SEARCH logo webSEARCH, the Study of Environment on Aboriginal Resilience and Child Health, is Australia’s largest long-term study of the health and wellbeing of urban Aboriginal Children.

While 53% of Aboriginal people live in cities or large regional areas, only 10% of Aboriginal health research focuses on their needs, and so little is known about their health.

SEARCH, a partnership between researchers, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council and four NSW Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, has recruited more than 1600 children and their families in order to shift this balance.

It will provide strong research evidence to support governments and medical services in developing the right policies and programs needed to close the gap in health outcomes and life expectancy.

Its aim is to achieve long-term improvements in the health of Aboriginal children. It will do this by finding the causes of health and wellbeing and identifying the best times to provide services and the children most likely to benefit from extra programs. This will help develop better policies, services and programs, particularly for Aboriginal children living in urban areas.

The value of data and community engagement

The Study is collecting information on ear infections, speech development, mental health, injury, environmental health, risk factors for later chronic disease, and use of health services. Its value will increase over time as more data is collected — the children and their families will be followed over a five to 20-year period.

The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service partners are:

  • Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation
  • Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney
  • Awabakal Newcastle Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd
  • Riverina Medical and Dental Aboriginal Corporation

The research leaders are:

  • Professor Jonathan Craig (University of Sydney)
  • Professor Emily Banks (ANU, Sax Institute).

Aboriginal Medical Services and government and non-government agencies are already using the information collected by SEARCH to understand the health needs of urban Aboriginal children in a wide range of areas from ear health, to access to preschool.

View the full list of SEARCH publications: SEARCH publications

Find out more

  • Do you have a question about the Study? Contact the SEARCH team