The Menzies Centre for Population Health Research was established in 1988 within the University of Tasmania. Tasmania was a logical choice to establish the Centre because of the State's stable population, good medical records and the willingness of the people to contribute to research programs.
The Centre's mission is to conduct leading edge research into the environmental and genetic causes of disease by building on Tasmania's unique population resources.
The Centre specialises in epidemiology and public health.
Menzies Centre research established a link between sleeping position and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or cot death. This finding and the subsequent fall in the SIDS rate have been instrumental in the development of new policy on the sleeping position of infants by governments in Australia, the UK and USA and is credited with saving the lives of more than one thousand Australian babies.
The Centre's current research program includes:
- investigating the genetic basis for diseases including multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, glaucoma, diabetes and prostate cancer
- expanding programs on infant, childhood and adolescent diseases such as asthma, allergies and hypertension
- the prevention of certain cancers including prostate, skin and non Hodgkin's lymphoma
- continuing research into the prevention of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
- studying the genetic-environmental interactions that may contribute to the development and progression of multiple sclerosis
- developing a program of musculoskeletal research including fractures, bone density in children, and osteoporosis in adults