The Web CIPHER Blog is a series of analysis and opinion pieces written by invited guests.

From policy evaluation, to the problems of prevention, to the social determinants of health, our guest posters will explore topical issues and share their views with the community.

If you would like to contribute to the Web CIPHER Blog please get in touch.

Don Nutbeam on finding value in evaluation

What’s in a word? Finding the value in evaluation

Different groups — frontline workers, auditors, the public — value different aspects of evaluation for different reasons. It’s important to keep these competing values in mind. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither … Continue reading

Julie Leask

No Jab No Play: vaccination rules should be fair to all children

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced he will urge the states and territories to institute ‘No Jab No Play’ in childcare policies. The government should be commended for its sustained interest in improving vaccination rates. Vaccination programs are a pillar of public health. In Australia, measles vaccination alone has brought a … Continue reading

Sax Institute Award Winners 2016.

The power of big data for vaccine safety surveillance

The development of AusVaxSafety has in a sense been an organic process, but it has its genesis in an unexpected spate of adverse events ‒ fever and febrile convulsions ‒ among children who received one brand of flu vaccine (Fluvax and Fluvax Junior) in 2010. Even though just one brand … Continue reading

Hospitals feel the heat too from extreme weather and its health impacts

In this article for The Conversation, researchers from UNSW Australia write about the ability of our hospitals and health infrastructure to deal with extreme weather. As southeastern Australia swelters through another heatwave, how well equipped are our hospitals to cope with severe weather events? Hospitals lie at the heart of our … Continue reading

The importance of public sector policy and program evaluation

Earlier this month, the New South Wales auditor general published a report on the program evaluation initiative by the NSW government that was designed to improve and expand public service delivery evaluation. The auditor general Margaret Crawford certainly didn’t pull any punches, with The Mandarin branding it a “stinging report”. … Continue reading

The best (and worst) ways to beat mosquito bites

In this article from The Conversation, Dr Cameron Webb from the University of Sydney outlines the evidence for preventing mosquito bites. First one, then another. Bite! Slap! Bite! Before you know it, mosquitoes are descending from the skies to disrupt your backyard summer soiree. How can such a tiny, fragile insect … Continue reading


‘Having the ability to link data is just the first step: let’s start linking research to data’

In a post first published on health website Croakey Professor Philip Clarke, Dr Kim Dalziel, Dr Dennis Petrie and Michelle Tew write: Over the past few weeks there has been considerable public debate about the collection of personal information in the Census to permit linking this with other administrative information. While there … Continue reading


Exploring the nexus of patient safety and patient-centredness

A consumer representative recently stated to a crowded room of healthcare professionals: “I am an expert on my body, all you have to do is ask me”. The statement highlights a renewed attention to the role that patients play in their care. It is a call to combine the modern … Continue reading

Too much salt and sugar and not enough exercise – why Australians’ health is lagging

In this article from The Conversation, Rebecca Lindberg, Maximilian de Courten and Rosemary Calder from Victoria University discuss how Australia is tracking against a set of chronic disease health indicators. The report card is in. The results are not good. Almost three in four Australian children consume too much sugar, 91.5% of … Continue reading

Simon Chapman headshot (2)

No massacres and an accelerating decline in overall gun deaths

Twenty years ago, Australian federal, state and territory governments united to reform our firearm laws which had allowed easy access in some states to the military-style weapons of the sort used by the gunman in Orlando, Florida. The main provisions of the new laws included: a ban on semi-automatic rifles … Continue reading