Closing the Knowledge to Action Gap in Indigenous heart disease and stroke

Years funded:
2016 - 2019

Improved cardiovascular health will make a critical contribution to reducing the difference in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Dr Katzenellenbogens program of research covers three broad cardiovascular diseases in which disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are very high: ischaemic heart disease, stroke and rheumatic heart disease (RHD).

Since 2008, the Australian government committed significant funds to Closing the Gap in Indigenous health. Linked hospital and death data will be analysed to evaluate the impact of the funding on trends in the incidence and outcomes of ischaemic heart disease among Indigenous Western Australians.

Additionally, a collaborative three-jurisdictional study using linked stroke hospitalisation and mortality data will investigate stroke incidence, management and outcomes in South Australia, Western Australian and the Northern Territory.

Dr Katzenellenbogen will also contribute to intervention projects related to stroke and cardiac rehabilitation for Indigenous people. Rates of RHD among Indigenous Australians are among the highest in the world.

There is an urgent need to quantify the burden of RHD within and between jurisdictions to guide action towards achieving disease control in Australia.

The data required to accurately profile RHD burden in Australia already exist, but in multiple different administrative data sets. Data linkage methods will be used to synthesise these data to enable calculation of epidemiological estimates. This data, as well as findings of other RHD projects, will assist the End RHD Centre for Research Excellence in identifying key targets and costed activities to develop a plan for controlling RHD in the Australian population.

Researcher Profile

Dr Judith Katzenellenbogen

Institute: University of Western Australia
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