3 June 2008

The UnitingCare Chair in Social Policy and Research, established in partnership with The University of Queensland, was launched at a ceremony today at Customs House, Brisbane.

This is the first time the UQ School of Social Work and Applied Human Services has established a Joint Chair with a non profit organisation.

The role of Chair is typically created within universities from industry funds, foundations or similar.

UnitingCare Queensland is the health and community service provider of The Uniting Church in Australia (Queensland Synod) which includes Blue Care (including Blue Nursing); Lifeline Community Care; UnitingCare Health (comprising The Wesley Hospital and St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane, The Sunshine Coast Private Hospital and St Stephen’s Hospitals in Maryborough and Hervey Bay); Wesley Mission Brisbane and Crossroads (Qld).

Anne Cross, Chief Executive Officer UnitingCare Queensland, said that the importance of evidenced-based research in shaping the future development of UnitingCare Queensland’s service delivery agenda could not be underestimated.

“The development and implementation of a clear research agenda will enable us to better understand the complex and changing needs of the thousands of people that we help each year and to better tailor our services to meet those needs,” she said.

“We will seek to invest in research that will result in practical outcomes by informing what services we provide across our agencies in the future and how these can provide the best outcomes for our clients.”

The inaugural Chair, Professor Jill Wilson AO, was introduced at the launch.

Professor Wilson has a strong national and international profile as a researcher and as an academic in social work and human service practice. Until recently she was Head of the School of Social Work and Applied Human Sciences at The University of Queensland.

She has been associated for more than 30 years with the health and community services of the Uniting Church, including 10 years as Chair of the UnitingCare Queensland Board. Professor Wilson will lead and pursue an innovative research and social policy agenda on behalf of The University of Queensland and UnitingCare Queensland.

“It is a great honour to be the first incumbent in this key position,” Professor Wilson said.

“UnitingCare has taken a clear and innovative lead in the non-profit sector in establishing this Joint Chair with the University of Queensland and in planning to develop a research framework that will ensure that the organisation manages its sustainability into the future by providing services that are responsive and relevant,” she said.