Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander
Health

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material.

Manager of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health:
Greg Pratt

QIMR Berghofer is acknowledging the significant health disparity between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians, by conducting research in priority areas with the aim of reducing the burden of illness for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

37 % of QIMR Berghofer research is dedicated to diseases that have a higher incidence in Indigenous Australians.

QIMR Berghofer’s Indigenous health research program is focused on ensuring that research activities with implications for Indigenous health are sustainable, consultative, and translational. Overall, the aim is to deliver research outcomes that translate to improvement in the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians.

Strategies to success

The program aims to demonstrate leadership and collaboration in the area of Indigenous health research through activities that:

  • Innovate: Raise the profile of Indigenous health research within QIMR Berghofer and the community
  • Assure: Cultural competence of QIMR Berghofer with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research
  • Support: Maintain an active presence on matters relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
  • Mentor: Train Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students of QIMR Berghofer
  • Network: Maintain strong connections with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research community
  • Deliver: Collaborate to stimulate research for the betterment of the health and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians

QIMR Berghofer recognises that community consultation is integral to supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to overcome disparity in their health.

We are committed to demonstrating integrity and supporting the development of culturally competent personnel and processes that reflect an appreciation of the importance of culture and community.

The QIMR Berghofer Indigenous Health Research Program has established two committees to advise (internally and externally) the Indigenous research at the Institute:

  • Indigenous Health Research Committee, comprised of members of the QIMR Berghofer research faculty
  • External Advisory Group, comprised of members with noted expertise in the areas of service provision, policy development and research

Greg Pratt, Manager of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research

Greg is an Aboriginal man and descendant of the Brown family of the Noonucal tribe of the Quandamooka people of Stradbroke Island. He is a family man, a husband and father to four (three boys and one girl). He spent much of his childhood years with the Ghughuyalanghi people of Cape York, growing up in the township of Laura. With the support of his community and his family, Greg undertook study at the University of Southern Queensland, where he later graduated with a degree in psychology.

With an interest in people, mental health and social and emotional wellbeing, Greg spent his post graduate years working in rural New South Wales as an Indigenous mental health practitioner.

Since then, Greg has worked in both community and government sectors, in policy development, service delivery and project management. Before commencing with the QIMR Berghofer in December 2012, Greg was with the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health in Cairns and the Health Quality and Complaints Commission in Brisbane. Greg is passionate about community empowerment, emphasising strength based approaches to change motivation and the ability of Indigenous Australia to lead the way with respect to better health and wellbeing.

 

Corey Jones, Communication Projects Officer, Indigenous Health Research Program

Corey has a professional background in Public Health and Health Promotion and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Public Health. He has a passion for health promotion and education, community development, social justice and advocacy; having previously worked with vulnerable/at risk populations in the alcohol and other drug health service sector.

Corey now serves as the Communication Projects Officer for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Program. He coordinates QIMR Berghofer’s Regional High School Lecture Series program; a health science communication and education initiative for the benefit of both indigenous and non-indigenous High School students across regional Queensland.

Additionally, Corey works in a research assistant capacity on several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health research projects, and coordinates a number of internal and external engagements and events for the program.

 

Christina Bernardes, Project Officer, Indigenous Health Research Program/Cancer & Chronic Disease Research Group

Christina Bernardes, RN, PostGradDipPH and Management of Human Resources, PhD, is a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Unit and the Cancer and Chronic Disease Research Group at QIMR Berghofer. Her research has focused on better understanding and improving cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In particular, she has expertise in investigating supportive care needs and patterns of care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer.

Christina is currently working on a Clinical Yarning project that seeks to improve communication and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with chronic pain.

 

Victoria Donoghue, Project Officer, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Victoria has a background working for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom as a transformation project manager for numerous community diabetes services.

Her work focused on improving diabetes treatment targets  for patients, implementing new integrated care models, building relationships and changing culture within health care settings while achieving specific project goals.

Victoria is currently working alongside different communities across Queensland to seek input around workforce needs and service utilisation, to co-design  a culturally safe genetic health referral pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to access genetic health services.

Kushla Houkamau

Kushla is a proud Aboriginal woman of the Noonucal tribe of the Quandamooka people of Stradbroke Island.

She is currently in her second year of Bachelors of Biomedical Science, and aspires to complete her medical degree afterwards.

Kushla is currently works as a Community Based Recruitment Officer on the Clinical Yarning project; which seeks to improve communication and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with chronic pain.

 

Caitlin King

Caitlin is an Aboriginal descendant of the Gumbaynggirr people of Northern New South Wales. She is currently in her third year of study of Bachelor of Biomedical 

Caitlin is working as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander trainee for the Pharmacogenomics Diversity Project.Science with an interest in Genetics.

 

 

Kristina Spears

Kristina recently graduated from university with a Bachelor of Biomedical Science. She hopes to continue her studies in the field of Pharmacology and work in the research industry.

As a proud Kamilaroi woman, Kristina is passionate about improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes and giving back to the community around her.

 

 

Judith Milliken

I am university educated, an articulate Yuin Nations Aboriginal woman.  This covers the Sapphire Coastal area of NSW and inland to forested areas of Monaro mountain country.  I lived and worked in Queensland for 40 years.  I have a long history of employment in the health sector from Child and Youth Mental Health, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (A&TSI) workforces across all diciplines and levels.

My work has involved participatory action research to achieve developing sustainable, successful needs based incentive programs to encourage higher education in health related fields.  Growing future researchers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforces leads to improved access into Health Services.  The ultimate aim, efficiently leading to Closing the Gap (CTG) in health and life expectancy disparities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other peoples in Australia through.

It is my privilege to be employed at QIMR Berghofer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research as a Project Coordinator.  Pharmacogenomics is the way of the future offering a different approach to medicine going forward and the opportunity to effectively CTG.  My ultimate goal is to be a part of the change and new ways of being in genetics that can make a difference in the lives of my people and see the disparities in health and life expectancy become more than rhetoric, to be a reality.  I believe this would be my most rewarding and biggest achievement.