Improving systems of care and services for people with diabetes and their families in rural and remote Australia (NT, FNQ & Kimberley)

Who We Are

The Partnership is led by Associate Professor Renae Kirkham from Menzies, with expertise provided by a range of Chief Investigators and Associate Investigators according to each project within the Partnership. The Steering Committee meets once a quarter to provide oversight on the direction of the Partnership’s program of work and research activities. The Steering Committee includes academics, investigators and representatives of key partners in each region including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and the Northern Territory peak body, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT).

The Diabetes Across the Lifecourse: Northern Australia Partnership’s – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group (ATSIAG) was established in 2017 to provide an independent Indigenous perspective on the management and conduct of the Partnership. Currently the Advisory Group is NT-based but we hope to work with partner organisations to broaden representation across Northern Australia. The Advisory Group plays an important role between individuals and communities participating in the various projects within the Partnership and the Partnerships’ Lead Investigator, Steering Committee, and higher degree research students.

Regions also have Clinical Reference Groups and Working Groups made up of key stakeholders from partner organisations and communities who provide input and guidance on the key elements of each project.

Partnership Lead & Principal Chief Investigator

Associate Professor Renae Kirkham (PhD, BPsycSc, B.A)

Associate Professor Renae Kirkham (PhD, BPsycSc, B.A)

Principal Research Fellow and Lead of the Diabetes across the Lifecourse: Northern Australia Partnership  

Renae Kirkham is a leader in public health with expertise in Implementation Science research and qualitative research methodologies. As Lead of the Diabetes Across the Lifecourse: Northern Australian Partnership, Renae plays a key role in supporting a large program of research that aims to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to break the cycle of type 2 diabetes and related conditions. 

Since joining the Partnership in 2015, she has secured over $12 million in research funding. She has extensive experience in models of care research, particularly focusing on increasing the appropriateness and accessibility of health services to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Renae currently supervises three Ph.D. students (two as primary) and two master’s research project students. She has supervised multiple HDR students to completion (one Ph.D.; five masters).

Professor Louise Maple-Brown (MBBS, FRACP, PhD)

Professor Louise Maple-Brown (MBBS, FRACP, PhD)

Menzies Deputy Director of Research and Principal Chief Investigator

Louise Maple-Brown is a Senior Endocrinologist at the Royal Darwin Hospital (NT, Australia), Deputy Director of Research (April 2023), and Senior Principal Research Fellow at Menzies. Louise established the Diabetes across the Lifecourse: Northern Australian Partnership and continues to chair the quarterly Partnership Steering Committee meetings.

After completing the majority of her physician and endocrinology training at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Louise moved to Darwin in 2002 to pursue her passion of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities to improve health outcomes. Louise was Head of the Department of Endocrinology at Royal Darwin Hospital (2012-2022) and founded the NT Diabetes Network in 2018 (inaugural Chair 2018 -2022). She was a member of the Australian Diabetes Society Council (2014-2022) and the Council of the Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society (2011-2014). Louise has been providing clinical diabetes services to urban and remote NT communities for over 20 years. She is a current member of the NT Clinical Senate.

In 2020 Louise was awarded the Australian Diabetes Society Ranji and Amara Wikramanayake clinical Diabetes Mid-Career Research award and in 2021, Louise was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. 

Governance

Governance

Governance

Sian Graham - Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group Chair

Sian Graham - Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group Chair

Sian Graham is a Bardi-Jawi and Noongar woman from One Arm Point in the Kimberley and the Balladong region of Western Australia. Sian has lived and worked in remote communities throughout the Northern Territory and Western Australia. 

She has worked at Menzies School of Health Research for 14 years and has led research across several divisions. During this time, Sian has been able to connect with participants and communities to build strong relationships based on trust and respect.  

Sian is the lead Aboriginal researcher of the Diabetes Across the Lifecourse; Northern Australian Partnership, who founded and Chairs the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group. She has grown and sustained this highly successful group for 7 years. She has continuously invested in research capacity and leadership and her work has highlighted the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Governance within research and why Governance is a mechanism for action. 

Sian is dedicated and committed to working towards improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and believes it is her responsibility as an Aboriginal researcher to advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their rights within research. 

