Our cause:

Until now cancer has been a low priority on the Indigenous health agenda, despite the disease accounting for a greater number of deaths each year than diabetes and kidney disease.

Little is known about the availability of Indigenous-specific cancer support services, which models of care are most effective and which aspects of health service design and delivery could be modified to improve cancer outcomes. We also know relatively little about the needs of Indigenous cancer patients and their families, including how they can engage productively with health services.

The Centre for Research Excellence in Discovering Indigenous Strategies to Improve Cancer Outcomes Via Engagement, Research Translation and Training (DISCOVER-TT) was established in 2013 to address these knowledge gaps. Through innovative, high-quality, priority-driven, applied health services research, DISCOVER-TT will build an evidence base to reduce disparities in the treatment and survival of Indigenous Australians with cancer.

How DISCOVER-TT began:

DISCOVER-TT was established as a direct outcome of two key events in 2010 in the field of Indigenous cancer control. The first was a comprehensive review commissioned by Cancer Australia into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer control research, and the second was a National Roundtable discussion on Priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cancer Research organised by The Lowitja Institute and Queensland Institute of Medical Research. The latter event called for the establishment of a centre to ensure that Indigenous cancer research be translated into health policy and practice.

Based on these events, seven critical elements were identified to improve cancer control for Indigenous Australians and these underpin all DISCOVER-TT research activities:

  1. involvement and leadership of Indigenous people at all stages of the process
  2. an over-arching governance arrangement to identify strategic priorities and to ensure research relevance and benefit
  3. collaboration across jurisdictions and institutions as well as among researchers, policy-makers, service providers and consumers
  4. a nationally integrated and coordinated approach
  5. new research that builds systematically on what has already been done
  6. audit and feedback
  7. translation into practice.
Our funders and supporters:

DISCOVER-TT is funded by a five year (2012–2017) $2.4m grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council. It is based at the Menzies School of Health Research in Brisbane and will bring together key researchers, health professionals and consumer advocacy groups from across Australia, and actively promote the translation of research knowledge into Australian public health policy and practice.

Overview:

DISCOVER-TT will bring together key researchers, who have predominantly been working in single jurisdictions on different aspects of Indigenous cancer control, to facilitate the sharing of lessons across jurisdictions and across complex issues in the cancer control spectrum, and to build capacity in culturally-appropriate health services research.

The DISCOVER-TT research program will comprise two key areas:

  • Program area 1 - Pathways and outcomes of care
  • Program area 2 - Improving models of care and service delivery.

The results of this work will help to determine our future research directions. Importantly, we will also work closely with key stakeholders to make sure we are addressing the most relevant knowledge gaps.

Publications:
  1. Condon, J., Garvey, G., Whop, L.J., Valery, P.C., Thomas, D., Gruen, R., et al. (2013). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and Cancer. Cancer Forum, 37(1), 27-30.
  2. Garvey, G., Cunningham, J., Valery, P. C., Condon, J., Roder, D., Bailie, R., et al. (2011). Reducing the burden of cancer for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: Time for a coordinated, collaborative, priority-driven, Indigenous-led research program—Viewpoint. Medical Journal of Australia, 194(10), 530. 

CancerInfoNet provides recent references compiled from HealthInfoNet’s bibliographic database addressing cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. References are divided into general and specific topics and include journal articles, reports, theses, and other literature. 

Project documents:

DISCOVER-TT Publication Policy

The DISCOVER-TT Publication Policy is for researchers involved in DISCOVER-TT projects. It outlines requirements and processes for publishing and presenting results from DISCOVER-TT projects. 

DISCOVER-TT Principles of Practice

The DISCOVER-TT Principles of Practice is for researchers involved in DISCOVER-TT projects. It outlines seven principles for achieving improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes through research. 

