$6 million earmarked for research into Indigenous Health Research

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Nearly $6 million in grants have been allocated to New Zealand universities researching the health of indigenous people.

The funding comes through the International Collaborative Indigenous Health Research Partnership (ICIHRP), a tri-nation initiative between The Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC), the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia, and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

The University of Auckland’s Department of Maori and Pacific Health was granted $1,475,884 over three years to look at how heart disease in indigenous people was managed, while the university’s School of Population Health was awarded $1,977,857 over five years to explore how health professional education could improve outcomes for indigenous populations.

The University of Otago’s Ngai Tahu Maori Health Research Unit was granted $2,352,328 over five years to look at health inequalities arising from chronic dental disease among indigenous children.

“It has been a tremendous journey working together for all three countries funding agencies to get to this point in the process,” HRC chief executive Robin Olds said.

“The calibre of applications was impressive and we are pleased to support such high quality indigenous-led research projects aimed at improving the health of indigenous peoples across New Zealand, Australia and Canada.”

The Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) has announced funding for
three exciting projects through the International Collaborative Indigenous Health
Research Partnership (ICIHRP) scheme.
The projects range from improving oral health in a research trial, to exploring how
enhancing education for health professionals can reduce chronic disease and
improve outcomes for indigenous populations.
The ICIHRP is a joint initiative between the HRC, the National Health and Medical
Research Council in Australia, and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
It has been a tremendous journey working together for all three countries funding
agencies to get to this point in the process. The calibre of applications was
impressive and we are pleased to support such high quality indigenous-led research
projects aimed at improving the health of indigenous peoples across New Zealand,
Australia and Canada, says HRC Chief Executive, Dr Robin Olds.
Details of the grant recipients projects are outlined below.
International Collaborative Indigenous Health Research Partnership
Lead Investigator: Dr Sue Crengle (New Zealand)
Title: Strengthening health literacy among Indigenous people living with cardiovascular
disease, their families, and health care providers
Total: $1,475,884 over three years
Cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes are major causes of illness
and death among Indigenous people in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
Patients and families play a major role in managing heart disease and stroke. To do
this well people must be able to access, understand and act on information for health.
This is called health literacy.
Dr Crengles team will work with indigenous primary care services to develop and
implement a programme with patients and families that will increase knowledge of
medications, increase confidence and ability to self-manage cardiovascular disease,
and increase empowerment in interactions with health workers. The programme
will also increase health workers knowledge of health literacy and their skills for
working with people with high health literacy needs. Five health provider sites in
New Zealand, Australia and Canada will participate with 100 patients and families at
each site.
News Release
Lead Investigator: Dr Rhys Jones (New Zealand)
Title: Educating for equity: Exploring how health professional education can reduce
disparities in chronic disease care and improve outcomes for Indigenous populations.
Total: $1,977,857 over five years
Indigenous people in New Zealand, Australia and Canada experience a greater
burden of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and mental illness than
non-indigenous people. This is partly due to differences in access to health care and
in the standard of care received between indigenous and non-indigenous people.
One way to address health professionals clinical decision making, communication
and engagement with patients and families is through education of current and
future health professionals, yet there is currently little known about how education
can influence these health professional factors or what approaches work best.
This project is about comparing, building and sharing experiences and approaches to
indigenous health teaching and learning in the area of chronic disease.
Lead Investigator: Associate Professor John Broughton (New Zealand)
Title: Reducing disease burden and health inequalities arising from chronic dental disease
among Indigenous children: an early childhood caries intervention
Total: $2,352,328 over five years
Child dental disease experience (Early Childhood Caries; ECC) causes profound
suffering, frequently requiring expensive treatment under a general anaesthetic. It is
associated with other chronic childhood conditions such as otitis media and
nutritional disorders, and is the strongest predictor of poor oral health in adulthood.
Despite ECC being entirely preventable, marked ECC disparities exist between
Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
If the burden of ECC and associated oral health inequalities experienced by
indigenous children in these nations are to be reduced, more needs to be done to
ensure that appropriate preventive measures, together with support for maintaining
optimal oral health, are provided to carers of such children in the early life stages.
ENDS
Dr Robin Olds
HRC Chief Executive
Tel: 09 303 5204
Mobile: 021 966 324
rolds@hrc.govt.nz
OR Kristine Scherp
HRC Manager Communications
kscherp@hrc.govt.nz
About the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC)
The HRC is the Crown agency responsible for the management of the Governments
investment in public good health research. Ownership of the HRC resides with the
Minister of Health, with funding being primarily provided from Vote Research,
Science and Technology. A Memorandum of Understanding between the two
Ministers sets out this relationship.
Established under the Health Research Council Act 1990, the HRC’s statutory
functions include:
? advising the Minister and administering funds in relation to national health
research policy;
? fostering the recruitment, education, training, and retention of those engaged in
health research in New Zealand;
? initiating and supporting health research;
? undertaking consultation to establish priorities in health research;
? promoting and disseminating the results of health research to encourage their
contribution to health science, policy and delivery, and
? ensuring the development and application of appropriate assessment standards
by committees or subcommittees that assess health research proposals

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