VIDRL has a long history of providing support for WHO’s activities in communicable disease control. VIDRL was initially WHO designated in 1965 (the year hepatitis B was discovered) as a Collaborating Centre in Virus Reference and Research. Further WHO designations followed, including;
- WHO Collaborating Centre in Biosafety in Microbiology
- WHO Regional Measles Reference Laboratory
- WHO Regional Poliovirus Reference Laboratory
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Mycobacterium ulcerans
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, and
- WHO Regional Reference Laboratory for Hepatitis B, designated in 2010
In recognition of VIDRL’s longstanding expertise in research and reference virology in viral hepatitis, and increasing profile in public health and epidemiological research in viral hepatitis, VIDRL was invited by WHO to apply for designation as a Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis. This process commenced as WHO’s focus on viral hepatitis as a public health priority increased following the World Health Assembly Resolution on Viral Hepatitis in 2010.
Following ongoing work by VIDRL and the WHO, and over several iterations, VIDRL at the Doherty was designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis in 2015, and redesignated in 2019.
The Doherty Institute has created a governance structure that supports integration and fosters collaboration, strong leadership and management, creating a unified organisation. The Centre is based in VIDRL, a unit of the Doherty Institute, which is a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The Centre reports directly through existing Doherty Institute governance structures as well as to the WHO.
In addition, the Centre is guided by an Advisory Group made up of representatives from affected communities, members of peak-community organisations, State and Federal Government , the research community and the health sector. Advisory group representatives have expertise in: Community engagement and advocacy, communicable disease surveillance, lived experience of viral hepatitis, clinical care of people living with viral hepatitis, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, data linkage/public health/social/epidemiological research, policy development, programmatic/policy responses to cancer, government policy response, education and workforce development, infectious disease modelling, and delivery of health support services to people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people who inject drugs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Advisory Group is guided by its own Terms of Reference (for 2016-2019), to:
- Inform, advise and support the Centre at the Doherty Institute regarding the conduct of projects relating to viral hepatitis epidemiology;
- Suggest approaches for translation and dissemination of findings to appropriate stakeholders, including those living with chronic viral hepatitis;
- Provide guidance regarding how best to measure progress toward the objectives of Victorian, National and WHO Strategies for viral hepatitis; and
- Provide recommendations around emerging priorities relating to viral hepatitis epidemiology, surveillance and research.
Doherty History and Governance
The Doherty Institute has created a governance structure that supports integration and fosters collaboration, strong leadership and management, creating a unified organisation. For specific information on the History and Governance of the Doherty Institute, see here.