The Southgate Institute’s research activity focuses on what can be done about the underlying factors that determine the distribution of health and well-being outcomes. Our activity areas therefore cover social exclusion; the structure of suburban environments; economic, social and structural determinants of risky and unhealthy behaviours; and social, cultural and economic barriers to health and other related service use; and studies of social determinants and equity in health policy. Our research is intended to help inform initiatives and policy at local, regional, state and national levels to promote population health and reduce health inequities and their underlying causes.


Aboriginal Health and Social Determinants

The Southgate Institute strives to conduct respectful, participatory research in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services, programs and communities. We also ensure the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is consistently prioritised in any social determinants and health service research we conduct. The Aboriginal Health and Social Deteminants research group is led by Dr Toby Freeman and regularly partners with the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Well-being.


eHealth Access and Equity

This body of research investigates the role of digital information and communication technologies as mediators to accessing other social determinants of health, such as online education, online employment and online social connections, particularly for socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. Led by Dr Lareen Newman, it considers how Internet use can be increased across the population, particularly for those who have poorer health (who often also have lower resources for Internet use).


Ethics, Law and Equity

Ethics, Law & Equity is interdisciplinary in approach, covering political philosophy, medical ethics and law and linking into a number of different areas of research within the Institute. Led by Associate Professor David Hunter we are particularly interested in areas where political philosophy and careful consideration of organisational and structural issues can open up new approaches to the issue at hand.


Health and Equity for Families, Women and Children

Led by Dr Angela Lawless, the Southgate Institute investigates the social determinants of health for families, women and children, including their experiences of access to health and community services and their perspectives on appropriate improvement and engagement. Evaluation of programs and services also seeks to identify ways to increase equitable access and social inclusion. 

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Health Equity and Policy, HiAP & HIA

Health Equity and Policy, HiAP & HIA focuses on the scope and potential for public policies and programs to promote population health and health equity. Governments increasingly accept health promotion and reduction of disease through action on the determinants of health as a central and urgent goal of public policy. Led by Professor Fran Baum , this area of research is based on a collaborative research approach aiming to produce policy relevant research. 

Major project: Health in All Policies (HIAP)


Neighbourhoods, Housing and Health

Neighbourhoods, Housing and Health is interdisciplinary in approach, crossing boundaries that include urban planning, housing studies, sociology and public health. Led by Associate Professor Kathy Arthurson, our focus is on cities and neighbourhoods and investigating the pathways by which characteristics of particular areas are interrelated with achieving health equity, community resilience and social inclusion.


Primary Health Care and Community Services

Primary Health Care & Community Services aims to investigate the quality of primary health care, health promotion and population health initiatives and has a focus on equity in health access and outcomes, social determinants of health, primary prevention, and health services and policy. Led by Professor Fran Baum, this area of research is based on a participatory approach engaging policymakers, practitioners and primary health care clients within primary and community health services. 

Major project: Comprehensive primary health care in local communities (CPHC)


 Refugees, Housing and Health

The major aim of this project is to develop an evidence base for policy makers and service providers to form innovative responses concerning health and well-being and social inclusion amongst refugees and asylum seekers entering Australian society. Led by A/Prof Anna Ziersch and A/Prof Kathy Arthurson, this project will result in best-practice guides in relation to housing and the links to social inclusion, health and wellbeing.


Stigma and Discrimination

Stigma and discrimination can harm health and wellbeing and also effect opportunities for full social inclusion. Led by A/Prof Anna Ziersch, researchers at the Southgate Institute are undertaking research in this area, aiming to:

  • Advance understandings of how stigma and discrimination can impact on social inclusion and health and wellbeing
  • Identify mechanisms to address stigma and discrimination, and also to interrupt negative effects on social inclusion and health and wellbeing.
  • Explore which policies and practices are most effective in addressing discrimination and supporting social inclusion
  • Contribute to research training in the area of stigma, discrimination and health.


Work and Health

Work is an important social determinant of health. Led by Professor Fran Baum, researchers at the Southgate Institute have been investigating the links between work and health and wellbeing, focusing in particular on the ways that job loss, changing forms of work, and non-standard employment can affect social inclusion and health and wellbeing.


Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity

The aim of Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity is to advance understanding of how government policy can work more effectively to address the social determinants of health, so as to improve health and promote the fair distribution of health in society.

Our research focuses on a wide range of policy sectors that affect the social determinants of health including social securityhealth systems,tradeurban land-usedigital technologies and Indigenous health.


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