Decision Will Ensure Continued Rigorous Aboriginal Health Research

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7th August 2009, 03:49pm - Views: 957

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Decision will ensure continued rigorous Aboriginal

health research

August 7 2009

The announcement by Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry Science and

Research that the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH)

will be funded for an additional five years has been welcomed by the Aboriginal

health research sector.

CRCAH Chair, Pat Anderson, said the decision would be welcomed by Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander people and all Australians concerned about the

continuing low life expectancies and other indicators of the current poor health

status of Aboriginal people.

CRCAH Executive Officer, Mick Gooda, said the decision reflects the quality and

application of CRCAH research work and the Australian Government’s continued

commitment to addressing the health inequity between Indigenous and other


“The CRCAH has provided an essential contribution to efforts to close the health

gap and I am extremely pleased that this has been acknowledged by Government

through the decision to fund us for another 5 years,” said Mick Gooda. “The

CRCAH has pioneered processes which ensure that Aboriginal people and on-

ground providers of Aboriginal health determine our research priorities and which

ensure a timely and effective transfer of research knowledge to inform policy and

clinical practice.

“The CRCAH brings together the cream of Australian health research institutions

including the University of Melbourne and its Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit,

the Queensland Institute for Medical Research, the Menzies School of Health

Research and Flinders University to design, conduct and promote solutions to

Aboriginal health challenges and we do it in a way the increases Aboriginal

capacity and leadership in health.

Mick Gooda said the CRCAH model importantly also included health delivery

agencies including the Australian Government Department of Health & Ageing and

the Northern Territory Department of Health & Families as well as two of the oldest

and most experienced Aboriginal Medical Services in Darwin’s Danila Dilba and

the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress.

“The Minister’s announcement guarantees the continued success of the CRCAH’s

collaborative model in providing evidence of what works and what doesn’t in

improving Aboriginal health outcomes,” said Mick Gooda.


CRCAH Research Director, Professor Ian Anderson said that the Minister’s

announcement would galvanise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

research sector in its efforts to establish a more permanent home for collaborative

research; the proposed National Institute for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander

Health Research (NIATSIHR).

“It is clear that policies aimed at closing the health gap need to be informed by the

sort of rigorous research undertaken by the CRCAH and that this challenge will

take more than the additional five years we’ve now been given,” said Professor

Anderson. “The proposed NIATSIHR will ensure the longer term survival of the

unique processes and networks established by the CRCAH over the next twenty

years. The University of Melbourne is very proud to join other founding members in

establishing the new Institute.”


Professor Anderson said the challenge for the CRCAH over the next five years will

be to build on what has been learned from our current research program and

continue to facilitate the education and training of a professional, skilled Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander Health workforce. 

“Overseas experience in closing the health differential gap has demonstrated

again and again the absolutely critical need for developing a professional

Indigenous health workforce and this will continue to be a priority for the next era

of the CRCAH and the NIATSIHR,” said Professor Anderson.

Professor Anderson said the new research program developed as part of the

application includes three main programs:

Healthy Start, Healthy Life: Research focused on reducing the

chronic illness risk across the life-course, improving early intervention

and chronic illness management 

Healthy Communities and Settings: Research focused on the

capacity of local communities and organisations to develop

interventions that address the determinants of health across a range of

local sectors and settings. 

Healthy Policy and Systems: Research enabling reform of policy and

programs, workforce development, and whole-of-government

approaches to Indigenous health.

Pat Anderson, Mick Gooda and Professor Anderson thanked the CRCAH partners

and the CRC Association for their critical support in putting together the successful

extension application.

For more information:

Alastair Harris CRCAH Communications 0409 658 177

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