21 October 2022

NHMRC welcomes the announcement from the Australian Government of more than $5 million for four research projects to improve the long-term health outcomes of people with intellectual disability.

The research will develop the evidence base for future policies, interventions and other initiatives to improve the quality of life of people with an intellectual disability. 

A key factor in each of the projects is the involvement of people with intellectual disability, their families and carers in the design of the research and implementation.  

The projects focus on:

  • supporting general practice nurses to do health assessments with their patients with intellectual disability
  • designing models of care to ensure appropriate, timely diagnoses and access to high-quality health and disability services for Indigenous children with intellectual disability 
  • enhancing access to genomic medicine and counselling for people with intellectual disability
  • improving the access and uptake of preventative health services through primary care.

The outcomes of the research will address the underdiagnosis of chronic conditions in this population and promote early intervention and active management of health risk factors. This will reduce the number of avoidable presentations to emergency departments and the number of preventable and prolonged hospitalisations. 

The funding scope was guided by the National Roadmap for Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability and will complement the work already underway by the Government in building the evidence base on strategies to improve health outcomes for people with intellectual disability.

NHMRC Targeted Calls for Research are a one-time request for grant applications to address a specific health issue where there is a significant research knowledge gap or unmet need.

'This research will help health professionals deliver quality care for people with intellectual disability' said NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso AO.

'NHMRC is proud to support research that will have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.'

Projects announced today are:

Chief Investigator Title Administering Institution Budget
Dr Catherine Franklin Bridge to Better Health: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial for Capacity Building in Intellectual Disability Health for General Practice The University of Queensland $1,497,939
Professor Sandra Eades Equitable access to health and disability services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with intellectual disability University of Melbourne $792,020
Dr Elizabeth Palmer GeneEQUAL: equitable and accessible genomic healthcare for people with intellectual disability University of New South Wales $1,556,865
Associate Professor Jenny Downs Reducing potentially preventable hospitalisations and building health literacy for children and adolescents with intellectual disability University of Western Australia $1,537,414

*Projects are listed in order of application number.