The historic $160 million Indigenous Health Research Fund, announced at SAHMRI today, will be overseen by the institute’s Aboriginal Health Equity Theme Leader and Deputy Director, Professor Alex Brown.
Professor Brown says his role as co-chair of the fund’s advisory panel is a great honour and responsibility.
“Health and social inequity, as experienced by Indigenous Australians, stands as one of our nation’s greatest challenges,” he said.
“Only through dedicated, collaborative, adequately resourced action, led by community priorities and processes, can we hope to make meaningful change.
“Our collective job is to unlock the expertise and capabilities of the Indigenous community, backing the brightest and most gifted scientists and medical researchers and their institutions to make a more equitable future for all Australians.”
In announcing the initial 10-year research program fund, the Federal Minister for Health, The Honourable Greg Hunt MP, says parity in health outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is the only acceptable goal.
“The right research into improved treatments and services has the potential to dramatically accelerate the progress we have seen over the past six years in achieving better health for Indigenous Australians,” he said.
“The research into improving the system is critical, but we are also absolutely committed to delivering real, on-the-ground improvements and frontline services right now.”
The Indigenous Health Research Fund will be the first national research fund led by Indigenous people, operating with close engagement of Indigenous communities.
Professor Brown will co-chair the fund’s advisory panel with Professor Misty Jenkins from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. The remainder of the panel is yet to be finalised but will comprise prominent Indigenous research experts and community leaders.
The fund will focus on projects across five key areas - guaranteeing a healthy start to life, improving primary health care, overcoming the origins of inequality in health, reducing the burden of disease, and addressing emerging challenges.