The Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll is a quarterly, national survey of Australian households shedding new light on the big issues in contemporary child and adolescent health – as told by the Australian public.

The poll’s structure and focus combines the rigour of academic discovery with the timeliness and reach of online quantitative research, to deliver significant new knowledge about the health, wellbeing and lives of children and young people in contemporary Australia.

Uniquely, the poll consistently puts the voice of Australian families and communities at the heart of the conversation about child and adolescent health. It aims to inform national discourse, health priorities and policy formulation, and stimulate further research into the new and emerging health issues facing Australian children and teenagers, and their communities, today.

The poll is funded through The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. The project protocol has been approved by The Royal Children’s Hospital Human Research Ethics Committee.

The Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll was formerly known as the Australian Child Health Poll.

About the team

The RCH National Child Health Poll is directed by Dr Anthea Rhodes, paediatrician at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne.

The project team includes senior research fellow and paediatrician Professor Harriet Hiscock, US paediatrician and health services research specialist, Professor Gary L Freed, and paediatric endocrinologist and senior research fellow Associate Professor Matt Sabin.

 

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Dr Anthea Rhodes

Director

Dr Anthea Rhodes is a paediatrician and medical educator. She has clinical interests in the health needs of the vulnerable child, with expertise in child development and behaviour. Dr Rhodes undertook her paediatric training at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, where she has worked since 2004. She has postgraduate training in medical education and is a lecturer and co-ordinator for the Child and Adolescent Health component of the Doctor of Medicine at the University of Melbourne. Dr Rhodes has been involved in a number of research projects across the fields of health service delivery, immigrant health practice and health professional education. She has been the Director of the RCH National Child Health Poll since its first release in December 2015.

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Prof Harriet Hiscock

Project Mentor

Professor Harriet Hiscock is a consultant paediatrician and senior research fellow. She is director of the Health Services Research Unit at The Royal Children’s Hospital and Co-Group Leader of the Community Health Services Research group at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. She leads the Australian Paediatric Research Network. Her research interests include developing and testing interventions for common, high impact health problems including infant sleep and colic, child mental health and sleep. Achievements in research translation include the roll out of her Infant Sleep program to 1,200 Victorian maternal and child health nurses, for which she was awarded the 2010 Early Years Minister’s Award for Partnerships with Families and Communities.

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Alison Errey

Executive Director

For over more than 25 years Alison has led communications, corporate affairs and business transformation programs for some of the country’s largest and most complex organisations. She led the creation of a $20m community foundation and negotiated a national-first partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission to champion workforce reform for mature Australians. With a background in news journalism, Alison has had an extensive career in media and issues management in the NSW public sector across the police, education and health portfolios. Alison has complemented her career with a number of Board appointments in children’s welfare and sports administration. Alison was appointed to the role of Executive Director Communications at the RCH in April 2017.


Prof Gary L Freed

Project Mentor

Gary L. Freed MD, MPH is the Director of the Health Systems and Workforce Unit, Professor of Population Health at the University of Melbourne and Visiting Scholar in Health Care Policy at The Royal Children’s Hospital. He currently divides his time between Melbourne and Ann Arbor, Michigan where he is the Murphy Professor of Paediatrics in the School of Medicine and Professor of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. For 15 years Prof Freed was Director of General Paediatrics and Director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit at the University of Michigan. He is a frequent consultant to state and federal agencies in the United States as well as the Institute of Medicine and the World Health Organization.

A/Prof Matt Sabin

Research Mentor

Associate Professor Matt Sabin is a consultant paediatric endocrinologist, who became the Director of Endocrinology and Diabetes at the RCH in 2015 and Chief of Medicine in 2016. Prior to this he trained in the UK and undertook a PhD in the area of childhood obesity and diabetes before moving to Australia in 2006. A/Prof Sabin is also an Honorary Principal Fellow of the University of Melbourne and a Senior Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. He established the RCH Weight Management Service which is the largest specialist service for obese children in Australasia, and is nationally and internationally recognised as an expert in the area. Matt has published over 80 research papers – many in leading international journals.

Rebecca McLean

Media Manager

Rebecca McLean is a former journalist who has worked in community and daily news across New Zealand. She’s worked in London in both journalism and communications, which took her across the Middle East, Europe, US, and Africa, before returning to NZ to take-up a communications role at Auckland City Hospital and Starship Children’s Hospital. She was part of the Incident Management Team during the Christchurch Earthquake and Rugby World Cup, two big events that significantly increased patient numbers to both hospitals.  Rebecca moved to Melbourne mid-2012 and has had senior media and communications roles at the Australian Drug Foundation and Vision Australia before commencing at The Royal Children’s Hospital in June. Rebecca is responsible for media strategy and outreach for the RCH National Child Health Poll.


Jonathan O’Hara

Data Analyst

Jonathan is the data analyst for the RCH National Child Health Poll and works within Deakin University’s Public Health Innovation unit, conducting health literacy research. He also teaches research methods and statistics. Jonathan was awarded a PhD in Social Psychology at Swinburne University of Technology for his research investigating how relationship partners find solutions to their relationship problems. He has also completed a Bachelor of Science (Psychology/Psychophysiology) and previously worked in the information technology sector.

Mary-Anne Measey

Research Officer

Mary-Anne has worked in the field of epidemiology in a variety of settings including state health departments and academia. She has been involved in developing, enhancing and evaluating public health information to inform health policy and practice at state and national level. Her research interests include the prevention of ill-health, child health and perinatal epidemiology, physical activity and other chronic disease risk factors and mental health. She has a PhD in perinatal epidemiology, a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor of Veterinary Science both from the University of Sydney.

Courtney Watts

Communications Advisor

Courtney completed a Master of Communication at RMIT in 2013 before briefly working in health promotion. A move to Sydney saw her work as a communications consultant across a range of lifestyle, health and sports brands before returning to Melbourne in 2015 to work as Communications Advisor at The Royal Children’s Hospital. Courtney has been working on the poll since its first release in December 2015 and is responsible for media and creative support and managing the poll website.


Survey methods

The RCH National Child Health Poll is a quarterly survey of a nationally representative sample of 2000 Australian households, with and without children. The surveys are conducted by the Online Research Unit (ORU) using rigorous established web-based survey technology. Each sample is subsequently weighted to reflect the latest Australian population figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics census data. Each quarter a different topic or theme is the focus of the poll. The process for selecting poll topics is responsive to and informed by the national political and social agenda. For more detailed information, read about the poll survey methods.