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2.  “Communicate to vaccinate”: the development of a taxonomy of communication interventions to improve routine childhood vaccination 
Background
Vaccination is a cost-effective public health measure and is central to the Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality. However, childhood vaccination coverage remains sub-optimal in many settings. While communication is a key feature of vaccination programmes, we are not aware of any comprehensive approach to organising the broad range of communication interventions that can be delivered to parents and communities to improve vaccination coverage. Developing a classification system (taxonomy) organised into conceptually similar categories will aid in: understanding the relationships between different types of communication interventions; facilitating conceptual mapping of these interventions; clarifying the key purposes and features of interventions to aid implementation and evaluation; and identifying areas where evidence is strong and where there are gaps. This paper reports on the development of the ‘Communicate to vaccinate’ taxonomy.
Methods
The taxonomy was developed in two stages. Stage 1 included: 1) forming an advisory group; 2) searching for descriptions of interventions in trials (CENTRAL database) and general health literature (Medline); 3) developing a sampling strategy; 4) screening the search results; 5) developing a data extraction form; and 6) extracting intervention data. Stage 2 included: 1) grouping the interventions according to purpose; 2) holding deliberative forums in English and French with key vaccination stakeholders to gather feedback; 3) conducting a targeted search of grey literature to supplement the taxonomy; 4) finalising the taxonomy based on the input provided.
Results
The taxonomy includes seven main categories of communication interventions: inform or educate, remind or recall, teach skills, provide support, facilitate decision making, enable communication and enhance community ownership. These categories are broken down into 43 intervention types across three target groups: parents or soon-to-be-parents; communities, community members or volunteers; and health care providers.
Conclusions
Our taxonomy illuminates and organises this field and identifies the range of available communication interventions to increase routine childhood vaccination uptake. We have utilised a variety of data sources, capturing information from rigorous evaluations such as randomised trials as well as experiences and knowledge of practitioners and vaccination stakeholders. The taxonomy reflects current public health practice and can guide the future development of vaccination programmes.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-13-23
PMCID: PMC3655915  PMID: 23663327
Childhood; Vaccination; Immunisation; Communication; Low- and middle-income country; Intervention; Consumer; Taxonomy; Parents
3.  Networking between community health programs: a case study outlining the effectiveness, barriers and enablers 
Background
In India, since the 1990s, there has been a burgeoning of NGOs involved in providing primary health care. This has resulted in a complex NGO-Government interface which is difficult for lone NGOs to navigate. The Uttarakhand Cluster, India, links such small community health programs together to build NGO capacity, increase visibility and better link to the government schemes and the formal healthcare system. This research, undertaken between 1998 and 2011, aims to examine barriers and facilitators to such linking, or clustering, and the effectiveness of this clustering approach.
Methods
Interviews, indicator surveys and participant observation were used to document the process and explore the enablers, the barriers and the effectiveness of networks improving community health.
Results
The analysis revealed that when activating, framing, mobilising and synthesizing the Uttarakhand Cluster, key brokers and network players were important in bridging between organisations. The ties (or relationships) that held the cluster together included homophily around common faith, common friendships and geographical location and common mission. Self interest whereby members sought funds, visibility, credibility, increased capacity and access to trainings was also a commonly identified motivating factor for networking. Barriers to network synthesizing included lack of funding, poor communication, limited time and lack of human resources. Risk aversion and mistrust remained significant barriers to overcome for such a network.
Conclusions
In conclusion, specific enabling factors allowed the clustering approach to be effective at increasing access to resources, creating collaborative opportunities and increasing visibility, credibility and confidence of the cluster members. These findings add to knowledge regarding social network formation and collaboration, and such knowledge will assist in the conceptualisation, formation and success of potential health networks in India and other developing world countries.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-206
PMCID: PMC3424140  PMID: 22812627
4.  'Communicate to vaccinate' (COMMVAC). building evidence for improving communication about childhood vaccinations in low- and middle-income countries: protocol for a programme of research 
Background
Effective provider-parent communication can improve childhood vaccination uptake and strengthen immunisation services in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Building capacity to improve communication strategies has been neglected. Rigorous research exists but is not readily found or applicable to LMICs, making it difficult for policy makers to use it to inform vaccination policies and practice.
The aim of this project is to build research knowledge and capacity to use evidence-based strategies for improving communication about childhood vaccinations with parents and communities in LMICs.
Methods and design
This project is a mixed methods study with six sub-studies. In sub-study one, we will develop a systematic map of provider-parent communication interventions for childhood vaccinations by screening and extracting data from relevant literature. This map will inform sub-study two, in which we will develop a taxonomy of interventions to improve provider-parent communication around childhood vaccination. In sub-study three, the taxonomy will be populated with trial citations to create an evidence map, which will also identify how evidence is linked to communication barriers regarding vaccination.
