New research into health of aboriginal kids

09/08/05

New research into the most successful strategies for health promotion and prevention of illness in young Aboriginal children has received funding from the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI) at ANU.

Professor Ross Bailie of the Menzies School of Health Research will investigate the evidence-base for health promotion in Aboriginal communities.

"We have managed to lower the infant mortality rate in Aboriginal children quite substantially, and prevent kids from dying in their first few months, but then we are sending these kids back to poor communities where health services are struggling to address the socio-economic and environmental issues that are threatening these kids' health.

"We are looking for reports of experience that will help us understand how services can be developed to address these issues," he said.

Alice Springs-based Associate Professor John Wakerman, from the Centre for Remote Health, a joint Centre of Flinders University and Charles Darwin University, has received funding to investigate models of care in rural and remote Australia.

Professor Wakerman aims to establish what research has been done into models of care and which models have proved successful. The results of this study should establish an evidence-base of models that could be used in the future.

"Since the first National Rural Health Strategy in 1994, there has been a decade of rural and remote health service innovation and reform in Austrailia. The problem in rural and remote primary health care service development is not lack of innovation, but failure to properly evaluate and gleaning the lessons from this change and generalise them."

These projects are two of 12 projects around the nation funded by the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute (APHCRI) based at ANU, in its second major funding round for 2005.

The Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute was set up as part of a Federal Government strategy to improve the knowledge base in primary health care policy. This is the Institute's fourth funding round of research into primary health care.

Each of the 12 projects will be funded for 12 months with results expected in September next year. Funding in this round totalled $1,724,200.

APHCRI Director, Professor Nicholas Glasgow, said the Institute was taking an innovative approach to research. "APHCRI will bring policy makers and researchers together in the early stages of the their work to refine research questions and improve the collaboration between the two diverse groups," he said.

"This aims to make research more relevant to policy formulation in primary health care."

The new stream of research would be able to react quickly to relevant policy questions, with an end result of improving health care outcomes for Australians, he said.

APHCRI Research Advisory Board Chairman, Professor John Marley, congratulated the successful applicants.

"It's great to see so many researchers from all over Australia come together in this body of work. I look forward to seeing the results of their research and the development of APHCRI's approach, bringing the research and policy communities together."

Source: Eurekalert & others

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