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Public Health: Indigenous Health

Indigenous Health

I've divided this page into four sections.

  • Help with searching for material on Medline.
  •  Australian databases:- Informit, and Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet Bibliography
  • Australian links to web pages, and report literature - includes aboriginal mental health.
  • Links to material on the health of other indigenous peoples.

The Library also has a general LibGuide on Indigenous Knowledges

Indigenous Health Resources

Searching Medline (PubMed)

You will find material on Aboriginal health in Medline, but you will need to be aware of the thesaurus (MeSH) terms used to search for this group of people.

MeSH - Health Services, Indigenous

MeSH - Oceanic Ancestry Group

To search for material on Australian Aboriginal people, or Australian Indigenous health services  you'll need to add Australia to your search.

MeSH - Australia

Exploding this thesaurus term will search for Australia as a whole, and the individual states and territories as well, whereas if you simply search for the word "Australia*" you will miss the specific individual states.

It will be useful to search the name of the country as a word too, with appropriate truncation.

Australia*[tiab] - truncating the word will search for Australia, or Australian as words in titles of articles and abstracts.

The search formulation will need brackets to ensure that the Boolean logic is executed in the correct sequence.

PubMed Search Formulation

Using thesaurus terminology alone to search for material on Australian Aboriginal health issues is not very successful in PubMed

Test the two examples below by copying and pasting them into the PubMed search box.

(oceanic ancestry group[mh] AND (australia*[tiab] OR australia[mh])

Now test the search below where aborig* OR indigenous (in article titles or abstracts) have been added as alternatives to the thesaurus term.

(oceanic ancestry group[mh] OR aborig*[tiab] OR indigenous[tiab]) AND (australia*[tiab] OR australia[mh])

Your search results will increase dramatically, and you will find much additional material. For this topic thesaurus terminology is simply inadequate for effective searching!

To make the search more specific add terms relating to health services or specific diseases. For example at the end of the search line you could add any one of the following

AND cardiovascular diseases[mh]
AND eye diseases[mh]
AND diabetes mellitus[mh]

In PubMed the default is to explode all thesaurus terms, so you would cover specific eye diseases, cardiovascular diseases, or diabetic conditions. These will restrict your search to indexed material only - you'd need to explore  title and abstract searching [tiab] options as well if you were interested in very recent unindexed material.

Remember that if you add multiple topics you need to connect them with "OR" and bracket them to preserve the logic of your search. For example if you would like to search for eye diseases or diabetes mellitus in aboriginal people you would add

AND (eye diseases[mh] OR diabetes mellitus[mh])

to the end of your original search, leaving a space before the "AND"

Advanced Searching

If you are involved in research, or work for a higher degree you will need to take a more sophisticated approach. As your search strategy becomes more complex, the number of articles found will increase.

Click here for a really broad search on aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders. Below is the strategy

(Australia[mh] OR Australia*[tiab] OR Northern Territory[tiab] OR Tasmania[tiab] OR New South Wales[tiab] OR Victoria[tiab] OR Queensland[tiab]) AND (Aborig*[tiab] OR Indigenous[tiab] OR Torres Strait Islander*[tiab] OR Oceanic Ancestry Group[mh])

And for a more exhaustive search you could use the strategy below.

(Aborig*[tw] OR Indigenous[tw] OR (Torres Strait[tw] AND Islander*[tw]) OR health services, indigenous[mh] OR Oceanic Ancestry Group[mh] OR koori[tw] OR tiwi[tw]) AND (.au[ad] OR australia*[ad] OR Australia[mh] OR Australia*[tiab] OR Northern Territory[tiab] OR Northern Territory[ad] OR Tasmania*[tiab] OR Tasmania[ad] OR New South Wales[tiab] OR New South Wales[ad] OR Victoria*[tiab] OR Victoria[ad] OR Queensland[tiab] OR Queensland[ad])

PubMed also has a health disparities search, which can be combined with your Aboriginal search.

  • Click on the link above and run the health disparities search.
  • Clear the PubMed search box
  • Copy and paste the Aboriginal search into the search box and run that
  • Click on Advanced Search
  • and combine the two results using AND

Searching Informit

Informit offers a wide range of databases and full content publications that deliver Australasian scholarly material published in journals, monographs, conference proceedings and other research material. Informit Plus Text databases include links to thousands of articles from hundreds of leading Australasian journals. Subject areas covered include arts, education, health, law, business, science, and humanities and social sciences.

The Informit selection of Indigenous databases is an excellent source of Australian material - much of which is not indexed elsewhere. Just scroll down the Informit page until you find the Indigenous list.

Use your own words to search the indigenous collection, but remember to allow for different terminology. For example you might search

aborig* OR indigenous OR koori

Searching Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet Bibliography

HealthBibliography provides a searchable database of literature about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. While only a small database, it covers some literature not indexed elsewhere.

It includes records of published reports, books and book chapters; journal articles; and unpublished 'grey literature'. Grey literature indexed in the HealthBibliography includes theses; unpublished government and non-government organisational reports; discussion and working papers; statistical documents; fact sheets; and selected conference papers.