Events:

National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) Breast Cancer Research Roundtable 2014

In August 2014 a one-day National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) Breast Cancer Research Roundtable was held which focused on developing research priorities for breast cancer among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. The Roundtable was an initiative of the National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) and the Menzies School of Health Research, with funding provided by the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

The Roundtable was attended by over 45 people from a wide range of health sectors, cancer care organisations and services, and research groups involved with cancer in Indigenous people.

Two primary themes were discussed at the Roundtable:

  1. Early detection, risk management, and screening
  2. Treatment, care, and survivorship.

The group also identified a number of underpinning themes that were to be discussed in their group discussions, including; empowerment, community and consumer engagement and involvement, culture, holism and complexity, structure and governance, and principles of collecting and managing data.

The full report from the roundtable can be accessed below as well as a smaller summary report. For any further information about the roundtable please contact NICaN.

A two page summary report of the 2014 National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) Breast Cancer Research Roundtable.

A report on the presentations, group discussions and outcomes from the 2014 National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) Breast Cancer Research Roundtable.

National Indigenous Cancer Network Roundtable 2013

In March 2013 a two-day National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) Roundtable was held which focused on engagement, research translation and training; using strategies for connecting, communicating and collaborating.

The roundtable was attended by more than 80 people representing 47 different organisations over a range of sectors, services and research groups involved in cancer work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The group came together to discuss and report on: creating networks and networking, cancer education, pathways and outcomes of care, improving models of care and service delivery, research gaps and priorities.
Two reports from the roundtable can be accessed below. A longer, more detailed report is available on request by contacting NICaN.

Further information about the roundtable is available on the NICaN website.

A two page summary report of the 2013 National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) Roundtable.

A report on the action items and outcomes from the 2013 National Indigenous Cancer Network (NICaN) Roundtable.

  1. Indigenous cancer centre of excellence unveiled

    Indigenous cancer centre of excellence unveiled

    Date

    The launch of Australia’s first Indigenous cancer research centre is set to improve the diagnosis, treatment and survival rates for Indigenous Australians with cancer.

  2. New network to push Indigenous cancer into the spotlight

    New network to push Indigenous cancer into the spotlight

    Date

    A new national cancer research network will launch on World Cancer Day aimed at improving quality of life and survival rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer patients in Australia.

  3. Menzies' lung and cancer programs win $5 million in 'research excellence' funding

    Menzies' lung and cancer programs win $5 million in 'research excellence' funding

    Date

    Two esteemed lung health and cancer research programs from the Menzies School of Health Research were today declared ‘Centres for Research Excellence’ and awarded funding of $2.5 million each over five years.

  4. National Indigenous Cancer Network Roundtable 2013 - DISCOVER-TT Launch .

    National Indigenous Cancer Network Roundtable 2013 - DISCOVER-TT Launch .

    Date

    The official launch of the Centre of Research Excellence in Discovering Indigenous Strategies to improve Cancer Outcomes via Engagement, Research Translation and Training (DISCOVER --TT) and the National Indigenous Cancer Network Roundtable 2013...

  5. Study examines cancer survival statistics for Indigenous Australians

    Study examines cancer survival statistics for Indigenous Australians

    Date

    Cancer Council Queensland is calling for enhanced joint efforts to improve Indigenous cancer control following the release of research findings that cancer survival is lower for Indigenous than non-Indigenous Australians for all cancers combined, and for many specific types of cancer.

