Launch of the Melbourne Centre for Behaviour Change
Behavioural science has the power to help overcome some of the world’s biggest challenges, leading public health experts have said at the launch of our newest centre.
Officially launched on 21 February 2023, the Melbourne Centre for Behaviour Change (MCBC) will provide an integrated approach to all aspects of behaviour change – harnessing research and education to produce sustainable, durable changes in behaviours, policies, and practices to enhance lives, livelihoods, and environments.
Behaviour change science is a multi-faceted discipline that seeks to improve understandings of the underlying mechanisms of human behaviour in order to affect positive change. The field has considerable potential to be used in the arsenal of public health communication and policymaking.
Director of the University College London Centre for Behaviour Change Professor Susan Michie was a guest at the Centre’s launch. Professor Michie is Chair of the World Health Organization’s Behavioural Insights and Sciences Technical Advisory Group, participated in the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission, and served as an expert advisor on the UK Government’s Scientific Advisory Group in Emergencies.
Professor Michie's insightful keynote at the launch provided the audience with a peek behind the curtain of the United Kingdom’s COVID-19 response, and commended the University for its investment in Australia’s first centre for behaviour change.
“The pandemic presented us with an opportunity for greater action on prevention. The Melbourne Centre for Behaviour Change will play a pivotal role in bringing together diverse stakeholders to develop practical and effective behaviour change strategies that are rooted in the latest evidence from our field,” Professor Michie said.
A lively panel discussion, moderated by MCBC Deputy Director Associate Professor Michelle Jongenelis, wrapped up the evening. Professor Michie was joined by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton, Public Health Association of Australia CEO Professor Terry Slevin and Victoria University Deputy Vice-Chancellor People & Organisation Professor Peter Radoll for the conversation, which touched on our own pandemic response in Victoria.
“Lives were undoubtedly saved during the pandemic thanks to the way Victorians responded to calls to adopt preventive health measures. This is an example of why behavioural change is a key to better health. We can use smoking, seat belts, and solarium legislation as examples of necessary but effective changes,” Professor Sutton said.