Sian strongly believes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must play an imperative role in research, and we need to work together collaboratively to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have an opportunity to provide input into the direction of our research and create platforms for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander to have a voice within research.  

Anthony Gunther - Program Manager

Anthony Gunther - Program Manager

Anthony is the Program Manager within the DIABETES across the LIFECOURSE: Northern Australia Partnership at Menzies School of Health Research. Having held a Project Manager role since 2012, he has been integral to several innovative and influential projects including: Co-designing enhanced models of care for Youth with Type 2 Diabetes, SHOP@RIC, BREAD Study, FoodFox and Healthy Stores 2020. Based in Darwin, Anthony spends a considerable amount of time travelling throughout Northern Australia engaging with service providers, health professionals, and community members.

Governance Groups

The Partnership have 2 groups that meet throughout the year. These groups are the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group and Diabetes in Pregnancy Clinical Reference Group.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group (ATSIAG)

*Previously known as the Indigenous Reference Group (IRG)

First set up by Sian Graham in 2017, the ATSIAG has been successfully engaging Aboriginal members of the community to help guide our research and pave the way for positive, respectful, mutually fulfilling engagement.

ATSIAG meetings are held three times a year, and every year one meeting is scheduled to combine with the Partnerships symposium. The symposium offers ATSIAG members, some of whom are not from the health sector, an opportunity to hear the latest diabetes research, engage with researchers and get a sense of how far-reaching our research is. Several members attended and contributed to a discussion panel in both the 2018 & 2019 Symposium and advised on strategies to commence youth engagement and health coaches’ programs. Importantly the Symposiums have provided ATSIAG members the opportunity to talk with researchers directly and this facilitated knowledge exchange.

Future aims of the ATSIAG include improving engagement with community members, feeding back study results, developing resources to help the community learn more about diabetes and preventing diabetes and obesity in children and strengthening our Aboriginal workforce.

Diabetes in Pregnancy Clinical Reference Group

Diabetes in Pregnancy Clinical Reference Group

Diabetes in Pregnancy Clinical Reference Group

The Diabetes in Pregnancy (DIP) Clinical Reference Group was first established in 2012 by Cherie Whitbread. This reference group has met in various forms over the years and aims to ensure Partnership activities are informed by clinician and health service priorities while providing a forum to translate research findings to changes in policy and practice. The DIP Clinical Reference Group is also an opportunity to support the networking of clinicians working across a broad range of disciplines and health services in the care of women with diabetes in pregnancy.

Meetings are chaired by Partnership clinician-researchers Dr Diana MacKay and Dr Matt Hare, with support from the DIP team. Group membership includes partners in primary care, nursing, midwifery, diabetes education (urban and remote), dietetics, endocrinology, obstetrics, Department of Health corporate systems, and across government, community-controlled, and NGO sectors. If you are interested in joining the group, please get in touch with the DIP team at ntdippartnership@menzies.edu.au

Research Staff

Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring in Women (CAC)

Dr Anna Wood - CAC Lead (BaBCom, MBBS, PhD)

Dr Anna Wood - CAC Lead (BaBCom, MBBS, PhD)

Senior Research Fellow & PANDORA and Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) Lead 

Dr Anna Wood is Head of the Department of Endocrinology at Royal Darwin Hospital and a Senior Research Fellow with Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. She works within the Diabetes Across the Lifecourse Partnership at Menzies and leads the PANDORA study. Dr Wood also leads the weight management service in the NT with expertise in cardiometabolic health. Dr Wood is a Director of the Australian Diabetes Society and serves on the steering committees for the National Association of Diabetes Centres and the Obesity Collective.

Leonie Leigh - Project Officer

Leonie Leigh - Project Officer

Leonie is a Noongar woman from her mother’s side and part Yamatji from her father’s side, originally from Western Australia. She is a saltwater woman, who loves the outdoors and the Darwin Culture. 

Leonie is a Senior Aboriginal Health Practitioner and has been in that role for over 17 years. She completed a Graduate Diploma in Nursing at Flinders University in Diabetes Education and Management. She has gained extensive experience and knowledge in primary health care (PHC) through this. She has delivered PHC to various town camps in the NT and has extensive experience working in remote Aboriginal communities. She has also worked in all aspects of health settings, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Rosemary Graham - Project Officer

Rosemary Graham - Project Officer

Rosemary is a local Indigenous woman. Her country is Roper River (Ngukurr) which is located in the Katherine Region. She has worked in the NT Government for 33 years in three different departments and completed an Associate Degree in Community Development and Management at Curtin University, West Australia. She has worked mostly in Housing, Urban, and Remote.

