Current Research Projects that PLAHS is involved in:

  • Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research/SAHMRI Heart Disease and Stroke in Aboriginal Women
  • SAHMRI Type 2 Diabetes Study
  • Department of Health/AHCSA Enhanced Syphillis Response
  • SAHMRI/Kirby Institute Scale C
  • Alcohol & Other Drugs Forums
  • Local Drug Action Team
  • AHCSA/SAHMRI Sexual Health Project
  • AHCSA SQID HbA1c Project and Ear Health
  • QAAMS Project
  • University of Melbourne Eye Health Equipment
  • SAHMRI Women’s Research Project
  • AHCSA/SAHMRI Anaemia Research
  • South Australian Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium
  • SAHMRI CanDAD (Cancer Data and Aboriginal Disparities) Research Project
  • SAHMRI Ageing

Chronic Disease Self Management (CDSM)

In 2001, a series of new initiatives in chronic disease self-management were funded for mainstream and Aboriginal communities. The Department of Human Services and Flinders University funded a one-year CDSM project to test ways of establishing and maintaining CDSM processes specifically for Aboriginal people. The specific aims of the project were to:

  • Establish and test CDSM models for Aboriginal people;
  • Develop Aboriginal Health Worker training modules to support our clients;
  • Monitor uptake and outcomes for 12 months; and
  • Apply findings to wider applications of CDSM for Aboriginal people

The project processes were to:

  • Educate, inform and empower our people to improve the management of their conditions;
  • Promote access to existing services; and
  • Foster the use of the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Items as a fundamental and sustainable part of CDSM work.

Generally, the project gained active support and clearly showed that CDSM processes can be effectively adapted for Aboriginal communities. There were a number of outcomes that are actually quite impressive.


The project, Look Think Act: Indigenous Stories about Living with Diabetes used a participatory action approach with Aboriginal families and the health professionals that work with them to explore practical strategies for the successful self management of Type 2 Diabetes. We obtained funding to do this research from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Royal District Nursing Service (RDNS) Research Unit and the Spencer Gulf Rural Health School (SGRHS).

The objectives of the project were to:

  • Redress the imbalance in research with Aboriginal families that overlook the voices of the Aboriginal families themselves
  • Produce a detailed account of Aboriginal families� understandings of living with a chronic illness, which will inform best practice diabetes management
  • Identify Aboriginal families� perspectives and understandings of health care services and make improvements to meet their needs
  • Prepare and promote the participation of Aboriginal Health Workers in research
  • Develop a model for improving the self-management of chronic disease in Aboriginal families.

Better Medication Management for Aboriginal People with Mental Health Disorders and their Carers

This Research Project was conducted in Port Lincoln in 2001-2002. It was part of a large state-wide project entitled �Better Medication Management by Aboriginal People with Mental Health Disorders, their Carers and other Family Members�. The Research Project was funded by the Quality Use of Medicines Evaluation Program through the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care. The research was conducted by a partnership of investigators from the Flinders University School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA) Inc, in collaboration with Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders. The host organization for this component of the state-wide project was Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service.

The aims and objectives were:

  • To explore the particular needs, experiences and contexts of Aboriginal people diagnosed with a mental health disorder, their carers and other family members, focusing on issues relating to management of medications
  • To recommend strategies to improve quality use of medicines by this group, informed by the findings
  • To implement and evaluate selected recommendations.

Again, should we provide links to access further information?

Coordinated Aboriginal Mental Health Care

This participatory action research project builds on from previous research in our region, such as �Better medication management for Aboriginal people with mental health disorders and their carers� and the Coordinated Care trials. It follows up on recommendations from local communities and state-wide, and has appropriate ethics approvals. The research team is a partnership from Flinders University, Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service, Ceduna-Koonibba Aboriginal Health Service and Eyre Peninsula Division of General Practice. The aim is to develop agreed, client-centred protocols and pathways between and within the various health, social and human services that are involved in the care of Aboriginal people with mental health issues in the Eyre Peninsula region.

We are now in year 2 of this 2 year project. Data collection is complete. We have talked to many workers and managers from a wide range of services about what hinders and what promotes integration of care.