As Director of Deakin’s Institute for Health Transformation (IHT), Alfred Deakin Professor Anna Peeters’ goal is to make better health possible for everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances.
And even after three years of COVID-19 and amid a global obesity pandemic, she believes it’s possible to make sure everyone has the chance to live a healthy life.
According to Prof. Peeters, the answer may lie in drawing on many different perspectives to find a solution to the woes of our health and food systems.
“I love working with others to come up with new approaches to solving thorny problems,” Prof. Peeters said.
“Our current systems, from the food system through to the aged care system and the mental health system, are not working effectively, efficiently, or equitably.
“They have grown up over the past century in a piecemeal fashion, aiming to deliver specific outcomes, with little understanding of how they no longer as a whole benefit population health and wellbeing.
“Redesigning these systems needs a lot of different perspectives working together to identify, test, adapt and track improvements.”
Prof. Peeters has built a formidable national and international network of collaborators throughout her career. She leads RE-FRESH, a Federal government-funded Centre of Research Excellence in Food Retail Environments for Health and the world’s first international centre for healthy food retail research and practice, and was instrumental in launching IHT’s Nourish Network, a multi-sector collective working to develop innovative food retail practices for better social and environmental outcomes.
In her role as Principal Research Translation Investigator at Western Alliance, she leads the $9m Medical Research Future Fund ‘DELIVER’ project, aiming to improve health outcomes for older Australians in regional, rural and remote areas.
She is also co-chair of the project committee in charge of reviewing and updating Australia’s clinical practice guidelines for managing overweight and obesity.
Prof. Peeters’ said her research had brought together experts from fields as diverse as dietetics and artificial intelligence to focus on the common goals of health and wellbeing for all.
“Through doing this, we have identified new ways of sustainably providing healthier food options, delivering better care to Australians in regional areas, and putting citizens at the centre of our decision making.
“Taking a collaborative approach to our most complex health challenges will deliver real and lasting impact for all Australians.”