Burnet Institute projects supporting community-based HIV testing and the use of social media to address binge drinking in young Australians are in the running for the 2016 VicHealth Awards.
This year VicHealth received a record number of nominations across a range of categories including encouraging healthy eating and physical activity, preventing harm from alcohol and tobacco, and improving mental wellbeing.
Australia’s first shop front rapid HIV testing service, PRONTO! – a Burnet collaboration with the Victorian Aids Council and Gay Men’s Health Centre – is a finalist in the Improving Health Equity category.
Dr Megan Lim’s Mobile Intervention for Drinking Among Young People (MIDY) study is one of five nominations in the category, Preventing harm from alcohol.
MIDY involves the use of personalised text messages to participants during a night out or drinking session aimed at stopping or slowing down their drinking and to avoid the harmful consequences of drinking.
“VicHealth have already acknowledged MIDY by funding the first stage,” Dr Lim, Burnet’s Head of Sexual Health and Young People Research, said.
“But it would be great to have some more support for the project and hopefully get people thinking about how these interventions can be effective.”
“MIDY is the most tailored and individualised mobile-based intervention that we’ve seen.
“There’s been a lot of mobile text-message interventions but they’re all fairly simple, so we’re trying to see if making it more complex can be even more effective.”
VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said the high quality of nominations reaffirms Victoria as a world-leader in health promotion.
“These groups are tackling some of Victoria’s biggest health promotion issues and making a huge difference to the lives of so many Victorians,” Ms Rechter said.
“We received an unprecedented number of nominations across 11 categories this year, from start-up projects to new programs offering innovative digital tools and resources.
“It’s inspiring to see so many organisations working with communities and using health promotion to improve the health and wellbeing of Victorians.”
The 2016 VicHealth Awards winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 1 December.