Seileshia Calma Goodrem - Project Officer

Seileshia Calma Goodrem - Project Officer

Seileshia is a proud Kungarakan Aboriginal woman who is a local to Darwin. For the past seven years, she has dedicated herself to working at her nana’s cherished shop, Paperbark Woman, a beloved local establishment that sells Aboriginal fabrics.

Susan Cottle - Project Coordinator (RN/RM)

Susan Cottle - Project Coordinator (RN/RM)

Sue has worked within Health for over 35 years, predominantly in roles interstate within Indigenous Health; Project Management, Health Service Management, Remote Area Nursing, Aboriginal Medical Service Nurse & Midwifery. Sue commenced with Menzies in 2023 as the Northern Territory Coordinator for The Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) Scoring in Women with Novel Cardiovascular Risk Factor Trial.

Cardiovascular Risk in Indigenous People (CRISP)

Dr Elizabeth Barr - CRISP Lead (BPod, GradDipPod, MPH, PhD)

Dr Elizabeth Barr - CRISP Lead (BPod, GradDipPod, MPH, PhD)

Elizabeth is a senior epidemiologist within the DIABETES across the LIFECOURSE: Northern Australian Partnership. Elizabeth holds appointments at Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. Her PhD work provided the first Australian national data on the cardiovascular and mortality risks associated with diabetes and intermediate hyperglycaemia, with findings providing an important rationale for developing diabetes prevention programs. Elizabeth’s work also contributed to international consortiums: The Emerging Risk Factor Collaboration, headed by a Cambridge University group; and specifically as a means of validating the Globorisk international cardiovascular risk score. Elizabeth received the 2021 Australian Diabetes Society Jeff Flack Diabetes Data Award for the development of epidemiological data systems for chronic conditions. Elizabeth established the Cardiovascular Risk in IndigenouS People (CRISP) study, a collaboration of five epidemiological studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, a key translational project, and collaborates on the NHMRC-funded projects: The eGFR3 study and the Pregnancy And Neonatal Outcomes in Remote Australia (PANDORA) studies. Elizabeth works in partnership with several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community stakeholders to embed community support and priorities within research and translation strategies to improve the lives of people with diabetes, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Elizabeth is committed to capacity building in public health and epidemiology and provides mentorship to research staff and students.

Isabella Marovich - Project Manager

Isabella Marovich - Project Manager

Isabella Marovich is based in Melbourne, Victoria. She has a background in public health and epidemiology, and has worked in research and government roles relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health since 2019. She is passionate about knowledge translation and data-driven policy-making.

Isabella is the Project Manager for Epidemiology and Clinical Diabetes projects and has previously worked in the Diabetes and Pregnancy team in the Partnership. She is currently studying for her Master of Public Health at Charles Darwin University.

Diabetes in Pregnancy (DIP)

Dr Diana MacKay - Diabetes in Pregnancy Lead (MPH, MBBS, BA, FRACP)

Dr Diana MacKay - Diabetes in Pregnancy Lead (MPH, MBBS, BA, FRACP)

Diana MacKay is a clinician-researcher within the Diabetes Across the Lifecourse: Northern Australia Partnership, and is an endocrinologist at Royal Darwin Hospital where she is the Clinical Lead of Diabetes. Diana has research expertise in mixed-methods and program evaluation, in the areas of diabetes and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

Diana is currently completing her PhD, leading the evaluation of the Partnership’s work to improve models of care for diabetes in pregnancy in the NT and Far North Queensland. Diana’s other current research includes a co-design program with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to reduce the diabetes-related risks before, during and after a pregnancy complicated by diabetes, funded by the Medical Research Future Fund.

Originally from South-East Queensland, Diana moved to the NT in 2017. She has developed and contributed to numerous guidelines relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, including the CARPA Remote Primary Healthcare Manuals. She sits on the Clinical Advisory Committee of the Australian Diabetes Society and the NT Maternal and Neonatal Network, and co-chairs the NT Gender Affirming Care Network.

