Background and Context

CERSH demonstrates responsiveness to local concerns, respect for local knowledge and existing networks, an ability to provide meaningful support and build capacity, adaptability, and the expertise to profile/educate regarding advances in policy and practice, prevention, testing and treatment, and research with specific reference to impacts on rural communities.

CERSH’s research and evaluation agenda aims to create evidence which informs an integrated approach to sexual health policy, health promotion, and service and program delivery. CERSH’s approach draws from community-based participatory research principles. This means that CERSH actively and equitably engages those for who the research issue is of interest, or who are affected by the issue, in aspects of the research process. CERSH research and evaluation promotes co-learning with a focus on strengthening resources already present in the communities in which the work is undertaken. The findings and knowledge generated through CERSH is distributed in a variety of formats so as to be accessible and useful to a broad range of audiences

CERSH within the Department of Rural Health

CERSH is located within the Department of Rural Health (DRH) at the University of Melbourne. Whilst this strategic relationship provides mutual benefits to both parties, the success of CERSH has been significantly enhanced by the value added to CERSH through its location within DRH.

Importantly, CERSH benefits from:

  • the leadership provided by DRH and the University of Melbourne
  • the infrastructure provided by DRH to support the day to day activities of CERSH and its staff
  • exposure to DRHs existing partnerships, collaborations and linkages within regional Victoria particularly in workforce development, research and health care service provision and knowledge transfer (in particular rural knowledge)
  • an opportunity to work collaboratively to ensure the maximization of resources from both the Commonwealth (DRH) and State (CERSH) government funded programs.