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Melbourne Longitudinal Studies on Healthy Ageing Program (MELSHA)

What is MELSHA?

The Melbourne Longitudinal Studies on Healthy Ageing (MELSHA) Program is an ongoing population-based longitudinal study of 1000 people aged 65 year and over living in non-institutional settings in Melbourne, Australia. The program is jointly run by Monash University and the University of Sydney and includes associates from La Trobe University. The Co-Directors of the program are Professor Colette Browning (Monash University) and Professor Hal Kendig (University of Sydney).

The baseline survey for the MELSHA program began in 1994 at a time when concepts such as healthy and active ageing were rarely seen on policy agendas for older people. Our focus in 1994 was to identify avenues for changing individual actions and social environments that influence the health and well-being of older people. Participants have been followed up every 2 years since 1994. The program of research was funded initially by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (1994-1997) and is currently funded by the NHMRC (1998-2000, 2003-2005, 2008-2010).

The domains captured in the data collections include:
       •  Health-related actions, perceptions and health histories
       •  Functional health and prevalence of health conditions
       •  Quality of Life
       •  Social support and interaction
       •  Service use 
       •  Transport and neighbourhood

MELSHA is part of the DYNOPTA project whereby 9 Australian longitudinal studies are being combined to produce harmonised variables for analysis (see http://dynopta.anu.edu.au/).

Funding and Investigators

The Melbourne Longitudinal Studies on Healthy Ageing (MELSHA) program has been funded by a large number of grants and supporting agencies. They include the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council. The program is jointly run by Monash University and the University of Sydney and includes associates from La Trobe University. The baseline data were collected with funding from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation for the Health Status of Older People project (Principal Investigators Hal Kendig and Rob Helme). The Chief Investigators who have contributed to the MELSHA program are: Colette Browning, (Monash University, Co-Director of MELSHA), Hal Kendig (University of Sydney, Co-Director of MELSHA), Maria Fiatarone Singh (University of Sydney), Leon Flicker (University of Western Australia), Robert Helme (University of Melbourne), Birgitta Lundgren Lindquist (Jonkoping University), Meg Morris (University of Melbourne), Daniel O’Connor (Monash University), Susan Quine (University of Sydney), Jane Sims (Monash University), Shane Thomas, (Monash University), Carolyn Unsworth (La Trobe University). Associate Investigators are Karen Teshuva and Yvonne Wells (La Trobe University).