Chief investigators:
  • Associate Professor Gail Garvey, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Professor Joan Cunningham, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Professor Dianne O’Connell, Cancer Council NSW
  • Professor Sandra Thompson, University of Western Australia
  • Professor John Condon, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Dr Pam McGrath, Griffith University
  • Dr Mick Adams, Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • Dr Sabe Sabeson, Townsville Hospital
  • Dr Bronwyn Morris, Menzies School of Health Research.
Associate investigators:
  • Professor Samar Aoun, WA Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care
  • Associate Professor Peter Baade, Cancer Council Queensland
  • Professor Ross Bailie, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Dr Siddhartha Baxi, Alan Walker Cancer Centre
  • Dr Srinivas Kondalsamy-Chennakesavan, University of Queensland
  • Mr Alwin Chong, The Aboriginal Health Council, South Australia
  • Professor Patricia Davidson, University of Technology Sydney
  • Dr Raghu Gowda, Royal Adelaide Hospital
  • Professor Jane Ingham, University of New South Wales
  • Dr Vikki Knott, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Professor Ian Olver, Cancer Council Australia
  • Professor David Roder, University of South Australia
  • Dr Shaouli Shahid, University of Western Australia
  • Mr Rajah Supramaniam, The Cancer Council NSW
  • Professor Jane Young, The University of Sydney and Cancer Institute NSW
  • Dr Brenda Elias, University of Manitoba, Canada
  • Associate Professor Diana Safarti, University of Otago, New Zealand
  • Dr Lis Ellison-Loschmann, Massey University, New Zealand
  • Dr Linda Burhansstipanov, Native American Cancer Research.
Post-doctoral fellows:
  • Dr Christina Bernardes, Menzies School of Health Research, Project N4: Supportive care needs of Indigenous cancer patients across Australia
  • Dr Mick Adams, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Project N5: Health care utilisation at the end of life and palliative care needs for Indigenous cancer patients and Project N8: The role of Indigenous cancer survivors in improving cancer awareness and outcomes for Indigenous cancer patients.
  • Dr Belinda Thewes, Menzies School of Health Research, Project N9: Supportive care needs assessment tool – project implementation
  • Dr Suzanne Moore, Menzies School of Health Research, Project N1: Cervical screening participation and outcomes for Australian women.
Project staff:
  • Mr Greg Levin, University of Western Australia
  • Ms Leanne Pilkington, University of Western Australia
  • Ms Michele Holloway, University of Western Australia
Advisory Board (Indigenous majority):
  • Ms Jill Gallagher AO, (Co-Chair) Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled  Health Organisation
  • Mr Alwin Chong (Co-Chair), Transition Manager, Aboriginal Health Council SA
  • Ms Pat Anderson AO, Chairperson, Lowitja Institute
  • Dr Siddhartha Baxi, Radiation Oncologist RANZCR MBBS Alan Walker Cancer Centre, Northern Territory
  • Mr David 'Tarnda' Copley, Cancer Survivor
  • Ms Margarette Fisher, Aboriginal Health Worker Chronic Disease / Cancer Facilitator, Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service
  • Aunty Margaret Lawton, Cancer Survivor and NICaN Ambassador
  • Ms Sharan Nicholson-Rogers, Chief Executive Officer, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance
  • Professor Ian Olver AO, Director, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia
  • Professor David Roder, Chair of Cancer Epidemiology and Population Health, University of South Australia
  • Ms Adelaide Saylor, Cancer Survivor, NICaN Ambassador and  Senior Youth and Family, Culture and Care Coordinator, Carinity Education Southside
  • Ms Kathy Smith Chair, Cancer Voices NSW, Board Member, Cancer Voices Australia
  • Professor Patsy Yates, Project Director, Centre for Palliative Care Research and Education
  • Dr Helen Zorbas AO Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Australia.
Our students:
Cadets:
  • Alana Gall, cadetship, BA Health Science - Nutritional Medicine.

Associate Professor Gail Garvey, co-chief investigator
Email or phone: (07) 3169 4220

Professor Joan Cunningham, co-chief investigator
Email or phone: (03) 9819 2245

Dr Bronwyn Morris, community engagement and translation manager
Email or phone: (07) 3169 4214

Brian Arley, community engagement and communications officer
Email or phone: (07) 3169 4235

Bridget Kehoe, community engagement and communications officer
Email or phone: (07) 3169 4235

Alana Gall, community engagement and translation assistant
Email or phone: (07) 3169 4235

Noel Matson, business manager
Email or phone: (07) 3169 4202