Housing Interventions for better health


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Project description:

Housing is a critically important determinant of health. Housing that is healthy is structurally sound, dry, clean, pest-free and contaminant-free, ventilated, safe, thermally controlled, accessible and affordable. We currently lack data on the prevalence and variation of these exposures across Australia, and an understanding of how people shape their home environments to benefit health. This prevents us from effectively utilising our housing system to improve population health though housing-focused prevention and intervention strategies that meet the needs of local communities.

One project, based primarily at the University of Melbourne, will draw on the data infrastructure generated by the Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Housing (University of Melbourne, CIA Bentley) and research expertise in community-based housing research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to examine the effectiveness of interventions to address the negative mental health effects observed for of residents living in housing where the indoor temperature cannot be easily regulated (as a result of fuel poverty, structural problems with the home, lack of cooling/heating, lack of reliable energy supply).

The partnered project, based primarily at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, will conduct extensive fieldwork using the Community-Oriented Healthcare model in order to evaluate the relationship between chronic stress and housing in selected Israeli communities while at HUJ and they will learn how to evaluate the relationship between housing quality indicators and chronic stress indicators using census data at the University of Melbourne.

Both doctoral candidates will benefit from training in multiple research methodologies to address relationships between housing quality and affordability and health outcomes.

Project goals

These projects aim to:

  • Assess the relationships between chronic stress, housing quality, and housing affordability among low-income renters in Israel
  • Examine chronic stress, housing quality, and housing affordability in terms of neighbourhood quality
  • Examine the effectiveness of interventions to address the negative mental health effects observed for of residents living in housing where the indoor temperature cannot be easily regulated
  • Inform policy and practice in retrofitting homes.

Supervision team

The University of Melbourne – Professor Rebecca Bentley

Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Professor Yehuda Neumark

Click on the researcher's name above to learn more about their publication and grant successes.

Who we are looking for

We are seeking PhD candidates with the following skills:

  • A Masters qualification in public health, geography, public policy, sociology, economics or related disciplines
  • Demonstrated experience in the field of health research or implementation science
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Demonstrated time and project management skills
  • Demonstrated ability to write research reports or other publications to a publishable standard (even if not published to date)
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Demonstrated organisational skills, time management and ability to work to priorities.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving abilities.

Further details

  • Two PhD projects are available. One candidate will be based at University of Melbourne with a minimum twelve-month stay at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The HUJ candidate will be based in Jerusalem and will spend a minimum of 12 months studying in Melbourne.
  • The Joint PhD candidates will benefit from the combined expertise of the project supervisors, and the embedding into two research environments.
  • Professor Rebecca Bentley at UoM has a strong ARC-track record, having held a Future Fellowship, lead an internationally focussed Discovery on Intergenerational Inequalities in Housing and several Linkage projects. Professor Yehuda Neumark at HUJ will contribute expertise in the epidemiology of social conditions, substance use and mental illness.
  • The candidates will be enrolled in the PhD program in the Braun School of Public Health & Community Medicine at HUJ, and the School of Population and Global Health at UoM.

To apply for this joint PhD opportunity, and to view the entry requirements, visit How to apply.

First published on 5 October 2022.

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International Research Projects Team