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A landmark research project will place health workers in Indigenous communities across Queensland to study the long-term wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Researchers from the University of Queensland and Mater Research Institute will identify 400 Indigenous families during pregnancy, and monitor the health and wellbeing of participating mothers, fathers and babies over five years.

Project lead Associate Professor Kym Rae said the study would investigate the serious health issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as improving the health of participants. “We also want to uncover the drivers of long-term health for Indigenous Australians and what influences the development of disease, so the results can inform long-term policy changes to benefit communities across the country.”

The Queensland research project is funded by a $4.69m National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) grant, and will align with other projects in Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory to provide national data to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan.