$2.5m to examine why health programs have failed Aboriginal people

July 29, 2010

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Murdoch University’s Professor Rhonda Marriott and Associate Professor Cheryl Kickett-Tucker are part of a new research team that will examine why the majority of health and social services have failed to bring about any significant improvement in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

The Perth Telethon Institute for Child Health Research project has been awarded a prestigious Centres of Research Excellence award that will provide $2.5 million in funding over five years.

Professor Marriott said the core goal of the program would be to investigate characteristics of services that do work to develop a strong evidence base for future health service delivery for Aboriginal people.

"One aim is to generate high quality research evidence to improve service delivery, cultural competence and individual and organisational capacity in the Aboriginal health field," she said.

"The National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence grant ‘From marginalised to empowered: transformative methods for Aboriginal health and wellbeing’ will generate vital information to help close the gap.

"We will be working alongside Glenn Pearson, Fiona Stanley, Julie Coffin, Dawn Bessarab, Michael Wright, Pat Dudgeon, Roz Walker and Sandra Eades."

Glenn Pearson is head of the Institute’s Aboriginal Kulunga Research Network, he said the research will look at cultural and other factors, such as racism, in how services are delivered and received by Aboriginal people.

"We won’t just be comparing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal outcomes, we’ll focus on the disparity between Aboriginal communities in the hope that we can identify why some programs and services are more effective than others," he said.

Eight of the 10 team members undertaking these studies are post-doctoral and doctoral Aboriginal researchers.

Institute Director Professor Fiona Stanley said the innovative research program would generate vital information to help close the gap and that said Aboriginal people were best placed to lead this type of research.

"Aboriginal families deal with these frustrations on a daily basis. I am very proud that eight post-doctoral and doctoral Aboriginal researchers will be undertaking these important studies," Professor Stanley said.

"The key issue to be addressed in this program is why the majority of health and social services have failed to bring about any significant improvements in the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

"It’s time to get to the core of why these programs aren’t working and find out what it is about those that do deliver that makes them effective."

Comments (One response)

Juanita Sherwood November 10, 2010

Congrats, excellent project focus and one that is absoultely necessary. I have emailed my completed thesis to you as I think it supports the context of this work
Juanita Sherwood

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