top of page

First Nation’s Health Research

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (First Nations) research program aims to understand how health systems can be improved to better meet the needs of First Nations peoples who are seeking assistance for drug and alcohol use issues. The research of the program is undertaken with the guidance of the Edith Collins Centre’s First Nations reference group.



The program works closely with several Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations and government departments. We collaborate on a number of research projects with other Universities, both in Australia and internationally.


Current research includes:

  • In 2024, we commenced a Medical Research Future Fund project to develop an innovative culturally based social-emotional wellbeing program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in prison.

  • As part of the NHMRC Investigator Grant for Associate Michael Doyle, we are currently using a strengths-based approach to conduct research that aims to better understand the factors that are needed for healing, growth and overall success of First Nations men in Sydney and Toronto post-release from prison.

  • We are a partner in a NHMRC multi-site randomised control trial investigating the role of cannabidiol (CBD) in the treatment of cannabis dependence.

  • We are working in collaboration with South-East Sydney Local Health District to conduct a Qualitative study based on the Clinical Outcomes and Quality Indicators (COQI) cohort study to better understand the experiences of First Nations clients accessing drug and alcohol services.

  • As part of a NSW Health translational research grant, we are currently investigating the value of long-acting depot buprenorphine for people with opioid dependence post-release from prison. This study aims to enhance care for those with opioid dependence in the criminal justice system who may not otherwise have access to opioid agonist treatment.

  • This program is a partner in a NHMRC clinical trial to investigate the effectiveness of a vaporised nicotine product vs varenicline on smoking cessation for low-socioeconomic status smokers. This world-first trial aims to reduce smoking rates among low socioeconomic populations.

  • We are a partner in the NHMRC funded project, Strong and Deadly Futures. This is a school-based alcohol and drug prevention program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander secondary students that is culturally inclusive, incorporates cultural strengths, and focuses on empowering students.


Team members

  • Professor Kate Conigrave 

  • Dr Alison Evans 

  • Karrah McCann

  • Anna Grager

  • Sam Harley

  • Karina Clarkson (MPhil scholar)

  • Dr Amilia Woods (PhD scholar)

  • Kai Clancy

bottom of page