Dr Matt Hare  - Senior Research Fellow (PhD, MBBS Hons, BmedSc Hons, FRACP)

Dr Matt Hare - Senior Research Fellow (PhD, MBBS Hons, BmedSc Hons, FRACP)

Matt is a clinician-researcher whose work focuses on addressing the intergenerational impacts of diabetes and related conditions among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He is a Staff Specialist and Clinical Lead for Remote Services within the Endocrinology Department at Royal Darwin Hospital. Matt is also currently a Board Director of the Australasian Diabetes in Pregnancy Society and serves on the Research Advisory Committee of the Australian Diabetes Society.  

After completing his undergraduate medical training, Matt undertook specialist physician training at The Alfred Hospital and later Monash Health in Melbourne. He moved to Darwin in 2019 to complete a PhD under the supervision of Professor Louise Maple-Brown looking at intergenerational trends in diabetes and cardiometabolic health in a large data-linkage study.

Matt has a longstanding interest in the epidemiology, determinants, and prevention of non-communicable diseases. Through both clinical and academic work, he is committed to working collaboratively to reduce health inequalities. He has previous experience working with the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne and the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge. His work has been recognised with awards and scholarships from the Australian Diabetes Society, National Health and Medical Research Council, International Diabetes Epidemiology Group, Australian Academy of Science, Diabetes Australia, and the US Centers for Disease Control.

Matt is currently the lead investigator on multiple epidemiology and translational projects, with competitive funding from the Diabetes Australia Research Program and the Commonwealth Department of Health.
 

Dr Hannah Barbour - Senior Research Officer

Dr Hannah Barbour - Senior Research Officer

Dr Hannah Barbour is an early career researcher with research and teaching experience in geography and demography. She is currently Research Fellow in Education and Training Evaluation in Regional and Remote Australia at Poche SA + NT, and Senior Research Officer at Menzies School of Health Research.

Isabella Marovich - Project Manager

Isabella Marovich - Project Manager

Isabella Marovich is based in Melbourne, Victoria. She has a background in public health and epidemiology, and has worked in research and government roles relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health since 2019. She is passionate about knowledge translation and data-driven policy-making.

Isabella is the Project Manager for Epidemiology and Clinical Diabetes projects and has previously worked in the Diabetes and Pregnancy team in the Partnership. She is currently studying for her Master of Public Health at Charles Darwin University.

Kim Martin - Project Coordinator, Central Australia

Kim Martin - Project Coordinator, Central Australia

Kim is a physiotherapist with over eight years clinical experience across a variety of acute hospital and community settings. Her passion for working with people inspired her to pursue a career in public health. Her main areas of interest include chronic disease prevention and management, and improving maternal health outcomes in remote communities. Based in Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Kim joined the Partnership in 2021 as the Central Australian Project Coordinator for the Youth Type 2 Diabetes Codesign project and the Diabetes in Pregnancy Codesign project.

Lisa-Maree Pigliafiori - Project Coordinator, FNQ

Lisa-Maree Pigliafiori - Project Coordinator, FNQ

Lisa has worked in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care for over 25 years and has held various positions ranging from Snr Health Worker, Snr Project Officer, Site Coordinator, Advanced Chronic Disease Coordinator, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Coordinator and Cultural Lead positions within several Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, Queensland, and South Australia Health depts, and has worked in several not-for-profit health & education organisations.

Lisa’s passion is working with First Nation people and communities to help close the gap and support self-determination for First Nation people.

Norlisha Bartlett - Project Officer, Top End

Norlisha Bartlett - Project Officer, Top End

Norlisha is a Bardi and Jabirr-Jabirr woman from the Kimberley. Norlisha has nine years of experience working in remote communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, including work in the Diabetes Partnership.

Norlisha has been with the Diabetes Partnership for four years and is now a Project Officer in the Diabetes in Pregnancy team and Stakeholder Engagement. 

Norlisha is passionate and committed to working with communities to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, families, and communities. 

