Member profile: Professor Anna Peeters

Professor Anna Peeters
Professor Anna Peeters, Director of the Institute for Health Transformation and Professor of Epidemiology and Equity in Public Health, Deakin University

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Professor Anna Peeters

Director of the Institute for Health Transformation, Deakin University
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Professor Anna Peeters, PhD, is Director of the Institute for Health Transformation and Professor of Epidemiology and Equity in Public Health at Deakin University. She is Principal Research Translation Investigator at Western Alliance, an NHMRC Investigator Grant fellow, Board Member for the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and Obesity Australia, and Past President of the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society. Anna is a member of the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research Advisory Board and the World Cancer Research Fund’s Policy Advisory Group. She is internationally recognised for her work building the evidence for effective and equitable policy and practice to improve health outcomes.

Anna has led large programs of research into population prevention and health services research, with a focus on research-policy-practice partnerships and translational outputs. She currently leads RE-FRESH, an NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence into Healthy Food Retail involving six universities nationally and internationally, and policy and practice collaborators including the YMCA, Western District Health Services, Obesity Policy Coalition and the Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation. The research partnerships within RE-FRESH have led to sustained changes in provision of healthier food and drink through small supermarkets, remote indigenous stores, hospitals and sports and recreation centres around Australia and New Zealand. In one example, Alfred Health, one of Victoria’s major metropolitan health services, has performed a number of trials with its food retail operators, leading to an estimated reduction in the number of sugary drinks purchased each year by around 36,500.

As highlighted in a Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology profile in 2013, Anna’s focus on bringing together different perspectives to identify effective and sustainable solutions, put her in good stead to be the inaugural director of Deakin University’s Institute for Health Transformation. With around 250 members integrating public health, health services and systems research, health economics and digital health, Anna’s focus is on assembling the right ingredients to support evidence-informed system reform. A recent example of this approach is the commencement of the “A Listening and Learning Healthcare System approach to improve outcomes for acute-care mental health consumers in the Barwon-Southwest Victoria Region”, a project led by Anna and supported by Barwon Health and Western Alliance to respond to the systemic failures highlighted by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Professor Peeters has been awarded the prestigious World Obesity Federation Andre Mayer Award for research excellence in obesity and a Churchill Award for innovative work in equity and population prevention.