Mater Research welcomes A/Prof Kym Rae to boost Indigenous research

Thursday 20 February 2020

Associate Professor Kym Rae has recently joined Mater as the Principal Research Fellow for Indigenous Health at Mater Research where her role will see her collaborating with Indigenous communities in establishing research protocols.

She will work closely with the Queensland Family Cohort focusing on recruitment of Indigenous people and establishing research protocols to be inclusive and culturally sensitive.

Her passion for helping Indigenous women came from her own experience as a mother.

“Both my children were born prematurely so I have experienced first-hand the complications that can occur from a preterm birth. My daughter suffered significant health issues as a result of her early birth,” Kym said.  

“This was been extremely challenging for myself and my family, but it made me consider how much more difficult it would be for people who are from disadvantaged communities.

“The Indigenous community have a significantly greater rate of preterm birth in their communities. I was drawn to work with these communities to make a difference in improving birth outcomes and improving the health of the mother and their babies.”

Recently awarded an NHMRC Grant Kym and the team will be co-designing a mobile app with Indigenous participants that will be providing information developed specifically for Indigenous women to support nutrition during pregnancy and beyond.   

Kym began her career as a school teacher in Tamworth before pursuing an interest in reproductive health. Her PhD studies, completed in 2007 at the University of New England, examined the complexities of predicting the onset of labour.

“I worked with the Department of Rural Health focusing on reducing premature and low birth weight deliveries in Indigenous communities,” Kym said.

“I was also the Director for Gomeroi gaaynggal Centre of the University of Newcastle where I led the Gomeroi gaaynggal research and Arts-Health programs in Tamworth which engaged Indigenous women during their pregnancy and beyond.

“In my role at Mater I hope to engage with the community in a collaborative and respectful way. I have a passion for mentorship and I would love to bring Indigenous researchers into the department to further enhance our work.”