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Health Equity Research and Development Unit Research

The Health Equity Research and Development Unit (HERDU) is a District Service in partnership with the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity (CPHCE) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney.

HERDU work in partnership with health services, organisations and communities to identify and reduce existing inequities in health and to prevent inequities in health from arising in the future. We collaborate with staff, consumers and communities to conduct high quality research, develop skills and capacity, and support local health service policies and plans to improve health equity. 

HERDU supports Sydney Local Health District and helps to facilitate its commitment to developing a local health system that is committed to equitable access to quality health services for the community, as well as creating opportunities and environments that improve health.

Sydney Local Health District's vision is to achieve excellence in health and health care for all. The HERDU partnership aligns with the District's strategic priorities to maximise the benefits derived from integrating systems to deliver truly integrated care.

HERDU conducts research across four strategic directions:

  • Re-orienting local health services, policies and plans towards improving health equity.
  • Working with government, non-government, private and community organisations to identify and address the social determinants of health inequity.
  • Conducting high-quality research to describe heath inequities, translate evidence into practice, and evaluate the impact of interventions, policies and programs on health equity.
  • Building capacity in SLHD staff, partner organisations and communities to recognise and act on health inequities.

Our Research Team

Associate Professor Fiona Haigh Director
Associate Professor Marilyn Wise  Senior Academic Advisor
Dr Christopher Standen Research Fellow
Dr Esther Alloun Research Associate

Selected Grants

Amount awarded Grant and project details
$1,200,000 NSW Health, 2022-2026
Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity Prevention Research Support Program.
Investigators: Sitas F, de Leeuw E, Barr ML, Haigh FA, Spooner CJ, Harris PJ, Harris, MF.
$1,004,341 NHMRC, 2021-2026
Partnership Projects: Community Health workers Extending Care in the Community.
Investigators: Harris MF; Aslani P, Levesque J, Barr ML, Sharma A, Harris-Roxas BF, Wright M, Osborne, R.
$306,155 University of Sydney / NHMRC Centres of Research Excellence Shared Grant, 2021-2026
A Centre of Research Excellence for Integrated Community Care of People with Complex Multi-morbidities
Investigators: Haigh FA, Eastwood J, Hiscock H, Goldfeld S, Gillespie J, Haber PS, Katz I, Page A, Huckel-Schneider C, Cunich M, Shaw M. 
$298,327 The Australia and New Zealand School Of Government Limited, 2022-2024
Would adopting more co-governance arrangements with communities build public trust?
Investigators: Li B, Raven M, Katz I, Haigh F, Bates S.
$29,500 Sydney Local Health District, 2023-2024
Evaluation of the Virtual Health Hub for Populations who Experience Homelessness.
Investigators: O’Callaghan C, Barr M, Haigh F.
$20,000 NSW Department of Communities and Justice, 2022 - ongoing
Review of the Waterloo Human Services Action Plan.
Investigators: Barr M, O'Callaghan, Willianson M, Haigh F.
$2500 Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, 2023-2024
Scoping review of interventions to improve the health focus of urban/transport planning education.
Investigator: Standen C.

Our Publications


Blignault I, Saab H, Woodland L, O'Callaghan C. Cultivating mindfulness: Evaluation of a community-based mindfulness program for Arabic-speaking women in Australia. Current Psychology. 2023 Apr;42(10):8232-43.
Haigh F, Alloun E, Standen C, Olliek M, Page J, Wise M. An equity-focused health impact assessment of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sydney Local Health District. Supplementary Material. Sydney, SLHD and UNSW; 2023.
Haigh F, Alloun E, Standen C, Olliek M, Page J, Wise M. An equity-focused health impact assessment of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sydney Local Health District. Technical Report. Sydney, SLHD and UNSW; 2023.
Haigh F, Alloun E, Standen C, Olliek M, Wise M. An equity-focused health impact assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated response. Population Medicine. 2023 Apr 26;5(Supplement). 
Haigh F, Crimeen A, Green L, Moeller H, Conaty SJ, Prior JH, Harris-Roxas B. Developing a climate change inequality health impact assessment for health services. Public Health Res Pract. 2023 Dec 6;33(4):3342336. doi: 10.17061/phrp3342336.
Haigh F, Douglas M, Mekel O, Green L, Hirono K. The future of health impact assessment- setting the Research Agenda. Population Medicine.5(Supplement); 2023.
Jaques K, Haigh F, Zapart S, Beer M, Peisley G, Calalang C, Thornell M, Conaty S, Harris P. Inter-sectoral policy partnerships: a case study of South Western Sydney's Health and Housing Partnership. International Journal of Housing Policy. 2023 Apr 3;23(2):381-402.
Lynch H, Holdroyd I, Black D, Cave B, Harris-Roxas B, Haigh F, et al. Sick Britain: A call for mandatory Health Impact Assessments across government with the support of a dedicated 'Health in All Policies' support unit (Evidence Brief). London: Queen Mary University of London for The Health Foundation; 2023.
Mengesha Z, Weber D, Smith M, Harris P, Haigh F. 'Fragmented care': Asylum seekers' experience of accessing health care in NSW. Health Promot Int. 2023 Oct 1;38(5):daad123. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daad123.
O'Callaghan C, Kearns R, Woodland L, Dharmagesan G, Harris-Roxas B. Extended caregiving arrangements in families from Chinese backgrounds: A qualitative research study from Sydney, Australia. Children and Youth Services Review. 2023 Feb 1;145:106795.
Standen CM, McIntyre E, Easthope H, Green J, Haigh F. Assessing tenant health amid social housing redevelopment: lessons from a pilot project. Public Health Res Pract. 2023 Dec 6;33(4):3342337. doi: 10.17061/phrp3342337.
Wanjau MN, Dalugoda Y, Oberai M, Möller H, Standen C, Haigh F, Milat A, Lucas P, Veerman JL. Does active transport displace other physical activity? A systematic review of the evidence. Journal of Transport & Health. 2023 Jul 1;31:101631. 
Wanjau MN, Möller H, Haigh F, Milat A, Hayek R, Lucas P, Veerman JL. Physical Activity and Depression and Anxiety Disorders: A Systematic Review of Reviews and Assessment of Causality. AJPM Focus. 2023 Feb 4;2(2):100074. doi: 10.1016/j.focus.2023.100074.
Wanjau MN, Möller H, Haigh F, Milat A, Hayek R, Lucas P, Veerman JL. The Potential Impact of Physical Activity on the Burden of Osteoarthritis and Low Back Pain in Australia: A Systematic Review of Reviews and Life Table Analysis. J Phys Act Health. 2023 Jun 2;20(8):690-701. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2022-0541.
Yashadhana A, Alloun E, Serova N, de Leeuw E, Mengesha Z. Place-making and its impact on health and wellbeing among recently resettled refugees in high income contexts: A scoping review. Health Place. 2023 May;81:103003. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2023.103003. Epub 2023 Mar 24.