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Diabetes and Related disorders in Urban Indigenous people in the Darwin region

The DRUID Study

The DRUID Study is the first population-based longitudinal cohort study of diabetes and related conditions in an urban Indigenous population in Australia.  The study represents a groundbreaking partnership involving researchers, health service providers, and the local Indigenous community to address key chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and renal disease.  The study provides a unique opportunity to generate and apply new knowledge about Indigenous people living in urban areas, a group that comprises the majority of Australia’s Indigenous population, but about which very little is known. The main aims of the DRUID Study are to:

  • Provide the first accurate assessment of the burden of diabetes, renal and cardiovascular disease, in an urban Indigenous population
  • Work with an urban Indigenous community to plan, implement and evaluate interventions to reduce the incidence of diabetes among those at high risk
  • Increase awareness and understanding of diabetes among Indigenous people
  • Facilitate community engagement and provide education, employment and training opportunities for Indigenous people in an urban area
  • Increase the capacity of Indigenous people to prevent diabetes
  • Increase the capacity of Indigenous people with diabetes and related disorders to manage their health in partnership with health service providers.

The DRUID study design is based on AusDiab, but focuses on the urban indigenous population, a group which were not the focus of the AusDiab study, conducted on the general Australian population.  Several of the AusDiab principal investigators are also participating in the DRUID study.

Crossroads Undiagnosed Disease Study

The Crossroads Undiagnosed Disease Study was designed to examine the health and well-being of those over 25 years of age in rural Victoria, validating self-reported figures on access to health care and disease prevalence with data from physical tests similar in methods to those used in the AusDiab study. Between 2001 and 2003, household questionnaire data was obtained from 10,000 households in a large Victorian rural centre, as well as 10,000 households in six surrounding smaller rural towns. A selection of those completing the household questionnaire were then invited to attend for physical testing and further questionnaires with the protocol closely following that used by the AusDiab study. As well as providing non-communicable disease prevalence statistics from a rural population, this study was part of a broader program in the region to increase the awareness of health issues and act as a training tool for the local unemployed.

The impact of the discrepancy in access to health care and resources between rural and metropolitan populations on adverse health outcomes was the focus of comparisons between the Crossroads and AusDiab studies. The study was a collaboration between the International Diabetes Institute and the Department of Rural Health at the University of Melbourne.

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With the rising number of Australians affected by diabetes, heart disease and stroke, the need for research is more critical than ever.

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