Lowitja Institute Partnership and Indigenous Advisory Group Set to Determine Priorities for new TTRA Research Round for Indigenous Australians Living with Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

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29 August 2022

The Targeted Translation Research Accelerator (TTRA) program, a Medical Research Future Fund initiative delivered by MTPConnect, will open Round 3 of its Research Projects funding in January 2023 to support diabetes and cardiovascular disease projects that address the unmet health and medical needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in rural, remote, regional, and urban centres.

In preparation, MTPConnect has commissioned Lowitja Institute, a community-controlled organisation and Australia’s National Institute for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Research, to lead a prioritisation project to determine the Indigenous-specific priority areas for this focused round, over the remainder of 2022.

Additionally, to guide the delivery and implementation of the Round 3 Research Projects funding opportunity and maximise its impact, MTPConnect has established the TTRA Indigenous Advisory Group (IAG) to involve/include prominent Indigenous researchers, clinicians and thought leaders, as well as representatives from organisations that have deep engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through direct healthcare delivery.

MTPConnect CEO Stuart Dignam says that welcoming Lowitja Institute to undertake this important work in priority setting is critical to the success of the TTRA program.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are significantly disproportionately burdened by diabetes and cardiovascular disease at 2 - 4 times the rate of the wider population. Our TTRA research projects round is being specifically designed to focus substantial funding and efforts to address these stark health inequities.

“Lowitja Institute’s expertise and deep connections to Indigenous communities most affected will ensure unmet needs are prioritised for this round of TTRA Research Projects, to make a lasting impact on health and wellbeing.

“I would also like to thank the members of the TTRA Indigenous Advisory Group for stepping forward to lend their experience and wisdom to assist us deliver this important funding round,” he said.

The TTRA program strives to achieve maximum impact by targeting funding at priority areas where the need for research and innovation is greatest. For Rounds 1 and 2, these priority areas were determined through an evidence-based, sector wide, consultative needs assessment. This process reinforced the need for funding to be focused on Indigenous health outcomes and highlighted that priority setting must be Indigenous led.

Lowitja Institute CEO Dr Janine Mohamed explains the importance of the partnership and collaboration.

“Lowitja Institute has a long-standing commitment to ensuring our work is built on priorities identified by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We are pleased to be working with MTPConnect and the Indigenous Advisory Group to develop a set of Indigenous-specific priority areas for future funding through the TTRA Program,” said Dr Janine Mohamed.

“It is key that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, living with diabetes and cardiovascular disease are centred in this work. In doing this, we will ensure our work is underpinned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander principals and protocols, and that priorities identified have an enduring positive impact on health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” said Dr Mohamed.

Members of the TTRA Indigenous Advisory Group:

  • Professor Alex Brown, Professor of Indigenous Genomics, Australian National University | Telethon Kids Institute
  • Dr Fergus Gardiner, Director, National Emergency Response, Public Health and Research, Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia
  • Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver AM, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy & Services, University of Sydney; Professor Public Health and Epidemiologist, Sydney Medical School
  • Mr Ray Kelly, Indigenous Allied Health Australia
  • Mr Chris Lee, Assistant Director – Programs, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
  • Professor Ray Mahoney, Professor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Discipline Lead for Population Health, Visiting Scientist, Australian eHealth Research Centre (AeHRC), CSIRO, College of Medicine & Public Health, Flinders University
  • Dr Janine Mohamed, CEO, Lowitja Institute
  • Dr Simon Quilty, Medical Advisor, Purple House (Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation)
  • Dr Tanya Schramm, Senior lecturer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Education, University of Tasmania
  • Dr Sean Taylor, Executive Director Aboriginal Health & Diversity, NT Health; Deputy Director Indigenous Leadership and Engagement, Menzies School of Health Research; Adjunct Associate Professor, Public Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University

About TTRA: The $47 million TTRA initiative, supported by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF), is providing a new integrated research program to improve the prevention, management and treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (D&CVD) in Australia. Research efforts are focused on the most pressing areas of unmet clinical and research needs in D&CVD, which are leading causes of death and disability in Australia.

The Lowitja Institute: Australia’s national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, named in honour of their Patron, Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue AC CBE DSG. It is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation working for the health and wellbeing of Australia’s First Peoples through high impact quality research, knowledge translation, and by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health researchers.

Established in January 2010, the Lowitja Institute operates on key principles of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership, a broader understanding of health that incorporates wellbeing, and the need for the work to have a clear and positive impact. It has 12 Member organisations.