Sherrelle Khan - Project Officer, Central Australia

Sherrelle Khan - Project Officer, Central Australia

Sherrelle is an Adnyamathanha, Arabana and Afghan woman, originally from South Australia. Sherrelle moved to Mparntwe (Alice Springs) in 2015 and currently works as an Aboriginal Health Practitioner in the maternity ward at Alice Springs Hospital. With 13 years’ experience in maternal health, Sherrelle has previously worked as a first contact for Midwifery Group Practice patients and as an Aboriginal Maternal Infant Care worker at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Adelaide.

Sherrelle is passionate about working with pregnant and postnatal women to support them and their families, and joins the Diabetes in Pregnancy Codesign team in Central Australia in the role of Project Officer – Community and Stakeholder Engagement.

Tara Dias  - Senior Research Officer

Tara Dias - Senior Research Officer

Tara coordinates the Diabetes in Pregnancy co-design study and is based in Darwin. She joined the team in late 2019, bringing experience in community and organisational development, health policy and consumer/systemic advocacy.

Dr Winnie Chen - Senior Research Fellow (PhD, MPH, MBBS, FRACP)

Dr Winnie Chen - Senior Research Fellow (PhD, MPH, MBBS, FRACP)

Dr Winnie Chen is a clinician with research interests in health economics and health informatics.

Winnie recently completed her PhD with the Territory Kidney Care team at Menzies. She is developing skill sets in health economics (modelled economic evaluations), health informatics (EHR/clinical decision support), and data analysis (Python/R).

Winnie works clinically as a GP and is a lecturer at Flinders NT. Previously, she worked as a medical editor (Medical Journal of Australia) and clinical guidelines editor (Northern Territory Primary Health Network).

Yirgjhilya Lawrie - Project Officer, FNQ

Yirgjhilya Lawrie - Project Officer, FNQ

Yirgjhilya is a proud Wuthathi Woman from Shelburne Bay, Cape York, Far North Queensland and a proud Mirning Woman from the Far West Coast of South Australia raised in Cairns, Far North Queensland. Yirgjhilya is a skilled and highly qualified Administrator who studied business and gained valuable experience over the past seven years working throughout Australia. Yirgjhilya is passionate and committed to health equity for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and, through this passion, is a Director on the Board of Wuchopperen Health Service in Cairns, Far North Queensland. 

Pregnancy and Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia (PANDORA)

Dr Anna Wood - PANDORA Lead (PhD, MBBS, BaBCom)

Dr Anna Wood - PANDORA Lead (PhD, MBBS, BaBCom)

Senior Research Fellow & PANDORA and Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) Lead 

Dr Anna Wood is Head of Department of Endocrinology at Royal Darwin Hospital and a Senior Research Fellow with Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. She works within the Diabetes Across the Lifecourse Partnership at Menzies, and leads the PANDORA study. Dr Wood  also leads the weight management service in the NT with expertise in cardiometabolic health. Dr Wood is a Director of the Australian Diabetes Society and serves on the steering committees for the National Association of Diabetes Centres and the Obesity Collective.

Ally Guistino - Project Coordinator

Ally Guistino - Project Coordinator

After spending 2 years working on the Aboriginal Birth Cohort study and the Top End Cohort study as Project Officer, Ally has now taken on the Project Co-Ordinator position on the Pregnancy and Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia (PANDORA) study.

Ally has over 10 years’ experience as a Physiotherapist, and over 5 years’ experience working as a health professional in Indigenous remote health.

Her passion for working with and helping to contribute and improve health outcomes for First Nations peoples, led her to taking on a research-based role here at Menzies. 

Alison Simmonds - Project Officer

Alison Simmonds - Project Officer

Trained as a Physiotherapist, Alison has enjoyed the transition to project work and has worked on quite a few studies at Menzies in her more than 10 years with the organisation.

She has worked on all stages of the PANDORA study excluding the initial recruitment of participants.

Ellie Strahley - Project Officer

Ellie Strahley - Project Officer

Ellie is based in Larrakia Country (Darwin) and her background is in Exercise Physiology. Her keen interest in remote health and commitment to improving health outcomes for those living with chronic disease led her to join the Diabetes Partnership in January 2023.

Leonie Leigh - Project Officer

Leonie Leigh - Project Officer

Leonie is a Noongar woman from her mother’s side and part Yamatji from her father’s side, originally from Western Australia. She is a saltwater woman, who loves the outdoors and the Darwin Culture. 

