Australian first research targets Aboriginal stroke survivors

February 06, 2018
Helping Aboriginal people live well after stroke is at the heart of a new research project, made possible by a Stroke Foundation grant.
The project will assess and address risks and opportunities involved in implementing Australia’s first large trial focused on improving rehabilitation services and quality of life for Aboriginal people affected by stroke and traumatic brain injury.  

Senior Research Fellow from the University of Western Australia Dr Judith Katzenellenbogen will lead the project which has the potential to improve recovery for thousands of Australians. 

Dr Katzenellenbogen said the Stroke Foundation grant of almost $50,000 would help the team get the trial right from its outset.  

“Health programs often suffer from implementation failure. This is particularly true in Aboriginal health where factors like patient recruitment, staffing, training, cultural knowledge, vast distances and rigid systems can cause road blocks,” Dr Katzenellenbogen said. 

“Through identifying factors and circumstances that influence implementation, we hope to optimise the parent project by fine-tuning various aspects of how it is applied, promoted and measured. 

“I am grateful for the Stroke Foundation grant, which has made this ground work possible. It has the potential to strengthen the rehabilitation trial and the benefits it will provide to the community. 

“We ultimately want patients and their families receive optimal care and support,” she said.

Stroke Foundation Western Australia State Manager Jonine Collins said this was important work. 

“Aboriginal people are over represented in stroke statistics. They are twice as likely to be hospitalised with a stroke and 1.4 times as likely to die from a stroke than non-indigenous Australians,” Ms Collins said. 

“This project has the potential to make a real difference for aboriginal people with stroke. 

“Too many people are dying or being left with an ongoing disability as a result of stroke, but it does not need to be this way.

“Stroke is largely treatable and high quality evidence-based research like this is so important in our mission to beat this terrible disease.

“Researchers like Judith Katzenellenbogen give us hope for the future,” she said. 

Dr Katzenellenbogen is one of four researchers to be awarded a share of almost $200,000 funding through the 2018 Stroke Foundation research grants round. Information on the other recipients is available here