Engaging with community is at the core of BestSTART-SWS, as we try to ensure that the needs of people within South West Sydney are connected to the paediatric research agenda. Our work with community involves consulting with children and young people, cultural groups, local government, and health services. This has included consulting with Liverpool Girls High School, Liverpool Boys High School, Ashcroft High School, NSW Refugee Services, Fairfield City Council, Liverpool City Council, SWSLHD, Liverpool Hospital School, and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. We believe that by integrating our different perspectives we will be better able to co-create solutions that effectively address health challenges facing children and young people in our community.
Liverpool Girls High School
The BestSTART-SWS team has worked closely with Liverpool Girls High School (LGHS) to co-create our research strategy. As a result of our collaboration we decided to highlight the importance of mental health to young people in South West Sydney by adding it as one of the core BestSTART-SWS themes. Consultation work with the students from LGHS has taken place at both the Ingham Institute and within schools, ensuring that students get the opportunity to experience how public health research is conducted in their district. Our fruitful collaboration has extended onto exciting research avenues, and we are working together to seek funding for research projects that address the students’ mental health concerns
Growing Healthy Kids (GHK) Clinic
The GHK clinic is a new weight-management service operating in South West Sydney. This service was going to be rolled-out like other services have in the past, but Faye Southcombe, the service manager, was interested in taking the clinic a step further. Faye reached out to the BestSTART-SWS team who worked with her to design an evidence-based service delivery model that operated like a randomised control trial. This design is able to evaluate the effectiveness of the service as compared to an active waitlist, while ensuring service delivery is fair and agile. What is more, Faye’s interest in the topic allowed her to pursue a PhD using the data generated by the service she manages. In this way, getting in touch with BestSTART-SWS allowed the GHK clinic to come up with an innovative model of generating evidence to assess its effectiveness, ensuring the service can adapt and respond to the data into the future.
Gna Ka Lun (GKL) Adolescent In-Patient Mental Health Unit
The psychology team at the GKL unit had been trying to publish a paper that tested a new cognitive-behavioural treatment they had adapted to suit their service. They reached out to BestSTART-SWS for help. Together, we worked out that it would be best to design a new pilot study with an improved control group (comparison group). BestSTART-SWS worked with the psychology team to create the new pilot, and together we applied for a grant to fund the pilot randomised control trial. This grant application was successful, and the clinical team has used the funding to hire a research assistant that is able to support the team in the delivery of the trial. By working with BestSTART-SWS the psychology team at the GKL unit was able to fund their trial and generate evidence for the treatment they had adapted.