As a long-term study, SEARCH is designed to recruit children attending Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and follow them over time. The measures include both self-report and clinical assessments.

During Phase 1, SEARCH recruited more than 1500 children and collected substantial high-quality information on their health needs. The partnerships between researchers, the AH&MRC and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services have been critical to this phase of the Study.

Formulating research questions, recruiting families and interpreting data have all been undertaken through these partnerships. Written and verbal summaries of the early data have been provided to the Health Services and their input sought.

Key outcomes from Phase 1:

  • Recruitment of 1530 children and 622 carers into the study
  • Collection of detailed self-report information about many aspects of health including social and emotional wellbeing, physical health, housing and neighbourhood, injuries, service use and priorities as seen by families. These data are still being analysed but already point to key health needs
  • Collection – for the first time – of information about hearing and speech development. SEARCH has tested the hearing of 1486 children and the speech development of 756 children aged one to seven. This work has identified unmet needs among the children and contributed to additional funds for services
  • Development of better research tools for use in Aboriginal health. Too often, tools developed for use in non-Aboriginal people are used without understanding their appropriateness for Aboriginal communities. This is early work and several papers have already been published.

Find out more

View the full list of publications:   SEARCH publications

SEARCH Phase 2

SEARCH is now in its second phase of development. This phase represents significant new directions for this collaborative Study. Core work during Phase 2 will be following up the children and families participating in the Study, and the development and evaluation of a program to use SEARCH data to drive change. There will be partnership work to ensure the information that has been collected is used appropriately and to advocate for new services.