New research projects to support outreach programs in Australia and overseas

Australian Catholic University

Australian Catholic University (ACU) experts will undertake new research through the Stakeholder Engaged Scholarship Unit (SESU) to support the health needs of newborns and growing children in Australia and Papua, Indonesia.

The SESU has announced funding for two new research projects to support two organisations who, through a network of volunteers, seek to improve the health of young children.

Associate Professor Natasha Franklin and Dr Isabelle Lys from ACU’s Faculty of Health Sciences will lead the Papuan Nutrition Project, in partnership with the Black Pearl Network, a volunteer-based organisation that offers English language education for adults and children in West Papua, Indonesia. This project aims to deliver community-informed, evidence-based strategies to remove the barriers to healthy eating practices.

Also from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Drs Judith Hough and Anna Cooper (Pritchard) will lead an evaluation of Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Australia’s leading charity supporting families of premature or sick babies.

SESU Advisory Group chair Br David Hall fms said the two new research projects aligned with ACU’s commitment to the dignity of the human person at all stages of life.

“ACU is pleased to support the work of the Black Pearl Network and Life’s Little Treasures Foundation in ensuring the youngest members of our local and international communities, and their families, receive the highest quality of support and resources,” Br Hall said.

“Our researchers in Health Sciences are world-class and are devoted to using their expertise and knowledge in supporting children and families to thrive through these SESU research projects.”

In addition to the two new health projects, the SESU will also support ACU historian Associate Professor Darius von Guttner and the Order of Malta Association in Australia in a pilot online study course exploring the history, mission, and spiritual practices of the historic lay religious order.

Since 2020 the SESU has paired ACU experts and academics with organisations who support communities experiencing disadvantage or marginalisation.

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