Last updated: 01 Aug, 2017

Elevate is an initiative of VicHealth that explores ways to improve health equity through the VicHealth Community Challenge.

What is Elevate?

VicHealth’s vision is for a Victoria where all people have the means to a good and healthy life, regardless of cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, income, educational attainment, occupation or location.  

Elevate seeks to promote health equity by enabling innovative thinking and the design of new solutions at community, inter-organisation, or population levels. Elevate aims to transform the drivers of health inequity by working with communities.


Why ‘Elevate’ ideas?

Large scale issues, such as health inequity, need collaborative solutions and a network to make change happen. By networking individual ideas through this approach we can transform discrete ideas into meaningful action. By facilitating connections and offering tailored support around these ideas we can set them up for greater impact.

Our approach draws on learnings from successful incubator, accelerator and innovation lab programs from across the world, with a firm focus on collaboration and networking as the method to transform individual ideas, elevating them into action.


How will it work?

There are three stages to Elevate:

Stage 1 – Imagining a new future

In October 2015 we engaged 35 thought leaders in a conversation to imagine a new future by exploring key questions: 

  1. What are the most important structural changes we need to make to improve health equity?
  2. Who would we need to bring together to make the change?
  3. How can we overcome differences of opinion?
  4. How can we engage the community to build solutions?
  5. What collective resources can we unlock?


We used the Delphi method, a structured communication process that is used to reach a consensus from a diverse group of people. Findings from this conversation resulted in the identification of potential key themes to focus a project on. These included:

  • Unequal access to resources and infrastructure to create a good life
  • The absence of dedicated, health equity leadership across Victoria and Australia
  • The need for culture change at both a local and practitioner level to better understand health equity
  • The role power plays in perpetuating unequal access to resources and health inequity.


After connecting with the Latrobe Valley community via the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry, and following suggestions from several of the Delphi participants, we decided to engage the Latrobe Valley community to see if implementation of stages two and three of Elevate in the Latrobe Valley were of interest. The answer was yes.

Evidence tells us that when communities are empowered, particularly in decision making, health outcomes improve. A key determinant of health equity and a priority area identified in the Health Improvement report of the Mine Fire Inquiry is access to employment. As such, stages two and three the Elevate pilot will explore how we can support the Latrobe Valley community to start or scale community led ventures that will grow local employment through the VicHealth Community Challenge.

Stage 2 – Strengthen ideas with an expert network

In April, VicHealth invited the Latrobe Valley community to contribute ideas for community owned initiatives to grow employment in the region. Residents of the Latrobe Valley will have the opportunity to share and workshop their ideas to progress them with the community.

Stage 3 – Elevate ideas with tailored, expert attention

Up to three ideas, prioritised by the community will be provided with two months of tailored support to kickstart the ideas into action. One idea, that is seen to be the most sustainable and feasible will be given a cornerstone fund of $20,000 to help see their idea through.

For further information about the second phase of Elevate go to the VicHealth Community Challenge page.


Elevate is an initiative of VicHealth, delivered with the support of Spark Strategy.