Message from Our Founders
CHASE began as a response to what we, as medical students and junior doctors, witnessed in our overflowing public hospitals – numerous patients suffering the consequences of chronic diseases. We valiantly believed their problems, which took decades to manifest, could be fixed with a few days of careful medical attention, only to see them return weeks later, in another crisis.
We wanted to find solutions and looked to the community health worker model in developing nations such as India as our inspiration. Their principles of empowerment of the community, through education and mentorship, still resonate in the CHASE program today.
However, now CHASE means more than this. The goals of our organisation have evolved from health literacy to life literacy. The greatest achievements of our program are not only the student projects we help implement, but the students we help empower to become future community leaders. With their leadership, CHASE hopes for a brighter, healthier future for the Western suburbs of Melbourne, and all of Australia.
Dr Jenny Tran & Dr Richard Liu
Why the North and Western Suburbs?
The CHASE program was designed through an extensive consultation and co-design process with stakeholders across Victoria. We learnt that working with young individuals at the cusp of a significant life transition—such as moving from secondary to tertiary education or employment—provides an ideal window to establish positive long-term health and well-being practices.
CHASE’s project-based learning is also designed to integrate seamlessly with the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) curriculum. By completing the CHASE program, students are directly satisfying formal VCAL learning outcomes.
CHASE works in various municipalities across Melbourne’s north and west. These areas, which include the Brimbank, Moonee Valley, Moreland and Melton municipalities, were selected as they are home to some of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals in broader Melbourne. Brimbank City, the second largest municipality in Melbourne and the
region with greatest student participation in CHASE, is considered an area of relative disadvantage, driven by:
- The fourth highest unemployment rates in Victoria at 8.3%
- The highest proportion of people self-reporting poor health in Victoria
- The second lowest rate of English proficiency in Victoria
Health and community services in Melbourne’s north and west are also often underfunded and under-resourced. Coupled with strong population growth, this leads to higher rates of preventable and long-term chronic diseases in comparison to national averages. For example, up to 1 in 7 people in Melbourne’s west have type II diabetes, compared with 1 in 30 for the whole of Victoria.