Centre for Research Excellence in diabetes

New centre will reduce diabetes complications and risks through telehealth

A diabetes research team based at the CTC has been awarded a grant of $2.48 million jointly from the NHMRC and the Fred Hollows Foundation for a Centre for Research Excellence to improve the health of Indigenous people in remote areas.

Indigenous Australians with diabetes are at high risk of various complications, such as loss of vision and cardiovascular disease. Optimum treatment requires coordinated care, but this is challenging in rural Australia.

The goal of the new virtual centre is to improve prevention, detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy and other vascular complications of diabetes. It will integrate care for diabetes, eye disorders and cardiovascular disease for all life stages, build workforce capacity for high-quality health care delivery and research, develop new knowledge to improve outcomes, build networks for guideline-based care, and expedite translation of new findings into practice and policy in Australia and other countries.

The new centre will have three main components:

1. Electronic decision support systems and retinal imaging software for management of diabetic eye disease, diabetes and cardiovascular disease embedded into local Indigenous health care facilities, with remote retinal picture reading, electronic referral and electronic reporting;

2. Shareable resources for administration, data registry and repository, biostatistics services and training of health professionals. These facilities will be accessible for new collaborative national and international clinical research in type 2 diabetes; and

3.The centre will supervise, train and mentor the next generation of senior clinician researchers in Indigenous health by engaging postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and others to undertake clinical and research projects.

Members of the national research team are collaborating to share their vast experience and expertise in relevant areas of health care. They are research leaders in Indigenous health, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, ophthalmology, telehealth services and biostatistics:

• Professor Anthony Keech, Professor Alicia Jenkins, Professor Sven-Erik Bursell and Professor Val Gebski from the CTC

• Dr Tim Henderson, Alice Springs Hospital

• Professor Alex Brown, South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute

• Dr Laima Brazionis, University of Melbourne

• Professor Jamie Craig, Flinders University

• Associate Professor Louise Maple-Brown, Menzies School of Health Research

• Professor Kerin O'Dea, University of South Australia

For further information: email Susan Lohan