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Interrogating the intentions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health: a narrative review of research outputs since the introduction of Closing the Gap

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posted on 20.09.2022, 00:36 authored by M Kennedy, J Bennett, S Maidment, Catherine Chamberlain, K Booth, R McGuffog, B Hobden, LJ Whop, J Bryant
Despite the “best of intentions”, Australia has fallen short of federal targets to close the gap in disproportionate health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. We examined 2150 original research articles published over the 12-year period (from 2008 to 2020), of which 58% used descriptive designs and only 2.6% were randomised controlled trials. There were few national studies. Studies were most commonly conducted in remote settings (28.8%) and focused on specific burdens of disease prevalent in remote areas, such as infectious disease, hearing and vision. Analytic observational designs were used more frequently when addressing burdens of disease, such as cancer and kidney and urinary, respiratory and endocrine diseases. The largest number of publications focused on mental and substance use disorders (n = 322, 20.5%); infectious diseases (n = 222, 14.1%); health services planning, delivery and improvement (n = 193, 33.5%); and health and wellbeing (n = 170, 29.5%). This review is timely given new investments in Aboriginal health, which highlights the importance of Aboriginal researchers, community leadership and research priority. We anticipate future outputs for Aboriginal health research to change significantly from this review, and join calls for a broadening of our intellectual investment in Aboriginal health.


Publication Date



Medical Journal of Australia






(p. 50-57)





Rights Statement

© 2022 The Authors. Medical Journal of Australia published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of AMPCo Pty Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.