SA Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium

SA Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium
Project Status: Completed
Project administered by: SAHMRI

The South Australian Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium was established to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal South Australians by working to prevent and detect early heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes as well as support those who are living with these chronic diseases.

The Consortium is a collaborative partnership of government and non-government organisations which shapes Aboriginal health policy and service systems in SA to address chronic disease prevention, care and management. It comprises key stakeholders across the health system including lead clinical experts, Aboriginal health peak body and leaders, Aboriginal community experts, policy makers, university partners and private foundations who have a shared vision to reduce the impact of chronic disease experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South Australia.

These approaches are based on available and emerging evidence and aligned with priorities identified by Aboriginal community and health experts. It is well documented that the stark disparities in these chronic diseases form the daily reality for many Aboriginal people in SA. We know that with concerted effort across the health sector, working in partnership with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and other services with a responsibility for Aboriginal health, we have the potential to improve prevention activities and enhance access to health care services for Aboriginal people.


The Consortium was the Aboriginal Health priority of Health Translation SA, to drive, coordinate and sustain the implementation of South Australia’s three chronic disease plans:

  • The South Australian Aboriginal Heart and Stroke Plan
  • The South Australian Aboriginal Diabetes Strategy
  • The South Australian Aboriginal Cancer Control Plan

The development of these three plans, finalised in June 2016, was funded by SA Health and included an extensive review of the evidence including available health system data, consultation and engagement with service providers and community members, consideration of current services and recommendations to improve service provision.

The South Australian Aboriginal Health Partnership (SAAHP) supported the translation of these three plans into action at a high level through the establishment of the SA Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium in early 2017. SAAHP is an executive level, cross-sector committee which brings together the State and Commonwealth Governments and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to improve Aboriginal health and wellbeing outcomes in South Australia.

The South Australian Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium (the Consortium) sits within the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) accredited SA Academic Health Science and Translation Centre and while it is a virtual Centre the Consortium Coordinating Centre is located at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. There are a range of reasons why setting up the SA Aboriginal Chronic Disease Consortium is a valuable strategic approach to enable the implementation of the three plans.

These include:

  • An integrated approach can improve outcomes that resonate with all the conditions.
  • A focused effort can link a wide range of providers across the continuum of care and reduce duplication.
  • Health system improvements can benefit people that have all of these conditions.
  • A joined up approach resonates and aligns with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people worldviews and definition of health being a holistic view where physical, spiritual and environment are interconnected and not segmented into body parts.

Community members carry a high burden of comorbidities with many families dealing with heart, stroke, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and cancer. These conditions have common behavioural factors including smoking, low intake of fruit and vegetables, being overweight, lack of exercise and unhealthy levels of alcohol or drug use. All of these chronic diseases are largely preventable especially when we consider the impact of the social determinants of heath including poverty, income, housing and education.

    Our Vision

    To reduce the impact of chronic disease experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in South Australia through the delivery of collaborative, appropriate, well-coordinated and evidence based strategies.

    The Consortium will work in close partnerships with both Aboriginal community leaders and health leaders who share our vision. Partnerships is the only way we can achieve a ‘Healthier future together’ and achieve health equity for Aboriginal communities across South Australia.

    This project is funded by SA Health