Murdoch University addresses widespread Aboriginal health challenges through new Institute

Ngangk Yira Institute of Change

The Ngangk Yira Institute for Change has been launched at Murdoch University to raise awareness of the health gap that exists between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the rest of the Australian population.

“As we approach the 200th anniversary of colonisation for Aboriginal people in WA, the Ngangk Yira Institute for Change will lead practical solutions that will change the life course for future Aboriginal generations,” Professor Marriott said.

“We use co-design to premise Aboriginal perspectives on complex issues to ‘close the gap’ for health outcomes and issues of equity and access.”

The Institute will continue to strengthen its reputation for conducting culturally safe, co-designed, translational research across three core pillars of research: Maternal and Child Health; Family Empowerment and Resilience; and Healthy Families and Communities.

The Ngangk Yira research priorities are determined through a partnership between Elders, community stakeholders, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers and focuses on complex issues in Aboriginal health and the achievement of social equity. Professor Marriott and her research team have already made a profound contribution to improving Aboriginal health, and the inauguration of the Institute continues that work.

For example, through extensive research into Birthing on Country and perinatal outcomes for Aboriginal women and their infants, Ngangk Yira has delivered crucial evidence to the WA Minister for Health underpinning maternity care improvements which better support Aboriginal women, their families, and the health outcomes of Aboriginal children.

Professor Fiona Stanley AC, a patron of Ngangk Yira said there is a growing need to listen to and empower Aboriginal people. 

“Our health and human services systems need to be culturally safe and change is not happening fast enough,” Professor Stanley said.

One pivotal member who has joined the research team is Professor Juli Coffin, Ellison Professor Aboriginal Young People’s Social and Emotional Wellbeing. Professor Coffin is an esteemed Aboriginal researcher with expertise in cultural security, education and research across a diverse range of chronic diseases, nutrition, contextualising bullying, and health promotion.

Professor Marriott said both Murdoch University and the Institute are privileged to have such an experienced and passionate academic join the team with the shared focus in supporting the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.


About the Ngangk Yira Institute for Change

The Ngangk Yira Institute for Change is an expansion of the resources and remit of the Ngangk Yira Research Centre for Aboriginal Health and Social Equity, which was also led by Professor Marriott.

Ngangk means both 'mother' and 'sun'. Alongside the Noongar word Yira, the meaning expands to: the rising sun (ngangk yira). Together, they have added spiritual meaning for the sun's giving of life to all things in its passage across the sky.

“We will do this – as we have done for eight years – by providing the cutting-edge research evidence vital for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s and their communities’ strong, diverse, and self-determined futures.”

View the Ngangk Yira website.

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Posted on:

30 Jun 2022

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