Compared to other Australians, Indigenous Australians are more likely to require dialysis support for severe end stage kidney failure, including at a younger age, and disproportionately affecting women.
With obesity and diabetes being key drivers of kidney disease in Indigenous Australians, Dr Jaqui Hughes decided to focus her PhD on body composition—where she looked for patterns of lean mass and fat mass distribution.
‘Indigenous Australians tend to accumulate fat around their mid-section, rather than other areas of the body, which could greatly influence kidney function,’ she said.
Dr Hughes now integrates her research with her medical work to advance the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across the spectrum of kidney health risk—ranging from those who are overweight to those with diabetes, chronic kidney disease, on dialysis, and in transplantation care.
‘I make a difference to people as a doctor on an individual basis through patient consultations, but I also believe I’m making a difference to the wider community through the way I conduct my research, the evidence produced, and the training and capability development of my research team,’ she said.
Dr Hughes shares her NHMRC funded research with us.