Associate Professor Melissa Kang is one of three Australian health researchers who has received the 2019 Research Action Awards from the Sax Institute for making a real impact to local communities.

Associate Professor Kang has led three seminal studies looking at the experiences of young people in New South Wales trying to access healthcare services. This body of research, which has already proven to be hugely influential in health policy making, has looked at key barriers to integrated timely care – one in particular being the fragmented nature of our healthcare system.
The most recent of these studies, the ACCESS 3 Study, tracked groups of marginalised young people and their navigation of the health system in the digital age. The researchers also interviewed senior clinicians and health services managers about their perspectives on how to better engage with young people.

This study found that cost was the most frequently cited barrier to accessing healthcare, and that layers of disadvantage can compound difficulties in navigating the health system. These findings and a host of recommendations provided input for a forum to help ensure the health system could take findings of the research on board. NSW Health used this evidence before publication to develop its new health framework for the state for the next seven years, with the aim of strengthening the way the health system responds to the needs of young people.

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