ECU studying effects of traumatic brain injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Professor Beth Armstrong is leading the ECU study.
Professor Beth Armstrong is leading the ECU study.

ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander Australians are more than twice as likely as non-Aboriginal Australians to suffer a traumatic brain injury or stroke.

Despite this, Aboriginal stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors are under-represented in mainstream hospital-based rehabilitation services.

The effects of brain injury can be long term or permanent and can effect a person’s movement, communication and overall quality of life.

An ECU project titled ‘Enhancing rehabilitation services for Aboriginal Australians after brain injury’ is aiming to address this imbalance after receiving a $900,000 grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Led by Professor Beth Armstrong and the ECU speech pathology team, the grant will allow a team of researchers, health service providers and industry partners to develop and implement a culturally secure intervention package for Aboriginal people.

It aims to enhance their rehabilitation experience and engagement with rehabilitation services and improve quality of life after stroke or traumatic brain injury.

The project is a collaboration with The University of WA and the WA Centre for Rural Health, Monash and Notre Dame universities and the University of Technology Sydney.

It will be carried out in partnership with the Department of Health, WA Country Health Service, Geraldton Regional and Kimberley Aboriginal medical services, Bega Garnbirringu Health Services in Kalgoorlie, Royal Perth Hospital Medical Research Foundation, Neurological Council of WA, Stroke Foundation and St John of God Midland Hospital.