The disparity between health and life expectancy between Indigenous Australians and the rest of the population remains unacceptable. SAHMRI’s Wardliparingga Aboriginal Health Equity Theme – Australia’s largest Indigenous health research unit – is dedicated to closing that gap.
Associate Professor Odette Pearson is a Co-Leader of this theme. She is spearheading a project focused on preventing ill health and enhancing the quality of life for older Indigenous people.
Historically, the needs of older Indigenous Australians have received little attention, partly due to their significantly shorter life expectancy. However, the lifespan gap between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous individuals is narrowing, emphasising the importance of developing accessible, culturally appropriate services to meet the growing demand.
The Aboriginal-informed System Connector Model for Ageing Well, developed by Odette’s team, aims to
connect individuals with essential resources and strengthen relationships between aged care, healthcare, and social services. The project will increase access to consistent, high-quality support for older Aboriginal people as they age.
The research priorities are informed by community needs and aspirations, targeting the leading causes of disease and mortality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The theme’s approaches involve understanding the biological, psychosocial and health system factors that affect health and wellbeing and identifying the best ways to address and improve these conditions.
Wardliparingga is a Kaurna word, a nod to the traditional owners of the Adelaide plains. Meaning “house river place”, the term also represents the Milky Way reflected in the River Torrens, which runs alongside SAHMRI. This connection to the land and its people underscores the commitment to fostering health equity.
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