New medical alliance to target Indigenous health gap in city areas

10 June 2022

Professor James Ward, Director of UQ’s Poche Centre for Indigenous Health spoke to Brisbane Times about the new research Alliance for Urban Goori Health.

Through the alliance, researchers from UQ will partner with the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) and Metro North Health to improve outcomes for Indigenous residents in Brisbane’s inner city and the city’s north.

Professor Ward said it was a unique opportunity to develop strategies to improve both access to treatment and the treatment itself.

“We know that for people accessing cancer surgery in Metro North, it has one of the fastest times for Indigenous people with cancer to get into surgery,” Professor Ward said.

“That might seem like a very good stat but it’s very bad, to be honest, because it means Indigenous people are not accessing dedicated services, and when they do present to hospital they require surgery right away.”

Ward said dealing with issues like that, as well as developing innovative models of care such as hospital in the home, better mental health pathways and rehab programs, would be a focus going forward.

“There’s some really low-hanging fruit there that could make hospital services much more accessible for Indigenous people in the Metro North region,” he said.

“Where there are more difficult issues to be addressed, hopefully we can find ways to also deal with those over the longer term.”

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