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Annual Report 2003/2004 Menzies School of Health Research



Annual Report 2003/2004 Menzies School of Health Research

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Tabled Papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled papers for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






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t is no secret that the health of Indigenous Australians is among the poorest in the country. Indigenous populations suffer enormous social and economic disadvantage. In both remote and urban Indigenous communities the people are affected by chronic and infectious diseases and general poor health related to a range of factors, including poverty, overcrowded living conditions, and inadequate nutrition. Australias awareness of these important issues continues to grow and governments, as well as funding bodies, are now firmly acknowledging the vital importance of improving Indigenous health. MSHR is the only independent medical research institute in Australia with a primary focus on Indigenous health. Since being established in 1985, a major goal of MSHR has been to conduct research and education that makes a difference to peoples lives, as well as promoting new findings which influence health policy and practice. 2003 has been a very successful year for MSHR as staff and students have built on past success and obtained significant funding for several new major research projects in Indigenous and tropical health. During the year, MSHR was awarded almost $10 million in NHMRC funding for project grants, scholarships and fellowships which will commence in 2004. This is a new record for MSHR and demonstrates the institutions reputation for excellence in research. As Director, I am very proud of this achievement. Among this success, Assoc Prof Joan Cunningham and Assoc Prof Ross Bailie were awarded an NHMRC CapacityBuilding Grant of $2.4 million over five years to build capacity in policy relevant to quantitative, social analysis and research in Indigenous health. In addition, the NHMRC awarded Assoc Prof Ross Bailie a prestigious NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship. MSHR has also increased its commitment to international health research and a number of international collaborations have been fostered during the year. The MSHR International Health team, led by Assoc Prof Nick Anstey was awarded $3.1 million from the Wellcome Trust and NHMRC for collaborative work with the Indonesian Ministry for Health and the University of PNG to undertake research to help prevent and treat the most severe forms of malaria. This is the largest grant ever awarded to MSHR. I am pleased to report the MSHR Education and Training Division was successful in gaining Commonwealth funding for a further two years to support the Master of Public Health course though the PHERP program. Sixty-five students were enrolled at MSHR each semester in 2003 and this course continues to attract high-quality students who are interested in a career in public health. 2003 also saw the introduction of legislation to formalise links between MSHR and Charles Darwin University (CDU) with the primary incentive for MSHR being access to future Commonwealth research infrastructure funding. Notwithstanding this new link with CDU, MSHR retains an independent Act of Parliament which preserves MSHRs autonomy and independence. I am grateful to those MSHR academic and administrative staff who were actively involved during the extensive negotiations with Charles Darwin University and the Northern Territory Government. I would also like to thank the MSHR Board for their support during this challenging time. Whilst 2003 has been a year of significant research success for MSHR, our challenge is to maintain this momentum. We are determined to improve our fundraising capacity so as to better support our hardworking and talented researchers and maintain our position as a national leader in Indigenous, remote and tropical health research and education. This 2003 Annual Report features our research progress, and highlights a year of exciting new grants, prestigious awards and recognitions, and numerous special events and visitors. I hope you enjoy the Annual Report in its new format and I urge you to also visit our website for a closer look at the work carried out at the Menzies School of Health Research. Professor Kerin ODea Menzies School of Health Research 2003 Annual Report | Directors Report | 5 directors report I