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Research project focusing on improving genetics services for Indigenous patients receives additional support

Callan Morse -

Central Queensland University will receive almost $2 million through the federal government's Medical Research Future Fund to support research into genetic services for Indigenous patients.

The grant will support the university's Jawun Research Centre on their Integrated Genetic HealthCare: Improving Access to Quality Genetic Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients project.

CQU says genomics medicine is revolutionising health care, particularly for people with rare diseases and cancer, by offering prompt and accurate diagnosis, identifying a patient's risk based on their genes and providing personalised treatments.

Jawun Principal Research Fellow, Gregory Pratt, welcomed the funding, saying it would allow Jawun researchers to kick start the Integrated Genetic HealthCare (IGHC) pilot project.

"This funding will allow us to implement and evaluate Integrated Genetic HealthCare (IGHC) - a preferred care model co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and genetic health services," Mr Pratt said.

"Implementation research will begin almost immediately for a genetic health service benefit in partnership with the primary health service sector."

Mr Pratt said implementation research would be undertaken to understand inequalities of access and review and refine strategies to improve access to culturally appropriate, sensitive, quality genetic health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"We will leverage local, jurisdictional, national and international networks to implement and evaluate IGHC, and create pathways for a coordinated approach to equitably transform primary genomic health care," he said.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler, said the program supports research that promises to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians.

"This research is world-leading and these projects have the potential to be game changers that will lead to advances in diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for Australians and around the world," Mr Butler said.

CQU is one of 25 entities to receive federal government funding under the $66 million Medical Research Future Fund - 2022 Genomics Health Futures Mission Grant scheme.

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