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QIMR Berghofer to host NAIDOC Week health forum

QIMR Berghofer will host a public forum dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health during NAIDOC Week.

The free forum Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health – A National Priority will be held at the Institute on Tuesday 7 July from 10am to midday.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Manager Greg Pratt said the forum is an example of QIMR Berghofer’s commitment to improving the health standards of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“The Institute has a long history of research into health problems affecting Indigenous Australians and its current research directions are aligned with some of their most pressing medical issues,” Mr Pratt said.

“Mental illness, cancer, infectious diseases and a range of chronic conditions represent an enormous personal, social and financial burden for the Indigenous community, and these are areas QIMR Berghofer is focussed on.”

“The Institute is poised to become one of the most comprehensive whole-of-life Indigenous health research centres in Australia.”

Researcher Linda Medlin will address the forum on respiratory illness, the second leading cause of hospitalisation for Indigenous Australians behind dialysis care.

“Respiratory illness is the fourth highest cause of death amongst Indigenous Australians, and acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) are very prevalent among young Indigenous children,” she said.

“The mortality rate for Indigenous infants with respiratory disease is 11 times higher than for non-Indigenous infants.”

Other keynote speakers will include epidemiologist Daniel Williamson, the manager of Queensland Health’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Unit.

He was a contributing author to the report: The burden of disease and injury in Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2014.

Justin Chapman, from QIMR Berghofer’s Systems Neuroscience group, will explain why increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour is important for physical and emotional wellbeing.

For more information about the forum or to RSVP telephone 1800 993 000.