Baker Institute

Taking on the challenge of heart disease and diabetes.

If you are living in a remote Indigenous community, up to half of your friends would have Type 2 Diabetes.

It’s an unbelievable statistic considering the rate of Type 2 Diabetes in non-Indigenous communities is only 5%. 

To make things worse, Type 2 Diabetes in Indigenous communities has a stronger genetic component; it’s more malignant and aggressive – 9x more likely to lead to death in Indigenous communities than non-Indigenous ones. 

Fighting Type 2 Diabetes in remote communities has only been an uphill battle. Traditional treatment and education aren’t fit for remote ways of living leaving large swaths of the disease undiagnosed and untreated. 

What does the Baker Institute’s ‘Beating Indigenous Diabetes Trial’ do? 

The Baker Institute is currently trialing a new treatment and medication for Type 2 Diabetes in indigenous remote communities. The treatment involves GLP-1 style pharmaceuticals and lifestyle interventions to improve glucose control while minimising damage caused by diabetic complications.

Recent feature on the ABC

Changemaker Leadership 

Associate Professor Neale Cohen, the Head of Diabetes Clinical Research has built trust and cooperation with Indigenous communities and elders, having worked closely with them over the past two decades. Under his leadership, the project will trial a model of care where physicians treat diabetes on a weekly basis and work with patients to address lifestyle factors that contribute to complications. 

A Novel Approach

Effective blood glucose control is key to maximizing outcomes for people with diabetes. However the higher barriers to healthcare faced by Indigenous Australians, especially those in remote communities, makes treatment challenging. There are currently no evidence-based approaches to support clinicians as to the safety, efficacy and acceptability of treatments in the remote community setting. 

Neale and his team have rewritten the standard for care for remote communities facing Type 2 Diabetes, bringing a new drug and treatment to remote communities that fit better with the lifestyle differences that exist.  

Exponential Scale

By establishing new guidelines for the standard of care, the trial can be designed to scale into different remote communities in Australia.  

Currently, the trial has approval from three communities and is seeking another seven. 




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