Aboriginal Communities And Families Research Alliance (ACRA)

Aboriginal Communities And Families Research Alliance (ACRA)

The Aboriginal Communities and Families Health Research Alliance (ACRA) brings together researchers, Aboriginal community members, policymakers and service providers to facilitate community-driven, culturally respectful research to benefit Aboriginal families and communities.

Aboriginal family

ACRA also focuses on knowledge exchange and translation of this research into ongoing improvements in culturally appropriate health care services supporting Aboriginal maternal, perinatal, child and family health and wellbeing. Through this work, ACRA creates strong and sustainable research partnerships and collaborations between community, researchers, service providers and government.

ACRA was formally launched at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in November 2017.

The program’s work includes:

  • The Aboriginal Family Study – A prospective cohort study investigating the health and wellbeing of 344 Aboriginal children and their mothers living in urban, regional and remote areas of South Australia. The study was developed in response to gaps in the available evidence to inform health policy and services and was preceded by extensive consultation with Aboriginal communities and services in South Australia. A follow-up study has been undertaken involving children aged 5-8 years, the results of which are been analysed. Seven policy briefs have been produced.
  • New MRFF-funded study – Working with Aboriginal families and health and social service providers in two metropolitan hospitals in Adelaide to assess care packages to reduce cannabis and alcohol use and social stress in pregnancy.
  • A survey of parent/caregivers – The survey will involve parents/caregivers of 150 Aboriginal infants and young children from urban, rural, and remote SA. This will inform the evidence base on feeding practices and anaemia to develop targeted nutritional strategies to prevent obesity and anaemia in Aboriginal children, for Aboriginal health service providers.
  • The Aboriginal Family and Baby Bundles (ABFABB) Study – Designed to improve healthy weight outcomes for Aboriginal women, their children and families by providing “baby bundles” consisting of fresh food or vouchers. The study also involves health monitoring at nine key stages through pregnancy and postpartum to the age of 12 months. 
There is also a blood test for Omega 3 levels during pregnancy. Aboriginal Mums are often at the low end of the scale. The ABFABB study has almost completed data collection.
  • The breastfeeding study – this is a sub-study of ABFABB involving phone interviews with Aboriginal mums and mums of Aboriginal babies who took part in the Aboriginal Family Birthing Program at WCH or other birthing programs through Nunkuwarrin Yunti. The aims are to understand baby’s first foods and nutrition, understand breastfeeding decisions, experiences and social issues that impact breastfeeding and to determine what supports were or were not offered and/or useful. The purpose of this is to improve our understanding of needs around feeding and improve services to support mothers with breast and other feeding, and nutrition.
  • The Safer Families Centre of Research Excellence – Making families safer by generating evidence-informed knowledge to transform health. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theme is focused on all family members being part of solutions and improving staff skills through policy, education and training.