Sue West


Sue West, Associate Director, Centre for Community Child Health, Research Group Leader: Policy Equity and Translation, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Sue is passionate about the practical application of research and knowledge to the issues facing Australia’s children and their families and addressing inequities. She leads knowledge exchange projects; training and development activities; service innovation projects and applied research to inform policy, service delivery, professional practice and parenting.


A focus on the first 1,000 days can leave practitioners, researchers and policy makers challenged to communicate the science of early childhood development. The ability to do this effectively has lasting implications for informed decision making and the public support of good, evidence-based policy and practice.

In seeking to bridge the gap between what we ‘know’ about the science of early childhood and what we ‘do’, the Centre for Community Child Health, with the support of early childhood peak bodies and the Victorian and Australian governments, engaged the FrameWorks Institute to conduct strategic communications research in Australia. The research identified some of the most prevalent and highly shared ‘cultural models’ that ordinary Australians rely on when asked to think about what early childhood development is, how it happens and what should be done to improve its outcomes.

More than 4,600 Australians participated in the research that identified 11 important ‘gaps’ between what the experts know and what the public thinks about early childhood development that posed barriers to understanding and a number of core values that increased public support for evidence-based early childhood policy.

This presentation will outline the results of the research and discuss the implications for innovative communications practice around the ‘first 1,000 days’ in Australia.

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