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Reducing alcohol-related harm among vulnerable Victorians: the REACH project.

Description Risky alcohol damages the health and wellbeing of Victorians and affects communities through absenteeism, family violence, assaults, and motor vehicle collisions. Brief interventions in primary care can lead to meaningful reductions in alcohol consumption. There are clear guidelines on how to assess and advise people about their alcohol use, but few primary care practitioners do this routinely despite the effectiveness of brief interventions. Low-income groups are almost twice as likely to experience alcohol-related harm compared to high income groups. For this reason, the focus of this project will be on developing a clinical approach tailored for people from low-income groups. Our team brings expertise in improving primary care provision in other complex areas including obesity, mental healthcare and refugee health. We will bring our successful method to this high priority area of alcohol use with added expertise from addiction specialists, consumer leaders and implementation scientists. Collaborating with patients, practitioners and clinic managers we will co-design a new approach to increase the capacity of general practice to use brief interventions (BIs) for alcohol. To increase capacity, we need to improve screening rates plus enhance BI resources for use in general practice. We will seek feedback from low-income patients and practitioners working in low-income communities to develop screening tools for use in the waiting room, practitioner prompts within the consultation room, and clinical resources tailored to low-income patient needs. This process will be underpinned by evidence and informed by a comprehensive understanding of practitioner workflow and the needs of low-income patients. We will trial the approach in six community general practices in low-income areas to evaluate and refine the approach in readiness for wider dissemination. Our research will result in the increased uptake of brief interventions for alcohol by practitioners in community general practice in low-income communities. The opportunity An exciting opportunity for exists for an Honours student to be involved in the feasibility phase of this project where we will test an intervention in five general practice sites. The student will gain research skills including intervention design, data collection (quantitative and qualitative) and analysis. Students will also work closely with policy advisors, health service planners, clinicians and community members. We would welcome applications from students who are interested in learning about implementation processes and mixed methods evaluation of complex interventions in primary care. Our research environment As a research student in the Department of General Practice you will have access to supervision from international and national leaders in primary care research and education in a supportive and collaborative research environment. Research students are linked with a research group working within one of our areas of research excellence and able to draw upon expertise from across the department to support quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods research. You will have opportunity to develop primary care research skills and understanding of ethics through workshops and seminars while gaining exposure to a wide variety of primary care research methods and topics through attendance at a weekly Departmental academic seminar series. An active early career research group provides a structure for informal support and learning amongst peers. Visit our website ( to find out more about the opportunities and support for research students in General Practice.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
Vulnerable populations, low income groups, alcohol use, general practice, primary care, implementation, preventative health
School of Primary and Allied Health Care » General Practice
Available options 
Time commitment 
Physical location 
Notting Hill Campus
Grant Russell
Danielle Mazza
Chris Barton

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