NAIDOC WEEK: Indigenous health research

Nov 11 2020

It is NAIDOC Week.

HMRI is committed to helping researchers to undertake research that translates to better treatments and better access to health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

To mark and celebrate NAIDOC Week, here is a snapshot of some of the recent Indigenous health related initiatives HMRI, its partners and its researchers have been undertaking.

MRFF grant for Indigenous kid’s ear health

Associate Professor Kelvin Kong this year received a five year, $1,12M, Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) grant to explore a telehealth ear, nose and throat (ENT) model, based in metropolitan, rural and regional Aboriginal community controlled health services, enabling improvement in Aboriginal children’s access to specialist ENT care and a reduction in the waiting time for treatment during the vital years of early childhood ear and hearing health. The Indigenous-led telehealth research will create an efficient, culturally appropriate hearing health care model for all Indigenous Australians.

HMRI is providing an office in its building for the research program, named in honour of Associate Professor Kong. The space will include Indigenous art and be a public focal point of the importance of Indigenous health research.

Associate Professor Kong was last month appropriately profiled in the prestigious international medical publication – The Lancet – as a trail blazer for Indigenous health in Australia.



Tailored support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers to quit smoking and improve family health

Research Associate with the University of Newcastle and HMRI affiliated researcher, Dr Parivash Eftekhari, is running a first-of-its kind program to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers to quit smoking when their partner is pregnant, or if they have young children at home. The Partners and Paternal Aboriginal Smokers' (PAPAS) project is key in improving children’s health by supporting fathers to have smoke-free homes.



Indigenous Health: Eliminating the Gap Seminar

In July, in what is the traditional date for NAIDOC Week, HMRI hosted an Indigenous Health: Eliminating the Gap virtual community seminar. With HMRI researcher Dr Michelle Bovill as emcee,  the event featured presentations by University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Strategy and Development, Nathan Towney, and Hunter New England Health ear nose and throat surgeon and HMRI affiliated researcher, Associate Professor Kelvin Kong . You can view the recording of the seminar to the discussion on work that’s being done in the Hunter to eliminate the gap in Indigenous health to benefit communities nationwide.



HMRI’s Indigenous health researchers and their research interests

All of HMRI’s research is about improving the health and well being of all Australians – Indigenous and non-indigenous. Here are some of HMRI’s researchers who are undertaking specific research to benefit Indigenous Australians.

Kelvin Kong - Indigenous Australian children’s health particularly ear infections.

Kirsty Pringle - Chronic kidney disease in Indigenous Australians and how this may contribute to pregnancy outcomes such as preeclampsia and producing a small-for-gestational-age baby.

Michelle Bovill - Social determinants of health and closing the gap.  Smoking cessation.

Andrew Searles - Using health economics to inform and evaluate research to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly in remote Australia.

Gillian Gould – Culturally competent ways to help Indigenous women to quit smoking during pregnancy.


HMRI and its researchers acknowledge that they are based on, and conduct research on, traditional lands, and pay their respects to elders – past present and emerging.