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Minister Wyatt: Central Research a Hub of Hope for Indigenous Health

4 Jul 2017

Media release

A unique consortium bringing together Aboriginal community controlled health services and leading medical researchers will spearhead efforts to close the health gap in Central Australia.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt today congratulated the 11 organisations partnering in the new Central Australia Academic Health Science Centre (CAAHSC).

“This centre is a hub of hope for the future,” Minister Wyatt said. “Its unique makeup - led by the Aboriginal community controlled health service sector – is a step in the right direction that I believe will show the way in indigenous health improvement.

“Aboriginal leadership is fundamental to success in this field, and this also applies to quickly translating research into results on the ground.

“It’s appropriate that Aboriginal people take ownership of research and review of programs and services for Aboriginal health, as well as the design and development of improvements.”

CAAHSC has just been accredited by the National Health and Medical Research Council as one of Australia’s first Centres for Innovation in Regional Health. It will receive $222,000 in seed funding from the Medical Research Future Fund’s Rapid Applied Research Translation program.

“This well-deserved recognition has been won through landmark research, ranging from strategies to combat diabetes in pregnancy and viral infections to the impact of remote art centres on community health,” Minister Wyatt said.

The partners in CAAHSC have identified five research priorities, all focussed on comprehensive primary health care:

  • chronic conditions;
  • health determinants and risk factors
  • health services research;
  • policy research and evaluation
  • workforce and capacity building

“Together, these themes promise huge potential to start turning around the trend that sees many Aboriginal people becoming ill and dying too young,” Minister Wyatt said.

Mr Wyatt said Centres for Innovation in Regional Health were one of two new types of collaborative research organisations to share in the Medical Research Future Fund’s $10 million Rapid Applied Research Translation program.

The Turnbull Government’s investment in the centre would help provide an economic driver for prosperity in Central Australia’s health services and should attract further support from the Northern Territory Government and other funding sources.

“This Central Australia CIRH will ensure that strategic research for Indigenous Australians’ health receives the investment it deserves,” Mr Wyatt said.

“As the name implies, the objective is to evaluate problems and find practical solutions fast, to prevent health problems and give speedy but lasting benefits to patients within community.”

The 11 CAAHSC partners are:

  • Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, the peak body for Aboriginal community controlled health services in the NT
  • Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Australia’s premier research institute focussed on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related disorders
  • Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation, the largest Aboriginal community controlled health service in the NT
  • Central Australia Health Services, which provides primary and tertiary health services across Central Australia
  • Charles Darwin University, the only university with its base in the Northern Territory
  • Flinders University including its Centre for Remote Health and the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health and Wellbeing
  • Menzies School of Health Research, specialising in Indigenous and tropic health research. Menzies is a body corporate of the NT Government, and is a school within Charles Darwin University’s Institute of Advanced Studies
  • Ngaanyatjarra Health Service which provides comprehensive health care services in the Ngaanyatjarra lands in Western Australia
  • Council of Remote Area Nurses of Australia, which supports and educates health professionals working in remote areas

Find out more

Visit the minister's website to view the original media release and access a PDF version.

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