As a long-term study, SEARCH is designed to recruit children attending Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and follow them over time. The measures include both self-report and clinical assessments.
During Phase 1, SEARCH recruited more than 1600 children and their parents/caregivers and collected substantial high-quality information on their health and related family, community and environmental factors. The partnerships between researchers, the AH&MRC and the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services have been critical to this phase of the Study.

Formulating research questions, recruiting families and interpreting data have all been undertaken through these partnerships. Written and verbal summaries of the data are provided to the Health Services on a regular basis and their input sought for the development of new programs and strengthened services.

Key outcomes from Phase 1:

  • Recruitment of 1671 children and 642 carers into the study
  • Collection of detailed self-report information about many aspects of health including social and emotional wellbeing, physical health, housing and neighbourhood, injuries, service use and priorities as seen by families. These data already provide important new evidence on the health of urban Aboriginal children with several papers published, under review or in late draft stage and many more in preparation
  • Collection – for the first time – of information about hearing and speech development. SEARCH has tested the hearing of 1506 children and the speech development of 799 children aged one to seven. This work has identified unmet needs among the children and contributed to additional funds for services. Re-testing of these children’s hearing and speech is now underway as a part of Phase 2 of SEARCH
  • Development of better research tools for use in Aboriginal health. Too often, tools developed for use in non-Aboriginal people are used without understanding their appropriateness for Aboriginal communities. This is early work and several papers have already been published.

Find out more

View the full list of publications:   SEARCH publications

SEARCH Phase 2

SEARCH is now in its second phase of data collection. This phase represents significant new directions for this collaborative Study. Core work involves following up the children and families participating in the Study at approximately five years after recruitment. Phase 2 largely replicates the baseline data collection measurements and methods, with additional measures of specific inter-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, metabolic and kidney disease.

The longitudinal nature of the study will allow us to answer the following questions that can be used to inform service delivery:

  • How does the childrens’ health change over time?
  • At what age are certain illnesses more prevalent?
  • What factors increase the risk of illness?
  • What is the best age for particular health interventions to occur to be most effective?

Phase 2 also involves using the data obtained to identify ‘best bets’ about what needs to change to improve the health of urban Aboriginal children by informing the development of interventions and improved program and service delivery in the ACCHSs.