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Case study: Australian Centre for Health Law Research

Business challenge

As the world changes, so too do our perceptions, attitudes and legal frameworks around health law, policy, ethics and regulation.

The Australian Centre for Health Law Research (ACHLR) conducts research that improves health outcomes for patients and their families, as well as benefiting health professionals and systems.

Leadership team

Associate Professor Tina Cockburn
Position
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Law
Associate Professor Fiona McDonald
Position
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Law

Our approach

Transdisciplinary projects

Our legal research experts bring their knowledge and deep understanding of the law to work alongside our public health leaders.

Their expertise helps us to understand and interpret a changing public health landscape, including health law, policy, technological advances, systems thinking and population health.

Research students

Our research students are our agents of change, and the centre welcomes high-achieving early career researchers and research students into their community.

Research students bring contemporary and creative approaches to new and emerging fields of health law research, contributing to our evolving perspective and growing knowledge base.

Areas of focus

End-of-life law

As baby boomers age and advances in technology allow us to prolong life, legal and ethical issues in death, dying and decision-making become increasingly important. Researchers at ACHLR are exploring end-of-life issues like: withholding and withdrawing treatment; euthanasia; advance care planning; palliative care; and coronial systems.

Genomics

Genomic technologies offer the promise of revolutionising health care, but these new approaches to diagnosing and treating disease bring with them a host of ethical, legal, social and policy complexities. ACHLR researchers are collaborating with QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and The University of Queensland to examine issues associated with the collection, use and storage of genomic data, and how to justly allocate access to genomic medicine.

Governance and regulation

Effective governance and regulation of health care is critical to the delivery of quality health services and systems, and improving health outcomes. Our researchers are contributing to understanding of: negligence and patient safety; organisational ethics; work health and safety regulation; 3D printing, privacy and health data; and the regulation of emerging technologies.

Impacts and outcomes

Influencing law reform

The Queensland Law Reform Commission’s review of Queensland’s guardianship laws drew extensively on our research in formulating reform recommendations to address problems and inconsistencies in end-of-life law in Queensland.

We’ve also influenced law reform in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and at a federal level.

Find out more about our research in end-of-life law in Australia.

Setting the standard for health initiatives

Our researchers are conducting a systematic evaluation of how international health initiatives are designed and developed, and evaluating their efficacy in the short and long term.

By advancing our understanding of what makes a health initiative a political and economic success, we can improve the outcomes of future health programs and new initiatives.

Contact us

If you've got a challenge or problem that can benefit from our research expertise, contact us today.