An indigenous health symposium at the Queensland University of Technology has identified Indigenous-led research as the best way to progress the Federal Government’s Closing the Gap initiative.

The symposium brought together health experts from around Australia and the world, to discuss ways to improve indigenous health.

Kate O’Hara reports.


The Indigenous Health Symposium was held in response to the Federal Government’s Closing the Gap campaign, which outlines that policy must be evidence based to improve indigenous health outcomes.

The key-note address was delivered by Professor John Lowe, who gave an international perspective on the issue of indigenous health.

He developed a cultural model in his Native American tribe to inform community interventions with troubled Cherokee youths.

Professor John Lowe, Florida Atlantic University: “What we’re finding is that the cultural identity as a Native American person is helping our youth to feel they have the strength and the empowerment to be able to live life without needing to use substances.”

One of the main themes of the symposium was the importance of incorporating indigenous-led research, planning and management in government health reform.

Bronwyn Fredericks, QUT Associate Professor: “All the literature tells us to date that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more engaged in the research, and have ownership of the research and are engaged within the research, there can be some changes and there can be some real ownership of the process.”

Professor Fredericks said long-term solutions and indigenous-led research is the only way to make sure government policies and programs effectively respond to indigenous health needs.

Kate O’Hara, QUT News.