NHMRC supports global research to reduce chronic lung diseases

Summary media release information

19 October 2016
Media Release
Contact for further information: 

NHMRC Media Team
M: 0422 008 512
E: media@nhmrc.gov.au

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has announced almost $5 million in funding for the prevention and management of chronic lung diseases.

NHMRC participated in a request for research applications from the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD). The GACD is a collaboration of major international public research funding agencies that funds joint research programs to address chronic non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries and in vulnerable populations in high-income countries.

This is the GACD’s third joint activity, funding 16 international research projects on chronic lung diseases. The selected projects reflect the GACD’s focus on research to find the best way to deliver health interventions to affected communities.

NHMRC CEO Professor Anne Kelso said one aim of NHMRC’s participation was to build the evidence base for sound policies on prevention and management of chronic lung diseases in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Two of the projects announced today will support this goal.

‘Improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a critical component of NHMRC’s research funding strategy,’ Professor Kelso said.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience higher rates of hospitalisation, morbidity and mortality from chronic lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than other Australians. Lung cancer is both the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the leading cause of cancer deaths for this population.

Tobacco smoking is still a major risk factor for these diseases, particularly in remote areas. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with chronic lung disease also have one or more comorbid conditions that may complicate the management and treatment of their lung disease.

‘Many of the health challenges we face in Australia are shared with other countries of the world. NHMRC recognises the value of working together with global partners to tackle these issues,’ said Professor Kelso.

Continuing this cooperation, one of the projects announced today is a partnership between Australian and Vietnamese researchers to implement an integrated health-sector strategy to fight chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma in Vietnam.

‘Joint international activities are essential for Australia to contribute to, and benefit from, the work of the global research community. NHMRC is proud to work with other members of the GACD in supporting research to reduce the burden of chronic lung disease in our own and other countries.’

Media contact:  NHMRC Media Team M: 0422 008 512 E: media@nhmrc.gov.au

More information about the international outcomes of this grant call is available on the GACD website at http://www.gacd.org/media/press-releases/Lung_Diseases_Programme_Launch_PR_Final_Final.pdf.


Professor Jennifer Alison, University of Sydney


Implementing evidence into practice to improve chronic lung disease management in Indigenous Australians: the ‘Breathe Easy, Walk Easy—Lungs for Life’ (BE WELL) project.

Associate Professor Billie Bonevski, University of Newcastle


‘Indigenous Counselling and Nicotine (ICAN) QUIT in Pregnancy’—a cluster randomised trial to implement culturally competent evidence-based smoking cessation for pregnant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smokers.

Professor Gregory Fox, University of Sydney


An integrated health-sector strategy to combat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma in Vietnam: A pragmatic stepped intervention cluster randomised trial.