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Community nurse administers vaccination to young man

Community and Primary Health Care Network

Connecting consumers, healthcare professionals and our community
We aim to drive education and research that will improve the health of communities and build a stronger Primary Health Care system focused on people's lifelong health needs.

About us

The Community and Primary Health Care Network (CPHCN) is building strong partnerships between the University, Primary Health Care organisations and people in the community. Our aim is to promote and embed a Primary Health Care approach centred on meeting people’s health needs throughout their whole life.

Our Faculty of Medicine and Health delivers education and research programs that encompass widest array of healthcare disciplines of any University in Australia. Primary Health Care principles and newly emerging models of care are integral to supporting a high quality, high performing Australian healthcare system.  

Launch of the Community and Primary Health Care Strategic Plan 2022-2027

We are excited to announce our Community and Primary Health Care (CPHC) Portfolio and Network Strategic Plan 2022-2027 was officially launched recently.

In this plan, we describe the initiatives that we will deliver to meet our community and primary health care strategic goals over the next five years. It has been created with input from consumers, community and advocacy organisations, healthcare providers and colleagues from Primary Health Networks and Local Health Districts who share our vision of healthcare that delivers equity and access for all.

Thank you to all of our CPHC champions across the University and within our external partner organisations who have provided invaluable contributions to developing our plan. Our ability to translate our goals into tangible benefits for our community will be enhanced by working together. View the Strategic Plan >

News and events

Community and Primary Health Care EMCR Showcase

Wednesday 7 December, Susan Wakil Health Building

  • CPHCN Session 1 - 11:00am - 12:30pm followed by Lunch
  • CPHCN Session 2 - 2:30 - 4:00pm

View the Program (PDF)

Join us for an inspiring program celebrating the diverse work of emerging researchers in Community and Primary Health Care. This event is part of the 2-day FMH EMCR Networks Showcase Event to be held on Wednesday 7 -Thursday 8 December at Levels 3-4 Susan Wakil Health Building. This in-person event is focused on the achievements and successes of our emerging researchers, and full of interactive sessions, career-building workshops & networking mixers. View the Showcase webpage for details. 

Rural scene

Community-University collaborations: addressing health service needs and workforce development

A successful CPHCN webinar was held in August, broadcasting live from Broken Hill with panellists in Lismore and Dubbo on Zoom. The webinar focused on our rural and regional Schools and their connections in their local communities. Thank you to all the panellists who participated in this stimulating discussion:

  • Chair Prof Meredith Makeham - Associate Dean, Community and Primary Health Care, FMH
  • A/Prof Debra Jones - Director, Primary Health Care, Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health
  • Prof Vicki Flood - Head of Clinical School, Northern Rivers and Director, University Centre for Rural Health
  • A/Prof Catherine Hawke - Deputy Head of School, Rural Clinical School (Dubbo/Orange)
  • Sissy Cearns - Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer, Student Support and Specialist Programs Directorate. Broken Hill Education Office, NSW Dept of Education
  • Robert Dyson - Networked Specialist Facilitator, NSW Dept of Education

Here are some resources that were mentioned in the presentations:

Prof Sarah Dennis

Congratulations Prof Sarah Dennis

Professor Sarah Dennis has been named as Australia’s leading Primary Health Care researcher in The Australian's annual Research Magazine 2021 List: Top 250 Researchers.

Strengthening Medicare and Investing in Primary Health Care: A Roadmap for Reform

A key outcome from the Primary Health Care Leaders’ Summit held in Canberra in May 2022, the report is the outcome of input and discussion from summit delegates including representatives from all 31 PHNs, consumers and other key stakeholders. The report has recently been published and presented to the Government. Read about the Roadmap to Reform on the WentWest PHN website here.

Primary Health Networks 101– making communities happier and healthier

An expert panel of Primary Health Networks (PHN) leaders presented an engaging webinar in May focused on the the valuable role PHNs play in supporting the health and wellbeing of our communities. The panel described the national PHN agenda and highlighted some key programs of work, including collaborative commissioning and climate change and mental health. We heard about the vital role of PHNs in dealing with the impacts of COVID and extreme weather, including the recent floods in Northern NSW. Speakers also provided a researcher’s 101 guide on how to engage with PHNs and the Primary Health Care clinicians and communities they serve.

Consumer Involvement in Research

Earlier this year CPHCN hosted a well-attended webinar exploring the importance of involving consumers in health research.  Chaired by Prof Sarah Lewis, FMH A/Dean Research Performance, the lunchtime webinar featured an expert panel of speakers including consumers with first-hand experience, and panelists from The University of Sydney, Health Consumers NSW and Sydney Health Partners.  Speakers shared recent research examples, consumer perspectives and plenty of helpful resources available to support researchers partnering with consumers in health research. From the webinar, further reading:

Do you have a Community and Primary Health Care news item to share? Email the CPHCN.

Our focus areas

  • Cancer care
  • Chronic disease
  • Community health
  • Consumer engagement
  • Digital health
  • Disability
  • End of life care
  • First Nations health
  • Genomics / biomedical data
  • Health system reform
  • Medicines safety
  • Mental health
  • New models of care
  • Population health
  • Primary care
  • Rural health
  • Self care
  • Telehealth/ virtual care
  • Women’s health  

  • Behavioural and Social Sciences in Health
  • Dentistry and Oral Health
  • Diagnostic Radiography/ Medical Imaging Science
  • Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Exercise and Sport Science
  • General Practice
  • Health Services Management
  • Laboratory Science
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pharmacy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Rehabilitation Counselling
  • Speech Pathology
  • Medicine
  • Nursing and Midwifery
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health
  • Social Work

Join the network

Membership is free and open to postgraduate research students and employees of the University of Sydney and affiliated institutes working within fields related to Primary Health Care.

We also welcome and include consumers, primary health care professionals and our partners in government and industry. Complete our membership form to join.

World Health Organisation infographic Primary Health Care

A Primary Health Care approach

Primary Health Care is defined by the World Health Organisation as essential health care that is universally accessible and meets people’s health needs throughout their lives. We are dedicated to achieving this by embedding a Primary Health Care approach to research, education and engagement.  

A Primary Health Care approach is a whole of society approach. It includes methods of health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. It addresses the broader determinants of health through multisectoral policy and action, an importantly, empowers individuals, families and communities to take charge of their own health and care.

Learn more about Primary Health Care

The CPHC Network Leadership Group represents the CPHC disciplines within the University and key external and affiliated partners in fields relating to CPHC:

  • Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network (CESPHN)
  • Health Consumers NSW
  • Indigenous Strategy and Services, FMH
  • Northern Sydney Local Health District
  • Regal Healthcare
  • Rural Clinical School (Dubbo/Orange)
  • School of Medical Sciences
  • School of Pharmacy
  • Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery
  • Sydney Dental School
  • Sydney Health Partners
  • Sydney Local Health District
  • Sydney Medical School
  • Sydney North Primary Health Network
  • Sydney School of Health Sciences
  • Sydney School of Public Health
  • The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, University of Sydney
  • The Menzies Centre, University of Sydney
  • University Centre for Rural Health (Northern Rivers)
  • University Department of Rural Health (Broken Hill)
  • WentWest Primary Health Network
  • Western Sydney Local Health District


Prof Meredith Makeham

Contact CPHCN

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