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Launch of the new Centre for Research Excellence: Indigenous Health and Alcohol

Date posted: 3 August 2017

The new Centre for Research Excellence: Indigenous Health and Alcohol has been launched this week.

The Centre represents a unique effort to build, grow and support an emerging generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers to develop solutions to alcohol-related harm in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Led by the University of Sydney's Professor Kate Conigrave, it is a national alliance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, health services, clinicians and researchers to develop workforce development, prevention and treatment programs.

Uniting the skills and experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous leaders in the health, teaching, research and policy sectors, the Centre will expand programs that have shown promise in reducing risky drinking, improving mental health and increasing empowerment in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

'Critically, this program is founded on strong partnerships with Aboriginal community-controlled health services, communities and health professionals across Australia,' Professor Conigrave said. 'It represents an exciting opportunity that unites leading Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers, clinicians and policy experts across the country. This field has been characterised by piecemeal efforts to address alcohol-related problems but clearly needs a broad range of integrated actions.'

Speaking at the launch, the University of Sydney’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Michael Spence said the Centre was about leadership and partnership. 'This new Centre is not about people being studied. It is about people finding genuine solutions together,' he said. 'This is critical because we will never know what it means to be authentically Australian educators until we see a genuine partnership between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.'

Aboriginal Co-Chief Investigator of the new centre, Adjunct Associate Professor Scott Wilson, underlined the need for responses that account for the array of social, cultural, psychological and economic issues underlying alcohol-related harm in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 'This is an ambitious program that will draw together a broad range of responses,' said Associate Professor Wilson, who is also Director of the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council, South Australia. 'These include assistance for unhealthy drinking in Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services; treatment and aftercare for alcohol dependence in other settings; grass-roots community-led prevention; and improving research methods.'

Associate Professor Noel Hayman, an Aboriginal Co-Chief Investigator and Clinical Director of the Inala Indigenous Health Service in Brisbane, added 'The Centre will provide much needed research in building evidence-based culturally sensitive models of care for addressing risky drinking for Indigenous Australians attending general practice settings.'

Source: The University of Sydney

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Last updated: 3 August 2017
 
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Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute