Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health

Project Details

The Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health (CRE-DH) aims to identify cost-effective policies that improve the health of people with disabilities in Australia.

While 15% of the world’s population have a disability, they have largely been ignored by public health research, practice and policy.

Research clearly shows that on traditional indicators of health, Australians with disabilities fare particularly badly in global terms – they have the lowest relative income and one of the lowest levels of labour force participation of all the OECD countries.

An Australian with a disability is more likely to be unemployed, live in inadequate and unaffordable housing, have not completed school, and live in financial stress. They may face discrimination in all aspects of their lives including their experience at school, with the health system, getting a job, and their family situation. All of these aspects contribute to their poorer health. Reducing these inequities would substantially improve the health of Australians with disability. Improving their health will also increase the overall health of the population, and significantly reduce health and welfare expenditure.

Solving the problem of disadvantage

Solving the problem of disadvantage and the consequent poor health of people with disabilities requires a robust knowledge base to inform policy reform. This is why the CRE-DH is important.

The Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health is a world first; it aims to gather the evidence needed to guide social and health policy reform for people with disabilities in Australia.

We bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers with stakeholders from the health and disability sectors, state and federal governments, and disability consumer representative groups – who are embedded in the research design and development.  In collaboration with people with disabilities, service providers, non-government organisations and other stakeholders, we will identify the key and emerging issues affecting Australians with disabilities. Based on these ongoing consultations we will document how these vary between people with and without disabilities over time, across different geographical areas and between subgroups of the population. Our team is characterised by diversity– from public health academics to disability advocates, health economists and policy analysts–all of whom are focused on reducing disadvantage for people with disabilities.

Our research

We will map the spatial distribution of social, economic and health inequities between people with and without disabilities; apply cutting-edge epidemiological methods to establish the main social determinants of health of people with disability; build the first ever cost-effectiveness model to estimate the health impacts and value for money of policy interventions for people with disabilities, and embed stakeholders in the research process so that they are involved in the co-production of knowledge.

Visit the CRE-DH website for more detailed information about the work programs and research priorities.


Prof. Anne Kavanagh, Univeristy of Melbourne

Prof. Gwynnyth Llewellyn, University of Sydney

Professor Eric Emerson, University of Sydney and Lancaster University

Associate Professor Dennis Petrie, Monash University

Associate Professor Helen Dickinson, UNSW Canberra

Associate Professor Hannah Badland, RMIT

Professor Peter Butterworth, University of Melbourne

Professor Stewart Einfeld, University of Sydney

Professor Roger Stancliffe, University of Sydney



National Health and Medical Research Council

School Research Themes

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Equity