Leonie is a Senior Aboriginal Health Practitioner and has been in that role for over 17 years. She completed a Graduate Diploma in Nursing at Flinders University in Diabetes Education and Management. Through this, she has gained extensive experience and knowledge in primary health care (PHC). She has delivered PHC to various town camps in the NT and has extensive experience working in remote Aboriginal communities. She has also worked in all aspects of health settings, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Youth Diabetes (YT2)

Dr Angela Titmuss - Senior Research Fellow (PhD, B Sci Med Hons, MBBS Hons, MPH, FRACP)

Dr Angela Titmuss - Senior Research Fellow (PhD, B Sci Med Hons, MBBS Hons, MPH, FRACP)

Angela Titmuss is a paediatric endocrinologist and paediatrician at Royal Darwin Hospital and Senior Research Fellow at Menzies School of Health Research, working within the youth type 2 diabetes team of the diabetes across the Lifecourse: Northern Australian Partnership. Her PhD explored the prevalence and characteristics of youth-onset type 2 diabetes among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in northern Australia. It also explored the impact of maternal hyperglycaemia in pregnancy on the growth, cardiometabolic profile and developmental risk of children, part of the Pregnancy and Neonatal Diabetes Outcomes in Remote Australia (PANDORA) study. Her PhD work was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians NHMRC Woolcock Award, the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation, the Diabetes Australia Research Program, and an NHMRC Hot North PhD Completion Scholarship. 

She is an Investigator on several studies exploring prevention strategies for obesity and type 2 diabetes in childhood, as well as the development of new models of care for management of youth-onset type 2 diabetes, and youth engagement. She is the only paediatric endocrinologist in the Northern Territory and also provides outreach and clinical support across the region. She sits on multiple regional and national representative bodies regarding youth-onset type 2 diabetes and has been heavily involved in clinical guideline development and workforce education.

Aiden McDowell - Project Coordinator, Katherine

Aiden McDowell - Project Coordinator, Katherine

Aiden is based in Katherine working as a Project Coordinator for two Youth Type 2 Diabetes projects focused on the Big Rivers region of the NT. His background is in Public Health spending time working for an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation servicing remote communities in the Kimberley of WA. He also has experience working in the charity and government sectors in WA. Aiden spent time in Europe completing his Master of Public Health in Hamburg, Germany and an internship at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Aiden is passionate about preventing chronic diseases and improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

Damian Kukulies - Project Coordinator, FNQ

Damian Kukulies - Project Coordinator, FNQ

Damian is a Dietitian with a strong interest in research and population health, specifically in chronic disease management and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  He has worked as a clinical dietitian with remote communities in Cape York to achieve better health outcomes through improvements in food security and store environments.

Damian is a team member of the Diabetes Across the Lifecourse Northern Australia Partnership. He works in the Youth Type 2 Diabetes Team, which is focused on improving the support and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with type 2 diabetes aged 10-25.

Emma Weaver - Evaluation Officer, Central Australia

Emma Weaver - Evaluation Officer, Central Australia

Emma is an evaluator in the youth diabetes team based in Mparntwe, Alice Springs. She has a particular interest in the social determinants of health and how these intersect with youth-onset type 2 diabetes prevention and management.

Since joining the Partnership in 2019 she has supported the use of participatory evaluation approaches to strengthen project outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Jade Morris - Community Liaison Officer, Top End

Jade Morris - Community Liaison Officer, Top End

Jo Kelaart - Merne Mwerre Artweye Areye-ke Project Manager, Central Australia

Jo Kelaart - Merne Mwerre Artweye Areye-ke Project Manager, Central Australia

Jo is based in Mparntwe, Alice Springs. Jo has extensive experience working in Central Australia as a Nurse in a variety of clinical settings. She is committed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities to improve health outcomes for those living with chronic disease.

Jo joined the Partnership in 2016 and is currently the Project Manager for the Merne Mwerre Artweye Areye-ke program. A family-based prevention program for obesity and diabetes in childhood.