In the project's fourth sub-study, we will present the interventions map, taxonomy, and evidence map to international stakeholders to identify high-priority topics for systematic reviews of interventions to improve parent-provider communication for childhood vaccination. We will produce systematic reviews of the effects of high-priority interventions in the fifth sub-study. In the sixth and final sub-study of the project, evidence from the systematic reviews will be translated into accessible formats and messages for dissemination to LMICs.
Discussion
This project combines evidence mapping, conceptual and taxonomy development, priority setting, systematic reviews, and knowledge transfer. It will build and share concepts, terms, evidence, and resources to aid the development of communication strategies for effective vaccination programmes in LMICs.
doi:10.1186/1748-5908-6-125
PMCID: PMC3259054  PMID: 22132930
5.  Paving Pathways: shaping the Public Health workforce through tertiary education 
Public health educational pathways in Australia have traditionally been the province of Universities, with the Master of Public Health (MPH) recognised as the flagship professional entry program. Public health education also occurs within the fellowship training of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, but within Australia this remains confined to medical graduates. In recent years, however, we have seen a proliferation of undergraduate degrees as well as an increasing public health presence in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.
Following the 2007 Australian Federal election, the new Labour government brought with it a refreshing commitment to a more inclusive and strategic style of government. An important example of this was the 2020 visioning process that identified key issues of public health concern, including an acknowledgment that it was unacceptable to allocate less than 2% of the health budget towards disease prevention. This led to the recommendation for the establishment of a national preventive health agency (Australia: the healthiest country by 2020 National Preventative Health Strategy, Prepared by the Preventative Health Taskforce 2009).
The focus on disease prevention places a spotlight on the workforce that will be required to deliver the new investment in health prevention, and also on the role of public health education in developing and upskilling the workforce. It is therefore timely to reflect on trends, challenges and opportunities from a tertiary sector perspective. Is it more desirable to focus education efforts on selected lead issues such as the "obesity epidemic", climate change, Indigenous health and so on, or on the underlying theory and skills that build a flexible workforce capable of responding to a range of health challenges? Or should we aspire to both?
This paper presents some of the key discussion points from 2008 - 2009 of the Public Health Educational Pathways workshops and working group of the Australian Network of Public Health Institutions. We highlight some of the competing tensions in public health tertiary education, their impact on public health training programs, and the educational pathways that are needed to grow, shape and prepare the public health workforce for future challenges.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-7-2
PMCID: PMC2818649  PMID: 20044939
6.  Hallux valgus and hallux rigidus: a comparison of impact on health-related quality of life in patients presenting to foot surgeons in Australia 
Background
Hallux valgus and hallux rigidus are common foot conditions that lead to a deterioration in health status. Patients with significant pain or deformity from these conditions frequently resort to surgery. In this project, the foot health status of patients with hallux valgus and hallux rigidus presenting to foot surgeons in Australia was compared.
Methods
Foot health status was measured in 120 participants using the Foot Health Status Questionnaire (FHSQ), a validated 0 – 100 point health status instrument. All participants had presented for surgical advice regarding hallux valgus/rigidus. The mean age of participants was 48.0 years (SD ± 14.3, range 19 – 79).
Results
In the sample, 68% of participants were diagnosed with hallux valgus and 32% with hallux rigidus. Participants with hallux rigidus had greater levels of pain and functional limitation compared with hallux valgus. The mean difference for pain was 13.8 points (95% CI 4.6 to 22.9) and the mean difference for function was 15.0 points (95% CI 5.3 to 24.7). Both conditions result in similarly negative levels of impact on shoe fit and overall foot health.
Conclusion
This study found measurable differences in foot health status between hallux valgus and hallux rigidus in participants presenting for surgical consultation. While both appear to have a negative impact on health status, hallux rigidus has a more significant impact.
doi:10.1186/1757-1146-1-14
PMCID: PMC2615430  PMID: 19077213
7.  Australian public health policy in 2003 – 2004 
In Australia, compared with other developed countries the many and varied programs which comprise public health have continued to be funded poorly and unsystematically, particularly given the amount of publicly voiced political support.
In 2003, the major public health policy developments in communicable disease control were in the fields of SARS, and vaccine funding, whilst the TGA was focused on the Pan Pharmaceutical crisis. Programs directed to health maintenance and healthy ageing were approved. The tertiary education sector was involved in the development of programs for training the public health workforce and new professional qualifications and competencies. The Abelson Report received support from overseas experts, providing a potential platform for calls to improve national funding for future Australian preventive programs; however, inconsistencies continued across all jurisdictions in their approaches to tackling national health priorities. Despite 2004 being an election year, public health policy was not visible, with the bulk of the public health funding available in the 2004/05 federal budget allocated to managing such emerging risks as avian flu. We conclude by suggesting several implications for the future.
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-2-7
PMCID: PMC1087471  PMID: 15811192

Results 1-7 (7)