Towards a national approach to improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Little is known about the availability of Indigenous-specific cancer support services, such as which models of care are most effective and which aspects of health service design and delivery could be modified to improve cancer outcomes.

In 2010, the Lowitja Institute in partnership with Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Menzies School of Health Research hosted a national roundtable with Associate Professor Gail Garvey and her team on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer research. This roundtable brought together almost 50 leaders in cancer research and cancer control, health care providers, palliative care providers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer survivors and education and training providers to the cancer control workforce.

The roundtable identified a number of broad research priorities but its strongest message was the need for ‘a nationally integrated approach where proposed research builds systematically on successive research initiatives and ensures effective communication and translation of evidence into practice. One important outcome from the roundtable was the establishment of the Centre for Research Excellence in Discovering Indigenous Strategies to improve Cancer Outcomes via Engagement Research Translation and Training (DISCOVER-TT).

This project has facilitated effective collaboration of Indigenous and and non-Indigenous researchers, service providers, clinicians and cancer survivors to address research priorities in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer.

This project has addressed these issues by:

  • Contributing to develop a national approach to improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. A major focus in this process has been increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership and capacity in this field.
  • Establishing the National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) through a partnership between Menzies School of Health Research, the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, the Lowitja Institute and Cancer Council Australia. NICaN aims to ensure that what’s known about cancer in Indigenous Australians is available for use by people with cancer, their families, practitioners, policy makers and researchers. This is achieved by using existing information, identifying knowledge gaps and encouraging and supporting collaboration in research and service provision.
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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land across Australia and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.