Busselton is the location of one of the longest running epidemiological studies in the world — Busselton Population Medical Research Institute’s “Busselton Health Study”. The residents of the town of Busselton, a coastal community in the south-west of Western Australia, have been involved in a series of health surveys since 1966. To date over 20,000 men, women & children of all ages have taken part in the surveys and have helped contribute to understanding of many common diseases and health conditions.
The collection of population health data in Busselton was initiated by local GP Dr Kevin Cullen. His vision was to establish and conduct population health research in a community setting that would not only provide important information into the prevalence and causes of common diseases but also to empower participants to take an active role in their health and well-being.
Original aims of the Busselton Health Study as stated in 1966 in understanding disease and improving the health of the population:
1. To study the prevalence of common diseases in an Australian community
2. To assess the range and variation of a large number of clinical and laboratory variables in a natural population
3. To provide a community service in the detection, treatment and prevention of disease and in the education of the population
4. To conduct longitudinal surveys for the study of risk factors related to health and disease
5. To study mortality from specific diseases in an Australian population and to define the usefulness of risk factors in predicting such mortality
A unique database of information has been compiled and is managed by the School of Population Health at the University of Western Australia. It has been recognized and relied upon by major international research centres as well as by researchers here in WA for over 40 years.
The collection provides important information on common diseases and their relationships to risk factors, lifestyle and environmental variables. Over 300 research articles have been published in the literature and the archived collection of data from the Busselton population has been described as a National Treasure by the Government of Western Australia.