School of Population Health

Healthy Ageing Our Projects

Ironbark trial: healthy ageing for older Aboriginal people

image - Ironbark Trial

The Ironbark trial is a cluster randomised control trial comparing the health outcomes of the Ironbark: Standing Strong & Tall program (a weekly exercise and yarning circle) to the Ironbark: Healthy Community program (a weekly social program) among groups of Aboriginal people aged 45 years and older.
The research includes funding local Aboriginal services to deliver one of the programs for 10 – 15 Aboriginal people for 12 months.  We aim to recruit 60 services and around 600 participants (both men and women) into the trial over the next 4 years.  We are working with collaborators in NSW, SA and WA.

There is a nested evaluation to determine acceptability of the Ironbark: Standing Strong and Tall program to participants, and an economic analysis.  We envisage the research will have direct policy and program benefits for Aboriginal specific falls prevention programs, and wellbeing programs for older Aboriginal people.

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Reducing the impact of vaccine preventable diseases in older Australians

Image - Older Australian woman

Australia’s population is ageing, and with that comes an increasing burden on Australia’s health system.  Our researchers are working to combat this with strategies to improve health and prevent morbidity in older adults. Vaccine preventable diseases are responsible for substantial morbidity, mortality and health care costs in Australian adults.  However, adult vaccination is a comparatively under-researched area with many unanswered questions about who would benefit most from vaccination, and therefore what the most appropriate and cost-effective vaccination strategies are.

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Supporting Aboriginal People to Age Well in Remote Settings: The Dharriwaa Elders Group

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This project involves researchers from UNSW School of Public Health and Dharriwaa Elders Group (DEG) working together via the Yuwaya Ngarra-Li partnership (YN) to understand what ageing well means to Aboriginal people in Walgett, a town in remote north-west NSW, and determine what supports, services and environments they require to facilitate wellbeing as they age. We aim to:

  • Describe what ageing well means to Aboriginal people in Walgett and their priorities for aged care, including for members of the Stolen Generations
  • Examine barriers and enablers of ageing well in Walgett, including: existing health and social services; informal social support; housing and the built environment; telehealth; and the DEG.
  • Determine the acceptability and feasibility of proposed research methods for a larger study involving the co-design of aged care services and infrastructure in Walgett. For example, if housing audits would be acceptable to assess the suitability of existing housing stock to support ageing in place in Walgett.


Community co-design to develop and test measures to examine the health and wellbeing impact of Deadly Running Australia

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This project brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers and community participants of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) Deadly Running Australia (DRA) program to co-design, validate and conduct feasibility testing of measures that examine the impact DRA on overall health and wellbeing.

The study will examine the health and wellbeing impacts, as determined by the community, of the Deadly Running Australia program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Specifically, the project will conduct focus groups with DRA participants to identify/develop culturally appropriate measures, building on participatory action research methods to evaluate the 12-week pre-post impact of DRA (Part A). Subsequently, we will conduct formative validation and testing of the co-designed measures to determine the initial 12-week DRA health and wellbeing impacts (Part B). A further aim is to develop appropriate capacity building to enable community members to lead all aspects of local data collection, including interpretation of results.


Preparing the workforce for an ageing Australia: the development of multidisciplinary competencies for healthcare workers

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This study is funded by the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research & Enterprise (SPHERE) and involves UNSW, UTS, UWS and the Ingham Institute. Our multi-disciplinary research team is aiming to develop a broad, multi-disciplinary competency framework for the care of older people in Australia. A scoping review will be undertaken to identify a range of competencies for the care of older people across various disciplines, which will be thematically analysed. Core multi-disciplinary competencies across healthcare worker disciplines will be developed. These will tested using a two stage DELPHI survey with a panel of disciplinary experts.