This time last year a group of health experts gathered in Katherine and called for more emergency housing to help fix chronic health problems here.
A year later, the same problems remain.
Those same health experts will gather in Katherine on Thursday and Friday this week for Hot North, a four-year National Health and Medical Research Council funded research program led by Menzies School of Health Research.
This time workshop will hear about regionally important health concerns such as antimicrobial resistance, disability and ageing, diabetes in pregnancy and youth, rheumatic heart disease, and new initiatives in skin health.
The event will bring more than 100 health professionals together from local health services, such as Katherine Hospital, Katherine West, Wurli-Wurlinjang and Sunrise Health Services to enhance communication between hospitals, primary health and public health services and to share the latest research and findings on regionally specific health concerns.
Hot North director, Professor Bart Currie said a major focus of the workshops is to give researchers, clinicians and other health professionals an opportunity to network, collaborate and share research.
“It gives researchers and Katherine health professionals the opportunity to strengthen relationships and facilitate learning experiences that develop and transform health practices across northern Australia.
“By developing a community of medical researchers and clinicians, HOT NORTH is connecting a wide range of experts to address the current and future challenges facing the tropical north”, said HOT NORTH Director, Professor Bart Currie.
With 65 activities funded to date, HOT NORTH-supported research and translation is investigating a wide range of health issues facing the Indigenous people living in northern Australia.
As one of the top Aboriginal health providers in the country, Katherine Hospital plays an important role in helping to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous health outcomes.
Katherine Hospital's head physician Dr Simon Quilty said, “The Katherine region is huge, and the challenges in providing health care in this remote and tropical region, that’s bigger than Victoria and Tasmania combined, are immense.
“Not only do we have the logistic issues of servicing over 13,000 people who live in remote communities, but these people come from over 20 different tribal nations with different beliefs and expectations of health.
“HOT NORTH provides a fantastic forum for health care professionals from across the north of Australia to mix with academics engaged in remote, tropical and Indigenous health to come up with ideas of how to do things better.”
Katherine Hospital and the health clinics servicing Katherine have made significant progress over the past number of years.
It now ranks as one the top hospitals in Australia for its relationship with its Indigenous patients.
“It’s the transfer of research and practical experience into better service delivery that will help us close the gap across the north and protect the north from tropical and emerging diseases,” added Professor Currie.
Based at Menzies, HOT NORTH utilises a strong collaborative approach between researchers and community, drawing on the expertise of research professionals from eight of Australia’s leading research organisations:
- Menzies School of Health Research
- James Cook University
- Telethon Kids Institute
- Marie Bashir Institute & The University of Sydney
- Doherty Institute & The University of Melbourne
- South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
- QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute
- Burnet Institute
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