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Physical activity and research combine in Sydney Uni partnership

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Physical activity and research combine in Sydney Uni partnership

Dr Lindsey Reece has always been passionate about health. “I am a public health ‘pracademic’ who has always been committed to getting more people more active,” she says. Originally from the United Kingdom, she managed nationwide strategies to help get more people more physically active and has since joined the University research community as the Director of SPRINTER, a strategic partnership with the NSW Office of Sport to grow our understanding of what sport really means to our local communities and how it can help promote positive health and wellbeing.

As part of her research, she is working with the University’s Charles Perkins Centre (CPC), a multidisciplinary research centre committed to improving global health, to support the University’s sponsorship of the inaugural NAB RunWest.

“NAB RunWest aligns with our work to build evidence of effective ways to get people moving. My SPRINTER team has been working closely with Athletics Australia and Athletics NSW to ensure we understand more about the people who choose to participate in sport and events like NAB RunWest, and explore how participation influences health and wellbeing in the longer term,” says Dr Reece.

As Western Sydney’s first major running event, NAB RunWest poses an opportunity for the University to build upon its existing research, education and outreach activity with local communities.

Professor Chris Peck, Director of the University’s Westmead Initiative explains: “RunWest has been touted as ‘western Sydney’s City2Surf’. But it’s more than this; it’s a major and unique community event that promotes participation from families, community groups and those who may not consider themselves a runner. Our partnership promises to deliver our mission of advancing the health and well-being of the communities in which we serve.

The University of Sydney has had a presence in Western Sydney for over 80 years and at Westmead for 40 years since the establishment of Westmead Hospital. In 2019 the University has over 1600 students, 1000 staff and affiliates and a number of University faculties and institutes based across the Westmead Precinct.

Local University institutes like the Charles Perkins Centre (CPC) Westmead, part of the CPC Network, address lifestyle diseases impacting the communities of Western Sydney through collaboration with researchers and clinicians across the Westmead Precinct.

“Collaboration – working together effectively – is key to discovering and developing great ideas and translating our research findings into improvements to the health of our patients and populations.” said Professor Clara Chow, Academic Co-Director of the CPC Westmead.

At the CPC Westmead, experts from the University and the Westmead Precinct join forces on projects like research into digital solutions to prevent cardiovascular disease. By bringing together academics and medical professionals, the CPC Westmead can use new research findings to improve health care service to patients at Westmead and solve the major health issues affecting Western Sydney residents.

This embedded approach is key to the success of Dr Reece’s research partnership with NAB RunWest which will provide invaluable insights into major sporting events and their impact on public health.

Dr Reece’s research project is comprehensive but her advice for NAB RunWest participants and to everyone sitting at home is simple: “Moving more is one of the most important things you can do for your health!” she says. “Irrespective of your age, background and ability – being active can help you smile, feel better, improve your health, and connect you with people. So, stand up, enjoy the view, do something, and move more.”

Find out more about the University of Sydney’s activity in Westmead at http://sydney.edu.au/westmead

Staff, student, affiliate, alumni or friend of the University?

The University of Sydney’s Westmead Initiative is inviting all staff, students and alumni to get involved in RunWest and join the University wave at the start line of NAB RunWest. The University’s affiliates and partners at the Westmead Precinct are also invited to register as a participant in the University of Sydney wave. Enter NAB RunWest here and select University of Sydney as your team.

Professor Chris Peck, Director of the University’s Westmead Initiative with Professor Clara Chow, Academic Co-Director of the CPC Westmead