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Indigenous health

A starting point for information and resources on Indigenous health.

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

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

Exploding this MeSH term will search for Australia as a whole, and the individual states and territories as well. For a thorough search, make sure to go beyond MeSH and include the name of the country. For Example: Australia*[tiab] will search for Australia or Australian as article title and abstract words.

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

PubMed Search Strategy example:

Using MeSH alone to search for material on Australian Aboriginal health issues is not very successful in PubMed. Instead, make sure to include aborig* OR indigenous as title and abstract words:

("Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander"[mh] OR aborig*[tiab] OR indigenous[tiab]) AND (australia*[tiab] OR "australia"[mh])

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 un-indexed 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 the following to the end of your original search, leaving a space before the AND

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

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.

PubMed search strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders:

("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 first nation*[tiab] OR "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander"[mh])

PubMed search strategy for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health:

(Aborig*[tw] OR Indigenous[tw] OR first nation*[tw] OR (Torres Strait[tw] AND Islander*[tw]) OR "health services, indigenous"[mh] OR "Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander"[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])

  • 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