To start the project, Professor Bonevski and her colleagues worked with five Aboriginal health services in NSW to survey Indigenous mothers of young children and ask them what they wanted and needed. Now, Healthy Jarjums consists of modules delivered through a smartphone app, with links to social media platforms to provide cultural and community connectivity. The modules cover adult issues such as nutrition, physical activity, alcohol, smoking, mental health and wellbeing and women's business, as well as infant and child health information, including developmental milestones, vaccinations and sleep.
“Pre-testing of the modules shows high levels of acceptability in the Indigenous women, and we’re now going to conduct a big trial to formally assess impact,” Professor Bonevski says.
With the project initiated in NSW, Professor Bonevski has obtained funding from the Hospital Research Foundation to culturally adapt the program for Indigenous communities in South Australia.
Behaviour after a major health event can be critical to ensure good recovery and reduce the chance of another incident. Professor Bonevski received funding from the National Stroke Foundation to develop the Prevent Second Stroke program, and the National Health and Medical Research Council funded evaluation through a randomised controlled trial.
“Prevent Second Stroke is a secondary prevention program that aims to provide health behaviour modification strategies to people who have had a stroke and are at risk of having a second event,” she says.
An online program, it consists of modules that target diet, exercise and mental health.
“We had 400 people participate in the trial and found people were really happy to use an online program and that users reported higher health-related quality of life than the control group,” Professor Bonevski says. “Our next step is broader implementation and scale-up of the program in a wider population, which we’re really well-placed to do at Flinders.”
Professor Bonevski says it’s satisfying to do research that is integrated with hospital care and community-based health services.
“Doing research that actually changes people’s health is a real privilege,” she says.