Injury prevention for indigenous children

October 18, 2005

The George Institute for International Health has today announced a newly-funded study that will address one of Australia's key health priorities, injury prevention and control amongst Indigenous communities.

Injury is one of the leading causes of death, illness and disability amongst Indigenous Australians, with a higher incidence than that of non-Indigenous populations, while Indigenous youth and children are particularly at risk.

The George Institute's Safe Koori Kids study will collect and examine injury data, identify risk factors, as well as design, implement and evaluate prevention strategies with the aim of applying culturally relevant and sustainable interventions for Indigenous children and youth in school and community environments.

Principal researcher, Dr Kathleen Clapham, a leading Indigenous researcher at The George Institute, said that "The causative factors of injuries among Indigenous populations has received almost no research attention, yet Indigenous children and youth are currently over-represented in intentional and unintentional injury statistics. The study will be focussing on injury in selected urban Indigenous communities in New South Wales."

Recent reports have documented the negative impact on families and communities, however no studies to date offer sustainable and culturally acceptable solutions to the problem. There is a need for innovative approaches to strengthen the capacity of Indigenous led initiatives. The research explores and builds on Indigenous and mainstream models of resilience that empower and strengthen capacity for injury prevention. The research involves the development of partnerships between Indigenous researchers, Indigenous communities, organisations, and government.

National Health and Medical Research Council funding of the study was announced earlier this week at the launch of Research Australia's 2005 "Thank You" Day program. Now in its third year "Thank You" Day aims to bring the community together in showing appreciation for the amazing achievements of Australia's health and medical researchers.

The study is a collaboration between The George Institute for International Health and Yooroang Garang: School of Indigenous Health Studies at the University of Sydney.

Over a three year period, the research will explore the incidence and impact of injury in Indigenous communities and collaborate with Indigenous schools, families and communities and make recommendations for changes to policy and practice that will benefit health and safety in Indigenous communities.
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You can send your personal message of thanks to researchers whose work is special to you from 10 October to 10 November. Go to www.thankyouday.org or SMS 0428THANKS.

To obtain a copy of the study synopsis, or arrange interviews, contact Emma Eyles, Public Affairs Officer, The George Institute for International Health on ph: +612 9993 4592, email: eeyles@thegeorgeinstitute.org or visit The George Institute website at www.thegeorgeinstitute.org.

Research Australia

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