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Department Overview

The Prevention Education and Research Unit (PERU), has been at the forefront of preventative health innovation and research in Western Sydney for over two decades. Our objectives are to:
  • Build capacity in individuals and communities, with a focus on the most disadvantaged.
  • Develop, implement and evaluate peer education preventive health programs in high schools.
  • Engage in collaborative research projects with established health, education and university partners.
  • Train university students and health professionals to be best practice service providers.

Our prevention programs in healthy lifestyle, asthma and smoking cessation in secondary schools continue to show results in western Sydney and other suburbs or locations through partnerships with a range of services and organisations.


Our Programs

Students As LifeStyle Activists (SALSA)

Students As LifeStyle Activists (SALSA) is an innovative, award winning, peer education program, driven by students, to promote physical activity and healthy eating in a supportive environment. As a result of participating in the SALSA Program a higher amount of western Sydney teens are now eating fruit and vegetables, having regular breakfast, exercising more and consuming fewer sugary drinks. The SALSA project is a partnership between WSLHD, Mt Druitt, Blacktown and Hills Medical Practitioners Associations, High Schools, The University of Sydney and WentWest.
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Adolescent Asthma Action (Triple A)

Adolescent Asthma Action (Triple A) is the world’s first evidence-based peer-led asthma education program to improve the health and wellbeing of students with asthma. By using an innovative student-centered approach, students are the drivers of both the teaching and learning processes. Triple A program has shown to:
  • Improve asthma self-management in adolescents
  • Promote the resilience of high school students to resist peer pressure to smoke.
  • Enable adolescents to promote smoke free environments.
  • Improve the educational outcomes of high school students.

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Walking into Good Health

Walking into Good Health: Tobacco smoking still remains the greatest single cause of premature death in NSW. The past decade has seen a decrease in daily smoking rates, however in western Sydney a substantial number of people continue to smoke. Walking into Good Health” is a collaborative project between WSLHD, CHW, Chifley College, CMRC, Cancer Institute and WentWest. The concept was inspired by the students from Mount Druitt Chifley College, who designed a mural to improve the health and wellbeing of students with asthma and prevent the uptake of smoking. In 2019, we will train general practitioners and pharmacists to offer brief smoking cessation counselling, so that patients and clients are encouraged and supported to quit smoking as part of routine care. We will distribute the postcards and posters from the original artwork, with resources provided by the Cancer Institute and Kids Quit to distribute to GPs and Pharmacists and will evaluate its impact.


Research Projects in 2019

  1. Students As LifeStyle Activists (SALSA) program and it’s extensions
    1. Evaluate the Youth Voices in the community’ project
    2. Publish the results of the feasibility study of ‘Reaching Homes and Families’ project and plan for future interventional research
    3. Introduce and test a new cookery package: ‘Breakfast on the Go’, Lunch and Dinner to lesson 3 in the SALSA program.
  2. Walking into Good Health’ project, as an extension of the Triple A program
    1. Assess if the Kid’s Quit resources and training have assisted health professionals (GP’s, pharmacists) to provide smoking cessation counselling to their clients.
    2. Evaluate the impact of community awareness social media campaign


Contact Information

Phone: 02 8890 6505
Fax: 02 8890 5310
PO Box 533, Westmead NSW 2145


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Peer Education Programs for High School Students



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