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Darwin, Australia

Charles Darwin University is an Australian public university with about 22,083 students as of 2011. It was established in 2003 after the merger of Northern Territory University of Darwin, the Menzies School of Health Research and Centralian College of Alice Springs and it was named after Charles Darwin, the celebrated English naturalist. It is a member of the group of 7 Innovative Research Universities in Australia. CDU has campuses in the Darwin suburb of Casuarina, the city of Palmerston, and the towns of Alice Springs, Katherine and Nhulunbuy, with smaller training centres in Jabiru, Tennant Creek and Yulara. A new Waterfront Campus is scheduled to open in 2014 in the Darwin CBD and will contain the Business School.The University offers a wide range of Higher Education degrees and Vocational Education and Training courses with flexible study options, including part-time, external and online. Wikipedia.

Thomas D.P.,Charles Darwin University
The Medical journal of Australia | Year: 2012

To describe smoking intensity among Indigenous Australians and any changes that occurred between 1994 and 2008. Analysis of data from two national cross-sectional household surveys conducted among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people--the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey, and the 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, with 8565 and 7803 respondents aged 15 years and over, respectively. Self-reported number of cigarettes per day (CPD) smoked. In 2008, the mean number of CPD smoked by Indigenous smokers was 14.8 (95% CI, 14.1-15.4 CPD). The age-standardised proportion of Indigenous people who smoked more than 20 CPD declined from 17.3% in 1994 (95% CI, 15.8%-18.7%) to 9.4% in 2008 (95% CI, 8.4%-10.5%), a 45% relative reduction. The proportion of respondents who smoked 1-10 CPD increased from 16.8% (95% CI, 15.1%-18.5%) to 21.6% (95% CI, 20.1%-23.2%). Together with reports of the decreasing prevalence of smoking among Indigenous people, this first report of a significant reduction in heavy smoking by Indigenous smokers is good news. Reducing smoking intensity and prevalence will lead to fewer deaths and less illness due to smoking. Reducing the number of heavy smokers will also assist smoking cessation among Indigenous people. These changes in smoking intensity occurred before the recent increase in attention to and investment in tobacco control in Indigenous communities, but at a time of significant mainstream anti-tobacco public health activity. Similar trends in smoking intensity have been reported in the total Australian population. Source

Thomas D.,Charles Darwin University
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health | Year: 2012

Objective: To describe the trends in the prevalence of smoking, quitting and initiation among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women aged 18 years and over. Methods: Analysis of responses to smoking questions in national Indigenous surveys in 1994, 2002, 2004 and 2008. Results: Male Indigenous smoking prevalence fell significantly from 58.5% in 1994 to 52.6% in 2008, an absolute decrease of 0.4 (CI 0.1-0.7)% per year, with the same decline in remote and nonremote areas. Female smoking fell from 51.0% to 47.4%, with markedly different changes in remote and non-remote areas. In non-remote areas, there was an absolute decrease in female smoking of 0.5 (CI 0.2-0.9)% per year, but in remote areas, female smoking increased by 0.4 (CI 0.0-0.8)% per year. From 2002 to 2008, the percentage of ever-smokers who had quit (quit ratio) increased absolutely by 1% per year in both men and women, remote and non-remote areas. Results about trends in initiation were inconclusive. Conclusions and Implications: Health Minister Roxon has committed to halving the Indigenous smoking prevalence by 2018, and has dramatically increased Indigenous-specific funding and activity in tobacco control. The reported historical trends in this paper are encouraging as they occurred at a time when there was little such tobacco control activity focused on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, to meet the Minister's goal, Indigenous smoking prevalence will need to fall more than six times as quickly as occurred from 1994 to 2008. © 2012 The Authors. ANZJPH. Source

People living in rural and remote Australia experience increased mental health problems compared with metropolitan Australians. Moreover, Indigenous Australians are twice as likely as non Indigenous Australians to report high or very high levels of mental health problems. It is imperative, therefore, that effective and sustainable social and emotional wellbeing services (Indigenous Australians prefer the term "social and emotional wellbeing" to "mental health") are developed for Indigenous Australians living in remote communities. In response to significant and serious events such as suicides and relationship violence in a remote Indigenous community, a social and emotional wellbeing service (SEWBS) was developed. After the service had been running for over three years, an independent evaluation was initiated by the local health board. The aim of the evaluation was to explore the impact of SEWBS, including issues of effectiveness and sustainability, from the experiences of people involved in the development and delivery of the service. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 21 people with different involvement in the service such as service providers, service participants, and referrers. These people were interviewed and their interviews were transcribed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyse the interview transcripts to identify superordinate themes and subthemes in the data. Two superordinate themes and nine subthemes were developed from the interview transcripts. The first superordinate theme was called "The Big Picture" and it had the sub themes: getting started; organizational factors; funding; the future, and; operational problems. The second superordinate theme was called "On the Ground" and it had the subthemes: personal struggles; program activities; measuring outcomes, and; results. While the evaluation indicated that the service had been experienced as an effective local response to serious problems, recommendations and directions for future research and development emerged that were more broadly applicable. Issues such as appropriate staffing, localising decision making, identifying priorities and how they will be evaluated, and developing flexibility in terms of job descriptions and qualifications are highlighted. Source

We present a simple descriptive study of maternal health care utilization among ethnic minority women in a remote region of China. Factors that affect women obtaining care and their decision-making are explored. Results show that utilization of maternal health care services is associated with a range of social, economic, cultural and geographic factors as well as the policies of the state and the delivery of services. Utilization is not necessarily increased through easy access to a health facility. We identify potential for improving utilization through developing the role of village-based health care workers, expanding mobile antenatal care clinics and changing the way township hospital services are provided and funded. This would include modifications to rural health insurance schemes. Several of these changes are achievable at the township or county level. The findings of this study provide insights that can be used by local health providers, planners and decision-makers to improve the provision of maternal health care services to ethnic minority women. Source

Sorrentino R.,Charles Darwin University
Immunology Letters | Year: 2014

The advent of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has produced tremendous insights into the genetics of immune-mediated diseases allowing to identify hundreds of associated variants, some of which disease-specific and some others shared by groups of diseases. However, each variant usually accounts for a small genetic risk and all together they explain a relatively small portion of heritability for each disease. In addition, many of the associated variants map in regions of still undisclosed functions. This opens up to a new era of studies in search of the "missing heritability" which might partially be explained by gene-gene interactions and/or additive effects impacting on biochemical pathways relevant for the disease pathogenesis. The introduction of the immunochip analysis that allows to analyze thousands of patients for variations more strictly correlated with the immune/inflammatory functions is now allowing to single out relevant pathways shared by different diseases. Finally, great expectations are brought about from the studies on the effects that epigenetic modifications can have on the tuning of the expression of single allele/s in myeloid cells as well as in target tissues. Some of these topics have been discussed at the 15th International Congress of Immunology. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

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