Marylin Cariño - Project Coordinator, Top End

Marylin Cariño - Project Coordinator, Top End

Marylin is working with the youth diabetes team as a Project Coordinator for the Top End region and has been with the Partnership since 2022. Previously based on Treaty 1 Territory, the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, Dene, and Métis Peoples, she is now based in Larrakia Country. She has over 10 years of experience in coordinating projects in North America, Europe and Africa. She is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®).

 

Natasha Freeman - Project Support & Evaluation

Natasha Freeman - Project Support & Evaluation

Natasha has worked within the Diabetes Across the Lifecourse Northern Australia Partnership as a qualitative researcher and evaluator since 2018. She currently works as an evaluator for the Youth Type 2 Diabetes Team, which focuses on co-designing youth-friendly, culturally appropriate models of care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with type 2 diabetes aged 10-25. Natasha has both led and contributed to several evaluations for various teams, since commencing with Menzies in 2016. Before working at Menzies, Natasha worked in rural and regional centres in Western Australia and Far North Queensland focusing on health promotion and building workforce capacity.

Shiree Mack - Community Liaison Officer, Central Australia

Shiree Mack - Community Liaison Officer, Central Australia

Shiree is an Arrernte woman employed during the formative work of this project (community consultation and adaptation of TTP). She has prior research experience with the formative work for the Youth Type 2 Diabetes project and continued to develop her capacity significantly during her time on this work in Central Australia. She completed a range of capacity-building activities during the community consultation and adaptation of TTP and is formally involved as a co-researcher on the team and will continue to develop her research capacity. She mentors and supports new Aboriginal community-based members of the team who are employed on projects. Shiree is also a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group.

Students

Students

Students

Dr Anna McLean - PhD Candidate (MBBS, FRACP)

Dr Anna McLean - PhD Candidate (MBBS, FRACP)

PhD Project: “Improving outcomes for women with diabetes in pregnancy in Far North Queensland”

Dr Diana MacKay - PhD Candidate (BA, MBBS, MPH, FRACP)

Dr Diana MacKay - PhD Candidate (BA, MBBS, MPH, FRACP)

PhD Project: “Supporting a more inclusive model of care: Incorporating the voices of women and their families in care during and after a pregnancy complicated by diabetes”

Dr Emily Papadimos - PhD Candidate (MBBS)

Dr Emily Papadimos - PhD Candidate (MBBS)

PhD Project: “The influence of in-utero diabetes exposure on growth outcomes and cardio-metabolic risk in early childhood: follow-up of the PANDORA cohort”

Emily is a paediatrician and paediatric endocrinologist who is currently undertaking a PhD at the Menzies School of Health Research. Her clinical experience of the increasing burden of type 2 diabetes mellitus in children, particularly in remote communities led her to pursue further research in the field. Her PhD will describe the epidemiology of youth-onset type 2 diabetes in Indigenous populations and will evaluate the contribution of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy on childhood growth and cardiometabolic parameters. She is supported by a NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarship and the Douglas and Lola Douglas Scholarship in Medical Science from the Australian Academy of Science. Emily enjoys learning about Indigenous culture and is passionate about improving the health of Indigenous children.

Emma Weaver - PhD Candidate (MPH, BA)

Emma Weaver - PhD Candidate (MPH, BA)

PhD Project: Exploring effective strategies to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and children to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes in Central Australia”

Emma is an evaluator in the youth diabetes team based in Mparntwe, Alice Springs. She has a particular interest in the social determinants of health and how these intersect with youth-onset type 2 diabetes prevention and management.

Since joining the Partnership in 2019 she has supported the use of participatory evaluation approaches to strengthen project outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Kim Martin - MPH Candidate (BHlth&RehabSc, MPhysioPrac)

Kim Martin - MPH Candidate (BHlth&RehabSc, MPhysioPrac)

MPH Project: DiaBEATz: A case study in codesigning a multimedia resource to address youth type 2 diabetes shame and stigma among First Nations communities”

Kim is a physiotherapist with over eight years clinical experience across a variety of acute hospital and community settings. Her passion for working with people inspired her to pursue a career in public health. Her main areas of interest include chronic disease prevention and management, and improving maternal health outcomes in remote communities. Based in Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Kim joined the Partnership in 2021 as the Central Australian Project Coordinator for the Youth Type 2 Diabetes Codesign project and the Diabetes in Pregnancy Codesign project.

