Systematic review to inform prevention and management of chronic disease for Indigenous Australians: Overview and priorities

Judith Streak Gomersall, Karla Canuto, Edoardo Aromataris, Annette Braunack-Mayer, Alex Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To describe the main characteristics of systematic reviews addressing questions of chronic disease and related risk factors for Indigenous Australians.

Methods: We searched databases for systematic reviews meeting inclusion criteria. Two reviewers assessed quality and extracted characteristics using pre-defined tools.

Results: We identified 14 systematic reviews. Seven synthesised evidence about health intervention effectiveness; four addressed chronic disease or risk factor prevalence; and six conducted critical appraisal as per current best practice. Only three reported steps to align the review with standards for ethical research with Indigenous Australians and/or capture Indigenous-specific knowledge. Most called for more high-quality research.

Conclusion: Systematic review is an under-utilised method for gathering evidence to inform chronic disease prevention and management for Indigenous Australians. Relevance of future systematic reviews could be improved by: 1) aligning questions with community priorities as well as decision maker needs; 2) involvement of, and leadership by, Indigenous researchers with relevant cultural and contextual knowledge; iii) use of critical appraisal tools that include traditional risk of bias assessment criteria and criteria that reflect Indigenous standards of appropriate research.

Implications: Systematic review method guidance, tools and reporting standards are required to ensure alignment with ethical obligations and promote rigor and relevance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic disease
  • Indigenous Australian health
  • systematic review


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