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Researchers addressing Indigenous chronic disease

Published:15 July 2014

Bidgerdii Community Health Service's Thalep Ahmat, CQUniversity Professor Bronwyn Fredericks and CQ Medicare Local's Karen Mills discuss the allocation of a grant to explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, experiences and perceptions of chronic disease conditions.

CQUniversity researchers were recently awarded a grant of $45,194 from CQ Medicare Local to explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, experiences and perceptions of chronic disease conditions in the greater Rockhampton region.

Professor Bronwyn Fredericks, Dr Pamela CroftWarcon, Dr Susan Kinnear and Julie Mann will lead the work and invite other researchers with specialist health knowledge to assist.

The researchers will work closely with CQ Medicare Local, the Bidgerdii Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service and other organisations.

The gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians is currently estimated to be 12 years for males and 10 years for females, with chronic disease a major contributor to this life expectancy gap for adults.

"This project will contribute new, much-needed information to the current literature, as well as assisting a broad range of other stakeholders to address the levels of chronic disease that lead to the gap in health status and life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians," said Professor Fredericks, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement) and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Chair in Indigenous Engagement.

"Over 6% of the resident population of Central Queensland are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people and have a lower level of health than non-Indigenous residents," Professor Fredericks said.

"This research work will assist in informing regionally-relevant approaches to chronic disease prevention along with training of the workforce in the care and management of Indigenous people with chronic diseases."