Strengthening outcomes for children from priority populations

Strengthening outcomes for children from priority populations

Professor Karen Zwi and Professor Raghu Lingam

Over $2 million in funding has been awarded by Luminesce Alliance to support the Providing Enhanced Access to Child Health Services Evaluation (PEACH-E) project.

As an initiative of our Network, PEACH aims to address equity to health services for children and young people from priority populations through early identification and supported and enhanced care.

Led by Conjoint Professor Karen Zwi, paediatrician, head of Community Child Health and Clinical Program Director for Priority Populations at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick (SCH) and Professor with the School of Women's & Children's Health at UNSW, Professor Raghu Lingam, Consultant Community Paediatrician at our Network and Professor in Paediatric Population Health at UNSW, PEACH-E will assess the impact, implementation and cost-effectiveness of our Network’s Providing Enhanced Access to Health Services (PEACH) project, initially for the 41,000 priority population children who receive services through our Network each year.

Significantly, it will also co-design a framework to expand the project from a Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) service to one that can be rolled out across NSW and to other major children’s hospitals Australia-wide.

PEACH-E will evaluate the effectiveness of PEACH by comparing health outcomes for children from priority populations receiving care from SCHN with those from non-priority populations, as well as comparing outcomes and costs for children who receive care through PEACH with those of national controls for improving health access and outcomes among priority populations.

“Inequity means Aboriginal children are twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday than their non-Aboriginal peers, children with disabilities are twice as likely to have more than four hospital admissions than their non-disabled peers, children living in Out of Home Care are two to three times more likely to die during childhood, and children from refugee and CALD backgrounds have eight times higher chronic disease rates than their peers”.

“PEACH-E aims to deliver a collection of innovative interventions that will decrease health inequity, by delivering personalised medicine designed to meet the diverse needs of children from priority populations,” Professor Zwi said.

“Taking personalised medicine to scale, this project aims to reduce health inequalities and strengthen outcomes for children and young people from priority populations. We hope that PEACH-E will play a part in rewriting the narrative and transforming health outcomes for these children and young people, with changes to how care is delivered within 12 months”.

Central to the project are co-design workshops with key stakeholders and partners, including families, clinicians and non-clinicians from our Network, policymakers from the NSW Ministry of Health, Children’s Healthcare Australasia (CHA) and national partners.

Two NSW state and five national (Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin) workshops will consider how PEACH could be adapted effectively and implemented into children’s hospitals across Australia, working with partners who service these communities directly, and those with lived experience.

“Our partners carry the reach and influence to ensure rapid implementation of research findings into clinical practice, which will be key to the expansion of the program and translation of successful components of PEACH into NSW Health policy and national child health clinical practice,” Professor Zwi said.

By working together with consumers, staff and leading healthcare partners, PEACH-E could result in widespread adoption of PEACH in children’s hospitals nationally and sustainable improvements to equity in health outcomes for children from priority populations across Australia.

PEACH-E will act as an exemplar project for the Luminesce Alliance Personalised Medicine Implementation and Economic Evaluation Platform by supporting personalisation of care for children from five priority groups. 

Luminesce Alliance, is a not-for-profit joint venture between the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, the Children’s Medical Research Institute, the Children’s Cancer Institute, the University of Sydney, and the University of New South Wales Sydney. It has been established with the support of the NSW Government to coordinate and integrate paediatric research.