Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt AM has officially launched an Australian-first centre to boost Aboriginal health by fast-tracking social and cultural research.
Minister Wyatt said Murdoch University’s Ngangk Yira Aboriginal Health and Social Equity Research Centre promises new methods of tackling Closing the Gap challenges.
“This unique centre aligns strongly with the Turnbull Government’s holistic, whole-of-life approach to improving First Peoples’ health,” said Minister Wyatt.
“Ngangk Yira means ‘rising sun’ in Noongar and aims to expose and reduce the broader social inequities that affect the health of many of our people.
“Targeting and understanding the social and cultural determinants of health is crucial, because these factors can account for up to half the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.”
Minister Wyatt said the new centre would focus on practical health solutions, including research into the importance of cultural respect, education and equality.
“Ngangk Yira’s Birthing on Noongar Boodjar study has already revealed a shortage of culturally secure maternity care in hospitals,” Minister Wyatt said.
“The centre’s work is about giving children the best start in life and the opportunity to reach their full potential as they grow into adults.”
Minister Wyatt is Patron of the new centre. Co-Patron is Fiona Stanley AC.
Research will be conducted by Aboriginal researchers, in partnership with other Australian and international experts in maternal health, youth resilience and mental health.
Ngangk Yira studies will be carried out in close consultation with Aboriginal elders.