Connecting Our Mob:
Patient navigators As Sustainable Supports
MRFF Indigenous Health Research Grant 2021
$1 million awarded to the NIKTT's Kelli Owen for Patient Navigator program
Kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease treatment are inequitable for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Indigenous peoples in Australia are much less likely to be treated with culturally safe, favourable treatment options such as transplantation. Patient Navigators – peer mentors who have a lived experience of kidney disease and transplantation – are crucial elements of safe, patient-focused care. Navigators help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients through the complex renal transplantation system by advocating for their needs, improving cultural awareness, translating health knowledge, and providing culturally safe support and understanding.
This MRFF Indigenous Health Research project aims to determine best practices for integrating Patient Navigators into the Australian health system to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living with kidney disease better health and well-being outcomes through better access to, and understanding of, the transplantation pathway.
Co-designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander researchers, and more importantly, the Patient Navigators and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kidney transplant recipients themselves, this project brings together lived experiences, extensive research expertise, and the voices of community to better implement models of care that champion Indigenous-led approaches.
The project seeks to understand how coordinating patient navigator programs across four settings (Port Augusta, Adelaide, Alice Springs, and Darwin) can best achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. By creating a relational network down the central corridor of the Northern Territory and South Australia, the project will allow Patient Navigators to share knowledge and support each other. By investigating the implementation of Navigators from a patient, Navigator, and health system perspective, this project will elucidate best practices to create a sustainable, resilient model of care.
Some of the CI team in Adelaide, December 2022
Meet the Research Team
Our community-driven Chief Investigator team is led by CIA Kelli Owen. The team involves Patient Navigators, Aboriginal researchers, and non-Indigenous researchers, doctors, and nurses.
Manager, Purple House
Senior Project Officer
Nurse Unit Manager
Junior Research Officer
Head Renal Research Program
Panuku Project Officer