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Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet

ECU’s Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is making an important contribution to ‘closing the gap’ in health between Indigenous and other Australians by informing policy and practice in Indigenous health across Australia. Its work in the area of translational research (TR) with a population health focus - in which the HealthInfoNet is a world leader - makes research and other information available in a form that has immediate, practical utility for practitioners and policy-makers.

In addressing the needs of people working, studying or interested in Indigenous health, the HealthInfoNet’s TR provides knowledge and information about:

  • more than 50 health and health-related topics of relevance to Indigenous health
  • eight population groups (such as women, infants and children, and offenders)
  • Indigenous health by states and territories.

Important products of the HealthInfoNet’s TR work are narrative reviews and analyses of specific health topics, such as social and emotional wellbeing and volatile substance use. These reviews enable informed decision-making at a practitioner level, including the day-to-day decision-making required by various health care providers, including health program managers. The reviews and other products of the HealthInfoNet’s TR work are made freely available to people working or studying in the area of Indigenous health through its Indigenous-friendly internet web resource.

The HealthInfoNet also adapts knowledge and develops special sections of its site for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers. Examples are the sections for Indigenous environmental health workers, and social and emotional wellbeing workers.

As well as making the results of its TR and a wide range of other information and knowledge freely available from its massive web resource, the HealthInfoNet enables practitioners, policy-makers and others working to improve Indigenous health to share their knowledge and experiences through its support of yarning places (electronic networks).

Led by ECU’s Professor Neil Thomson with support of a national advisory board, a number of topic-specific reference groups and an extensive Australia-wide network of honorary consultants, the HealthInfoNet team’s innovative work was recognised recently as winner of the ‘diversity’ category in the 2011 Australian and New Zealand Internet Awards, and finalist in the ‘Excellence in research’ category of the 2012 National Alcohol and Drug Awards. It also received the ECU Vice-Chancellor’s ‘Excellence in research’ award in 2012.

The HealthInfoNet’s work is undertaken by a team that reports through the Faculty of Education and Art’s Associate Dean of Research and Higher Degrees.


Contact

Professor Neil Thomson
Telephone: (61 8) 9370 6062
Email: n.thomson@ecu.edu.au

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