A $7.5 million boost for First Nations communities health and wellbeing

The Australian Government is investing in Indigenous-led clinical trial and cohort studies to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Senator the Hon Malarndirri McCarthy
Assistant Minister for Indigenous Health

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The Albanese Labor Government is investing in Indigenous-led clinical trial and cohort studies to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Research projects focused on improving the health and wellbeing of First Nations Australians will receive over $7.5 million through the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants scheme

Among the successful recipients is Ms Karen Glover from the University of Adelaide/South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. She will receive over $3.6 million for a project that aims to strengthen Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people’s social and emotional wellbeing.

Ms Glover will lead a research team to translate the knowledge gained into implementable, co-designed actions across primary health care, mental health, housing, education, and social care sectors to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and families.

Professor Raymond Lovett and his team from The Australian National University will receive nearly $1.8 million to create a world-first Indigenous wellbeing index to inform policy, services and programs that meet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples wellbeing needs.

Professor Lovett will lead an Indigenous team with extensive experience in large scale cohort study development, and a track record of producing results that improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes. 

Associate Professor Odette Pearson from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute will receive over $2 million to lead a team of Indigenous researchers and cancer experts to establish an Aboriginal Cancer Cohort.

The program of research, governed by a South Australian Aboriginal Steering Committee, will identify priority areas for addressing disparities that will have the greatest impact on reducing inequalities and improving outcomes for cancer diagnoses among Aboriginal people.

These projects are part of a broader investment into 25 high-quality national clinical trials and cohort studies, totalling over $77 million in funding from the NHMRC. 

A full list of funding outcomes for the NHMRC Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grant scheme 2023 is available on the Outcomes of funding rounds webpage.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Health, Senator The Hon Malarndirri McCarthy:

“This funding will support important work that will contribute to our efforts in closing the gap and improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“First Nations focused research, led by Indigenous investigators, is crucial in enhancing our knowledge of Aboriginal determinants of health, and will help ensure culturally safe healthcare services, policies and programs.”

Quotes attributable to NHMRC CEO, Professor Steve Wesselingh:

“In clinical trials and cohort studies, research teams work to establish a solid evidence base required for better clinical care and outcomes, as well as improved health and wellbeing services, practices, and policies.

“These Indigenous-led teams will investigate an array of health conditions and concerns, producing culturally safe, implementable outcomes.”

Quotes attributable to Ms Karen Glover, University of Adelaide/South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute:

“The study will provide evidence to inform co-design and implementation of responses to intergenerational and complex trauma spanning health, education, and social care sectors, including strategies to promote resilience, healing and recovery for young people and their mothers and other primary caregivers.

“The study will provide new evidence to inform first line responses in the health, education and social care sectors; and strategies to promote resilience, healing and recovery across the life course.”

Quotes attributable to Professor Raymond Lovett, ANU:

“This project will provide new evidence and tools to strengthen health policy, programs, and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“The Indigenous quality of wellbeing utility index will provide communities, researchers, and policymakers with the means to understand a greater diversity of determinants, including cultural and historical factors. This index will strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of programs and services.”

Quotes attributable to Associate Professor Odette Pearson, SAHMRI:

“Our study will establish an Aboriginal cancer cohort by creating a unique state-wide dataset that will inform effective early detection, treatment and survivorship programs and system responses.

“Findings in relation to each of our aims will be pivotal for informing decision making that, for Aboriginal people, achieves earlier detection of cancers, better cancer service experiences, more comprehensive cancer care, longer survival and greater quality of life.”

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