When a local health partnership joins a national alliance
“Independently we can achieve great things. But collectively we can do so much more across the country”.
These are the words of Wendy Keech, CEO of Health Translation SA, talking about Maridulu Budyari Gumal being part of the Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA).
Being part of a national alliance means Maridulu Budyari Gumal can extend its circle of influence beyond Sydney. The local partnership can use its networks within the alliance to bring positive change to the health of every person in Australia.
This is a significant step forward for healthcare in Australia. It means that healthcare reform can happen at an unprecedented scale and speed.
Who is AHRA?
AHRA is the largest and only national health research alliance in Australia that brings together researchers, clinicians, policy makers and academics to solve health services problems together.
The alliance includes seven Advanced Health Research and Translation Centres, and two Centres for Innovation and Regional Health.
Each centre is a network of hospitals, universities, primary care and community services. Within each network is a team of health, education and research leaders.
These entities have come together to bring rapid, system level change to healthcare in Australia. Together, they are working towards health equality for all Australians everywhere - even in the most remote corners of the country.
Why working together matters
Given the intricacies of the various disciplines within healthcare, it’s an ambitious undertaking to create genuine collaborations of any kind.
It’s even more ambitious to create the same level of collaboration, not only across disciplines, but across almost every hospital, university, primary care and community service in the country. Yet, this is exactly what AHRA intends to do.
The challenge is gaining buy-in to that vision from people at all levels of the multi-layered healthcare system.
However, the benefits of a sophisticated alliance far outweigh the barriers to making it work.
- Expand the reach of work
As a local partnership, Maridulu Budyari Gumal can hone in on a specific footprint and focus their efforts there. In doing so, they can become a key contributor to determining the benchmark for everything to do with health, wellbeing and education for the whole Sydney basin, which covers a population of more than 2 million people. From here, synergies can be identified within the alliance networks to amplify the work. Learning from what is achieved at a local level and fast-tracking healthcare innovations at a national level. “That’s really the opportunity that AHRA represents,” says Wendy.
From a population perspective, consumers will be able to access high value healthcare faster than ever before.
- Leverage each other’s success
Perhaps the biggest advantage to the alliance is the opportunity it provides to build on the knowledge of others. Being part of a network allows each entity to share in the other’s success – as individuals within the network and as part of the national collective.
As Wendy notes, “We all do what we do in our own backyard, but we learn and share and benefit from each other’s experience when we work collectively.”
This means the alliance can create a unified community of practice across the country. They can create a collective voice, which can be used to strengthen Australia’s fragmented health system.
- Work towards an ambitious goal
Both Maridulu Budyari Gumal and AHRA have individual ambitions to radically transform the healthcare industry. When these ambitions unite, they form an even bigger vision.
That vision, as Wendy says, “is a better world together than one where everyone works for themselves.”
Working together is powerful. It draws on the national intelligence of the brightest minds in health, research and academia to create one health system that benefits all Australians.
- Bring unrelated worlds together
The worlds of research, clinical practice, policy and health administration are disconnected. Working together as part of an alliance means bringing these worlds together. It means aligning them with what consumers and the community need, so that every project is grounded in the reality of what people want from healthcare.
- Do research that makes a difference
Research has the power to change lives. Too often, though, medical breakthroughs don’t move beyond the pages they were published in. Being part of a network of Advanced Health and Research Translation Centres changes the game.
It means important research can be funded, supported and elevated to new heights. For the first time, the medical research world can now co-design, test, translate and implement research at the point of need, anywhere in the country.
Using the resources, opportunities and expertise of the alliance’s networks, researchers can use the results of their work to really make a difference to people’s lives.
- Build relationships that matter
Relationships of any kind take work. Relationships across streams, disciplines, organisations, states, industries and politics take Herculean effort.
The strength of Maridulu Budyari Gumal’s relationships within the alliance relies on each side’s willingness to build meaningful connections. As Wendy says, “If each side understands the context of the relationship, and that it’s going to be complicated, then all can work towards a common goal.”
Chris Levi, Executive Director of Maridulu Budyari Gumal, sums it up best: “For me, it’s all about connectivity. To the communities we serve. To academia and healthcare, all aligned around the same mission.”