Chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, are critical drivers of premature mortality, and the 10 year life expectancy differential between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Cardiovascular mortality occurs between 5-10 times the rate in Indigenous Australians under the age of 50, and Type 2 diabetes occurs in up to 50 percent of Indigenous people over 50. The reasons for such stark disparities are incompletely understood.
Professor Brown will discuss how his programme at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) seeks to elucidate the factors driving disparities in CVD and diabetes risk, disease and mortality, and develop interventions that improve the management and prevention of chronic disease among Indigenous Australians. Their programme interests focus on (i) exploring the determinants of adverse outcomes using longitudinal cohorts, (ii) examining the inter-relationships between atherosclerosis, diabetes and psychosocial stress in high risk, disadvantaged communities, (iii) identifying biopsychosocial markers, causative mechanisms and targets for interventions, (iv) deploying novel interventions to alter premature cardiovascular disease and diabetes trajectories and (iv) translating these findings into direct policy and practice.
Despite the inherent challenges, the study of health, resilience and disease among Indigenous Australians offers critical windows of understanding into the rising epidemic of non-communicable diseases.
Professor Alex Brown
Deputy Director and Program Leader, Aboriginal Research
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI)
Professor Brown is an Aboriginal medical doctor and researcher with extensive experience in Aboriginal health research in rural and remote communities.
Professor Brown has established an extensive and unique research program focused on chronic disease in vulnerable communities, particularly on outlining and overcoming health disparities. He leads projects encompassing epidemiology, psychosocial determinants of chronic disease, mixed methods health services research in Aboriginal primary care and hospital settings, and randomised controlled trials of pharmacological and non-pharmacological chronic disease interventions.
Over the past five years he has been principal investigator on over $5 million of research grants and has extensive research collaborations with university, academic, primary care, Aboriginal community control services, international partners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community partners.
Professor Brown is co-chair of the $160 million Indigenous Health Research Fund, a national research initiative to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The 10-year research program is funded from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and is the first national research fund led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Professor Brown is an Honorary Senior Principle Research Fellow at the Charles Perkins Centre.
Banner art: Janganpa Jukurrpa (Brush-tailed Possum Dreaming) by Phyllis Napurrurla Williams
Source: Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, Edith Cowan University
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