Epidemiology

The Epidemiology Section provides timely and accurate information on the health of the ACT population, which assists in the development and evaluation of policies and interventions to improve health.

The Epidemiology Section provides timely and accurate information on the health of the ACT population, which assists in the development and evaluation of policies and interventions to improve health.

The Epidemiology Section also undertakes projects to examine emerging issues; provides advice and assistance relating to research and evaluation; and conducts research related to key public health issues.

Health Stats logo

The Epidemiology Section ensures that high quality data and statistics are readily available to inform public health policy and program decisions by engaging with health data users.  We provide leadership within the collection, analyses, dissemination and use of health statistics.

To facilitate easy access to up-to-date health information, we now provide web-based data display and statistical reporting via our website HealthStatsACT

ACT General Health Survey

You may be selected to take part in the 2020 ACT General Health Survey between October and December. 

What is the ACT General Health Survey?

The impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the entire Australian population has been unprecedented. Although the ACT General Health Survey is not a COVID-19 study, the pandemic has demonstrated the need for timely, reliable and targeted information to enable ACT Health to plan and develop public health programs and policies.

Since 2007, ACT Health has been conducting this phone survey yearly with randomly selected participants to collect information about the health, lifestyles and wellbeing of ACT residents. Our target is to survey 1,200 adults aged 16+ years and 1,000 children aged 5-15 years living in Canberra.

When is the survey happening?

The survey will start 6 October and will run over an eight-week period. The survey time may be extended if we haven’t reached our target of 1,200 adults and 1,000 children.

Why is the survey important?

The ongoing collection of information on health status and behaviours is used to plan and develop public health programs and policies. The survey is important because national health surveys tend to only include a small number of people from the ACT, and so can’t always be used to accurately describe the health status of the ACT population. 

What is involved?

If you are selected, trained interviewers will complete the survey with you by phone at a time convenient to you. The survey takes up to 20 minutes to complete. Your participation is entirely voluntary. It is important, however, that we speak to as many people as possible to ensure the survey results accurately reflect the views and experiences of the community. 

Is the survey compulsory?

No, the survey is not compulsory, however, it is important that we speak to as many people as possible to ensure the survey results accurately reflect the views and experiences of the community.

Can I do the survey online?

The 2020 survey will only be administered by phone. Future surveys may be conducted online.

Can I do the survey if I’m not selected?

No, only randomly-selected participants will be eligible to take part in this survey. This will ensure that our sample represents the ACT community.  

What information is collected?

You will be asked questions about your health, including self-rated health, oral health, nutrition, physical activity, alcohol consumption, tobacco use and mental health. You will also be asked for your (and your child’s, if applicable) height and weight measurements.

Can I look up the results from previous surveys?

Yes! The results are reported on the HealthStats ACT website and in the ACT Chief Health Officer’s report.

How did ACT Health get my phone number?

An Australian company that provides phone numbers for market and social research has supplied us with a list of mobile numbers, verified as belonging to ACT residents. Your name, address and telephone number will not be retained or shared with any other individual, agency or department. 

What happens to the information collected?

All information you provide will be treated in strict confidence. The results will only be used for planning and research purposes. The survey has been approved by the ACT Health Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). If you have any concerns or complaints about the survey, you may contact the HREC secretariat on (02) 6174 7968 or ethics@act.gov.au.

What do I do now?

ACT Health has appointed the Social Research Centre, part of the Australian National University, to conduct the survey. If selected, an interviewer will call you to ask you to participate. Arrangements can be made for you to take part at a time convenient to you. For more information or to opt out, call the survey freecall number 1800 023 040 or email HealthSurvey@act.gov.au.

Our work program

The Epidemiology Section work program includes:

  • Developing the biennial Chief Health Officer's (CHO) Report (a statutory requirement);
  • Conducting and commissioning surveys
  • Maintaining registers/collections of health conditions and events, such as the ACT Cancer Registry and the ACT Maternal and Perinatal Data Collection
  • Producing and disseminating epidemiological information on the health status of people in the ACT
  • Developing and building on data systems that collect population health information, including data linkage capabilities
  • Developing and reporting on population health performance indicators 
  • Participating in research activities and collaborations

Contact us

​GPO Box 825,
Canberra ACT 2601

Email: healthinfo@act.gov.au

Page last updated on: 29 Oct 2020