Kylie Hopkins - PhD Candidate (MPHTM, M Nutr&Dietet, BSc Health Promotion, BSc Nutrition, APD)

Kylie Hopkins - PhD Candidate (MPHTM, M Nutr&Dietet, BSc Health Promotion, BSc Nutrition, APD)

PhD Project: “Informing culturally safe and resonant care practices for type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity; an exploratory study into the perspectives and knowledges of First Nations people in the Kimberley, Western Australia”

Kylie is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian with 16 years’ experience, living and working throughout remote Northern Australia, though calling Kununurra home since 2010. Prior to this role Kylie held senior clinical and management positions gaining experience in primary health, private practice, tertiary and rural/remote settings. Her career has been strongly focused on improving nutritional access and nutrition educational opportunities for regional communities. With a passion for mentoring, teaching and research, Kylie transitioned into academia lecturing in nutrition, public health, rural/remote health care and health promotion at Charles Darwin University in 2020. With a keen interest in research, Kylie began Doctoral studies in 2022. Her research aims to contribute to the development of culturally safe care practices for First Nations people with T2DM and obesity.

Dr Mary Wicks - PhD Candidate (BTh Philosophy, BHSc, MPHC Indig Health, MBBS Hon, GradCert Clin Ultrasound, FRACP)

Dr Mary Wicks - PhD Candidate (BTh Philosophy, BHSc, MPHC Indig Health, MBBS Hon, GradCert Clin Ultrasound, FRACP)

PhD Project: “PANDORA Wave 2, Diabetes and Pancreatitis in Central Australia (DAPINCA) & Diabetes Phenotypes”

Mary is a specialist physician based in Alice Springs. She has been heavily involved in providing specialist care to both urban and remote Aboriginal people in the NT since 2012. Currently, she works with Pintupi Homelands Health Service in Kintore and provides specialist clinics to the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs. Her areas of research focus on providing better healthcare to Aboriginal peoples of Central Australia through contributions to understanding intergenerational and atypical diabetes as well as intercultural relationships and communication.

Investigators

Investigators

Prof Alex Brown, SAHMRI

Dr Anna McLean, Cairns Hospital 

Prof Ashim Sinha, Cairns Diabetes Centre

Ms Bronwyn Davis, University of Melbourne 

Dr Christine Connors, NT Department of Health

Prof David McIntyre, Mater Research

Ms Heather D’Antoine, Menzies School of Health Research

Dr Jacki Mein, Apunipima Cape York Health Council 

A/Prof Jacqui Boyle, Monash University

Prof Jeremy Oats, University of Melbourne

Prof Jonathan Shaw, Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute 

Prof Kerin O’Dea, University of South Australia

Prof Liz Davis, Telethon Kids Institute

Dr Leisa McCarthy, Menzies School of Health Research

Dr Liz Moore, AMSANT

Ms Margie Cotter, AMSANT

Dr Mark Wenitong, Apunipima Cape York Health Council 

Prof Paul Zimmet, Monash University

A/Prof Rae-Chi Huang, Telethon Kids Institute

Prof Richard Saffery, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Prof Robyn McDermott, James Cook University 

Ms Sumaria Corpus, Danila Dilba

Prof Maggie Jamieson, NT Department of Health

Prof Tony Hanley, University of Toronto, Canada

Prof Stewart Harris, University of Western Ontario, Canada

Prof Brandy Wicklow, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, Canada 

Prof Dana Dabelea, University of Colorado, Denver USA

Dr Patrick Catalano, Tufts University of Medicine, Boston USA

Ethics

All components of the Partnership have current approval from the relevant Human Research Ethics Committee. The Human Research Ethics Committee  of Northern Territory Health and Menzies School of Health Research (NT HREC) regarding any complaints or concerns about any of the Partnership projects:

Phone: (08) 8946 8687 or (08) 8946 8692

Email: ethics@menzies.edu.au

Funding

Thank you to National Health and Medical Research Council, the Global Alliance of Chronic Diseases, Diabetes Australia Research Program, Channel 7 Children Research Foundation, Australian Government Department of Health, Central Australia Academic Health Science Network and Donations from Ian Albrey and Edwina Menzies.

 

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