Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 5 2010 Contents 24 www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
defence magazine ›
The most extensive health study
in Australian Defence Force history
was officially launched on Tuesday,
Launching the program, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
and Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon Alan
Griffin MP, said, “MilHOP is the brand name for the
Military Health Outcomes Program, which consists of
three studies on the Middle East Area of Operations
and one study in response to the 2009 Dunt Review,
to establish a baseline for mental health prevalence
in the ADF”.
“For the first time, the Government and Defence
will have the information needed to support the
development of evidence-based policy and targeted
health programs designed to support ADF members
and their families cope with the impact of operational
deployments,” Minister Griffin said.
MilHOP is the product of the Centre for Military
and Veterans’ Health (CMVH) – a consortium of
the University of Queensland, University of Adelaide
and Charles Darwin University, and is funded by
the Department of Defence and Department of
Vice Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General
David Hurley, delivered a firm message to ADF
leaders, saying “you need to encourage your men
and women to respond to this survey”.
“To be successful we need at least 55 per cent of the
personnel who are in the Defence Force to respond.
“It’s not only those who have served overseas that we
need, but also those at home who are yet to deploy,
and those who may not deploy – we need data from
across the board,” LTGEN Hurley said.
According to Director of CMVH, Professor Peter
Warfe, one of the major outcomes of the three MEAO
studies will be to reveal, “Whether there has been
any adverse outcomes in the health of personnel who
have deployed to the Middle East, compared with
those who haven’t”.
Director of Mental Health, Colonel Stephanie Hodson,
said the Health and Wellbeing Survey stems from the
recommendations of the 2009 Dunt review and has
“It will give us a mental health prevalence rate. It will
allow us to look at risk factors and protective factors
for mental health issues. It also will allow us to look
at stigma and barriers to care. Finally it will allow us
to validate and enhance our current mental health
screening processes,” COL Hodson said.
Minister Griffin concluded by saying, “The health
and wellbeing of Australia’s military personnel
is a cornerstone of the Australian Government’s
defence policies and programs.
“That is why we have invested heavily into
new and improved Defence health initiatives such
as $83 million to implement the recommendations
of the Dunt Review into mental health, and
$155.3 million to enhance ADF Rehabilitation
Services,” Minister Griffin said.
The MilHOP studies are due to be completed
by 30 June 2012.
FROM LeFT: Director Centre of Military and Veterans’ Health Professor Peter Warfe, Vice Chief of Defence Force
Lieutenant General David Hurley, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel the Hon Alan Griffin
MP, and Commander Joint Health Command Major General Paul Alexander.
ABOVe: Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for
Defence Personnel the Hon Alan Griffin MP, and Vice Chief
of Defence Force Lieutenant General David Hurley, are
shown the software program by Lieutenant Commander
Tony Ellis and Corporal Alisha Davis.
MilHOP comprises four distinct studies:
› MeAO Health study – This study will examine
the 25,000 current and ex-ADF personnel who deployed
to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) between
2001 and 2009. It is being conducted by the University
of Queensland node of CMVH.
› MeAO Prospective Health study – This will assess
current ADF personnel both before and after they deploy
to the MEAO in 2010-2011. This study is being run by
University of Adelaide node of CMVH.
› MeAO Mortality and Cancer Incidence study –
This will look at rates of death and cancers among MEAO
veterans. Unlike the other studies, it will acquire data
from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and
does not require direct input from Service personnel.
› Health and Wellbeing survey – This study looks
at the mental health of currently serving ADF personnel
who have not deployed to the MEAO. Participants are asked
to complete a survey either in hardcopy or online. A number
of participants will be invited to take part in a subsequent
MilHOP fast facts
› MilHOP is the largest health study in ADF history. It aims
to understand the health and wellbeing needs of current and
former Service personnel, in order to deliver better healthcare
products and services.
› MilHOP is being conducted by the Centre for Military
and Veterans’ Health (CMVH) – an independent organisation
– in conjunction with the University of .Queensland and
University of Adelaide.
› To guarantee privacy, information provided is not stored with
personally identifying details and is not accessible by the
Department of Defence or Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
› Participation is entirely voluntary and participants may
withdraw at any time. Defence and Veterans’ Affairs will
not be notified of your participation or non-participation.
› With regard to the Health and Wellbeing Survey, Service
personnel will be contacted by email with directions on how
to complete the survey. If you haven’t received your copy, see
the contact information on this page. Participants can choose
which parts of the survey they wish to do.
› Because of its importance, Chief of Defence Force has directed
that Service personnel be allocated time during normal work
hours to complete the Health and Wellbeing Survey.
› The more people who participate, the more
comprehensive the data will be and the better
the outcomes for all Service personnel.
By Ben Wickham
THE ADF has acted quickly
to reassure people that the
information collected as part
of the Military Health Outcomes
Program (MilHOP) survey will
remain private and confidential.
A recent media report stated that information from
the preliminary study focus groups for the survey, which
involved about 120 people, were inadvertently posted on
the website of a university involved in the study.
The preliminary study responses were used to shape
the MilHOP survey, which began this month and will run
Commander Joint Health Command Maj-Gen Paul
Alexander said there was no question about the
confidentiality of the program.
“I want to reassure Defence personnel that the
information they provide through the MilHOP program
of studies is absolutely confidential and there is no question
on the release of individual details,” he said.
“We appreciated the time and efforts of the individuals
who were involved in the focus groups. They were open
and honest and their responses gave us a really good
understanding of the issues and problems that can occur
Maj-Gen Alexander said the intention was always to post
the results of the study and the questionnaire on the website
so people involved in the focus groups could see that their
contributions were incorporated into the overall program.
“We’ve reviewed the processes within Defence and
within the Centre of Military and Veterans Health so people
involved in the study don’t need to worry, their privacy will
The MilHOP survey forms part of a broader Defence
commitment to improve health care, particularly mental
health care, for ADF members.
Understanding the stressors that affect deployed ADF
members is critical to enabling the development of
strategies to care for Defence personnel.
“To achieve this we need our members to know they can
speak openly and honestly about the issues affecting them,”
Maj-Gen Alexander said.
Roadshows promoting the survey are being conducted
in Darwin, Brisbane and Sydney this month.
Maj-Gen Alexander said there had been good response
rates so far, but he’d like to see more people involved.
“This project is critical in improving the long-term health
and wellbeing of ADF personnel.
“This study is about you and ultimately for you. It also
relates to the impact on your family and other relationships.”
Links Archive Issue 6 2010 Issue 3 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page