Special Populations and Clinical Settings

Vulnerable Communities

While health outcomes in Australia are generally better than at any time in history, these gains have not been shared equally across the entire population. Some groups are still experiencing significantly greater rates of disease and poorer access to quality healthcare. UNSW has a major strength in addressing the health of these vulnerable and marginalised communities.

Our research concerns a number of communities including migrant and refugee groups, people with mental illness, offenders, people with disabilities, those from lower socio-economic backgrounds, LGBTI communities, homeless people, and people who are geographically and socially isolated.

This research includes international responses to HIV through the Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society, illicit drug use through the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, and a large research program in Asia, Africa and the Pacific in communicable and non-communicable diseases by the School of Public Health and Community Medicine (SPHCM). SPHCM is a member of the WHO Global Outbreak and Response network. The Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity provides leadership in training, research and evaluation, with particular emphasis on reducing inequities.

We are researching why health inequities occur, focusing on the social determinants of health in disadvantaged groups. We are studying the situational and structural factors that affect the provision of healthcare for vulnerable communities, as well as novel interventions developed specifically for members of these groups.