achieve better health outcomes for young people and their families by:

  • Establishing a network with children and families in SWS, so their voices help transform the health system
  • Supporting and informing ongoing initiatives in research design and data management
  • Building research capacity by supporting staff in developing new projects and scaling existing projects


BestSTART Research Themes

BestSTART-SW has 5 key research themes: Healthy Beginnings, Health Systems, Population Health, Equity and Mental Health. Our ultimate aim is to transform healthcare for all children, young people and families in South West Sydney into equitable and effective care that makes a difference at key transition points and makes South West Sydney the best place for children to grow up.


Focusing on early interventions, as well as the monitoring and assessment of the health of young children during their first years of life, a key priority area for NSW Health.



Focuses on three key areas, child obesity child health equity, and mental health and stress. Obesity was chosen as a priority area as 1 in every 3 children in SWS is overweight or obese.



Making sure that families can access the right level of care when they need it.  Focus on health systems delivery for children with complex health needs and those with chronic health conditions.



We are working with our communities to activate change-making from the grassroots and co-develop mental health project proposals and interventions.



Ensuring the health systems works for everyone is critical to make sure that everyone, even those struggling to make ends meet, can have a fair go at a healthy life.


Our Key Projects

Centre of Research Excellence in Strengths-based Tiered Access to Resources and Supports (STARS-CRE)

The Centre of Research Excellence in Strengths-based Tiered Access to Resources and Supports (STARS-CRE) will address inequity in health and developmental service access for children from priority populations in the first 2,000 days from pregnancy to start of school. The new centre is a national collaboration that brings together a national team of clinicians, researchers, and partners from psychiatry, child and family health, psychology, Aboriginal health, paediatrics, social policy, health economics, and population health.

This CRE will pursue four broad themes to engage and empower parents to access right care at the right place and time including service navigation support: (i) Integrate new knowledge by co-designing with consumers and the community, the STAR program framework; (ii) Implement and evaluate tiered interventions tailored to individual needs; (iii) Incorporate learnings via policy and service translation using Knowledge Translation approaches and Health Economics analysis; and (iv) Increase health and medical research workforce capacity and collaboration with a focus on novel training approaches such as Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE framework) that will fundamentally shift the way we assess and deliver care. This CRE will be of national and international relevance as the first ever strength-based program in supporting children and families fundamentally pivoting from a risk-based assessment to a resilience based clinical care model for priority populations.

Watch Me Grow (WMG)

This project aims to implement a digital solution to address these issues and expand child developmental monitoring by adding screening components for the mental health and psychosocial impacts of the pandemic for children and their parents in the first 2000 days. The aim of this research is to use the WMG-E weblink at homes and in the community (when child and family and GP clinics were closed, and families had no access to routine well baby checks due to the pandemic) to engage parents to identify and address parental mental health, psychosocial wellbeing, and child developmental needs with a focus on CALD communities in SWSLHD and regional/rural communities in Murrumbidgee LHD.

Meet Our Team

BestSTART-SW brings together world-class clinicians, researchers, and policymakers, working with families, children and youth to create a Centre of Excellence in child-health translational research. Our team includes experts from different fields (e.g. psychiatry, speech pathology, paediatrics, psychology, public health and more) who share a vision to improve the health of South West Sydney.

Our Collaborators

BestSTART SWS Logo_AutismCRC
BestSTART SWS Logo_DepartmentOfEducation
BestSTART SWS Logo_FairfieldCityCouncil
BestSTART SWS Logo_Karitane
BestSTART SWS Logo_GeorgeInstitute
BestSTART SWS Logo_Macquarie
BestSTART SWS Logo_LiverpoolCityCouncil
BestSTART SWS Logo_TharawalAboriginalCorporation