Department of Health

Key messages

  • Rapid reviews are prepared to answer specific questions raised by policy officers
  • The research evidence is drawn primarily from existing systematic reviews, meta-analyses and economic evaluations.
  • The reviews cover topics such as mental health promotions, mass media interventions, and sexually transmitted diseases and young people.

A rapid review is a brief synthesis and judgement of the available research evidence related to a specific question posed by policy officers.

Rapid reviews are usually conducted by senior researchers with expertise in the particular field of research.

The topics covered are:

  • workplace primary prevention
  • community recovery after the February 2009 Victorian bushfires
  • mental health promotion in schools and early childhood settings
  • community-based interventions
  • mass media interventions
  • primary prevention of musculoskeletal conditions
  • reducing sexually transmissible infections in young people.

The research evidence is drawn primarily from existing systematic reviews, meta-analyses and economic evaluations. The reviews generally do not include more recent published trials, trials in progress and unpublished (grey) literature.

Reducing sexually transmissible infections in young people

A review of the published literature on effective interventions for reducing sexually transmissible infections in young people.

Rapid Review Reducing Sexually Transmissible Infections in Young People

Workplace primary prevention

The findings of this review provide a clear synthesis of what interventions to implement in the workplace to prevent chronic disease. The focus of this review is on primary prevention interventions and the reduction of the protective risk factors of tobacco, nutrition, physical activity and stress. The review also provides a list of ‘critical success factors’ for workplace health promotion.

Primary prevention of chronic disease in Australia through interventions in the workplace setting: a rapid review

Community recovery after the February 2009 Victorian bushfires

This review was commissioned to answer the question: What are the potential strategies that could be employed by government to facilitate and mobilise the social participation and inclusion, social capital, economic resources and resilience of communities to enable them to recover from the 2009 Victorian bushfires?

The review undertaken by Professor Penny Hawe identifies and discusses: the expected impact of the fires on health; what works in community recovery; community-based recovery strategies; the role of government and further research.

Community recovery after the February 2009 Victorian bushfires: a rapid review

Mental health promotion

This review provides evidence for the effectiveness of approaches to mental health promotion in schools and early childhood settings. The review has identified effective strategies appropriate for a range of age groups and transitional stages. In addition, critical success factors have been identified, including a whole-of-setting approach, active parent participation, varied teaching methods and adequate staff training.

Mental Health Promotion in Schools and Early Childhood Settings – Final report

Community-based interventions

Community-based interventions in the review (also known as whole-of-community interventions) are defined as:

  • integrated and comprehensive
  • involving a range of locations
  • employing multiple interventions
  • including multiple individuals, organisations and groups
  • involving the community in planning, implementation, management and evaluation
  • including multiple individual level intervention strategies;

Defining the parameters of community in a community-based intervention is a strongly debated topic among experts in the field. This review synthesises the evidence and provides a comprehensive framework for defining community-based interventions and the evidence to support implementation.

Community-based interventions – Report

Mass media interventions

The evidence in this review relates to the effectiveness of mass media interventions for healthy eating, physical activity and reducing smoking. Mass media interventions included diverse media outlets such as:

  • television and radio
  • newspapers, billboards, posters, leaflets, booklets and the internet
  • paid advertising, donated media time and direct marketing.

Social marketing strategies were not the main focus of this review.

Mass media interventions - Short form

Mass media interventions - Extended Review Report

Primary prevention of musculoskeletal conditions

The review was commissioned to consider the evidence for health promotion and prevention programs for primary prevention of musculoskeletal conditions, particularly osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

The focus was on at-risk groups, including older people (65 years or older), socioeconomically disadvantaged people, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders, children and young people, and people at-risk of vitamin D deficiency due to ethnicity or cultural reasons.

Effective Population Health Interventions for the Primary Prevention of Musculoskeletal Conditions

Reviewed 27 October 2021


Contact details

Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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