NOTE:- The content of the HealthInfoNet bibliography is sent to Informit for inclusion in their ATSIHealth database. It also appears, along with material from other sources, in their AustHealth database.

The Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin is also available at this site. It contains a selection of items recently added to the HealthInfoNet bibliography.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: print resources
A guide to the print resources relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at the National Library of Australia

Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia Inc. : Information

Aboriginal Health Publications - Department of Health, Victoria, Australia

(AIHW) Indigenous Australians
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare portal, which includes Indigenous Publications

AIPEP (Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project)
AIPEP draws on the perspectives of university educators and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support staff, psychology students, employers and Indigenous psychologists in order to increase recruitment and retention of Indigenous psychology students, integrate Indigenous studies in psychology courses for all students, and facilitate training pathways for Indigenous mental health workers.

Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre
As a part of the Australian Government’s commitments to preventing harmful substance use among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and promoting improvements in drug and alcohol and related services for Indigenous people, in 2013 the Department of Health and Ageing sought a proposal from Edith Cowan University (ECU) for the development and operation of an ‘Australian Indigenous Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre’ (the Knowledge Centre).

Australian Indigenous HealthInfonet
The work of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet is undertaken currently by a small part-time team comprising health researchers, multimedia staff and a librarian based at Edith Cowan University in Perth and an Indigenous Project Officer in Brisbane, assisted by an extensive Australia-wide network of HealthInfoNet Consultants. The site contains a wealth of information including the full text of many government documents.

The Bayalawa resources are research-based multi media learning and teaching resources to facilitate the acquisition of appropriate culturally-safe interviewing and case history taking skills in health profession students.

Closing the Gap Clearinghouse
From the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Family Studies. a clearinghouse for evidence-based research on overcoming disadvantage for Indigenous Australians.

Culture is Life - promoting community led solutions to indigenous youth suicide
This site includes The Elders' Report into Preventing Indigenous Self-Harm and Youth Suicide

Department of Health Indigenous Health Division (IHD) - Publications and Resources
Full text of reports online as .pdf files.

Department of Health - Publications - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Full text of a large number of Australian government publications relating to Aboriginal health issues.

Health Report - Indigenous - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Transcripts from Radio National's Health Report, with Norman Swan.

Indigenous (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) - All In The Mind
Transcripts and audios from All in the Mind, a series on ABC Radio National. Other programs can be found here

Indigenous Health - Your Health - Health & Wellbeing
Resources from the ABC

The Lowitja Institute / Publications
Publications include material from the Lowitja Institute, the CRCATSIH and its predecessors the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (CRCAH: 2003 -2009) and the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health (CRCATH: 1997-2003).

Measuring the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, January 2009.

Mental Health Impacts of Racial Discrimination in Victorian Aboriginal Communities
By Angeline Ferdinand, Yin Paradies & Margaret Kelaher. Lowitja Institute, 2013.

Mental Health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Links from Healthinsite.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan (NATSIHP) 2013-2023
Canberra, Department of Health.

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy - May 2013
Canberra, Department of Health.

New South Wales Aboriginal Mental Health Worker Training Program: Implementation Review
By Carol Watson and Nea Harrison. Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health and NSW Department of Health, January 2009.

The NHMRC Road Map: A Strategic Framework for Improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health through Research and Final Report of Community Consultations on the NHMRC Road Map
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Agenda Working Group (RAWG) of the NHMRC, October 2002.

Nutrition in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: An Information Paper
Published by NHMRC, July 2000.

One21Seventy: National Centre for Quality Improvement in Indigenous Primary Health Care
One21seventy provides evidence-based practical tools and processes that help primary health care providers to do continuous quality improvement.

Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit - Publications

Overview of Australian Indigenous Health Status 2015
Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

The Public Health Bush Book
This is the 2nd. edition of the Bush Book, written as a resource for people who work with remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, and produced by the Northern Territory Department of Health and Community Services, 2002.

Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
This site contains the full text of both national and regional reports.

Values and Ethics - Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research
National Health and Medical Research Council, 2003.

Working Together: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principles and Practice
Edited by Nola Purdie, Pat Dudgeon and Roz Walker, released in July 2010. The full text is available online, or hard copies may be ordered (free of charge) from this web site.

Aboriginal Health
The SIM (Society, the Individual and Medicine) Aboriginal Health theme from the University of Ottawa is designed to provide students with background information on Aboriginal and First Nations peoples in Canada.

American Indian/Alaska Native
Health statistics from the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

First Nations and Inuit Health (Health Canada)

First Nations Health Authority
Resources dealing with First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples of British Columbia.

International Journal of Circumpolar Health

Inuit Mental Health and Wellness Map
From the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada.

Maori Health
From the Ministry of Health in New Zealand.

Metis Nation of Ontario Healing and Wellness
In 1993, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was established through the will of Métis people and Métis communities coming together throughout Ontario to create a Métis-specific governance structure.

Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness
From the National Library of Medicine in the United States.

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