Respiratory diseases are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children worldwide. Furthermore, a chronic cough is one of the most common reasons for referral to paediatric respiratory services in Australia.

Despite this, many clinicians ignore the possible significance of a cough, and a high proportion of families have multiple consultations before they are referred to a specialist centre. In this way chronic coughs become a significant burden on the healthcare system as well as impairing quality of life for children and their families. This is especially so for First Nations Australians, among whom there is a high incidence of respiratory diseases.

What we do

This research program focuses on the aetiology, prevention and management of acute and chronic respiratory diseases in children, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The program encompasses public health interventions, such as vaccines, through to clinical interventions, such as the appropriate use of antibiotics and individualised management plans.

Its results (to date) include important findings on the cost-effectiveness of interventions and quality of life. Led by Professor Anne Chang, this research program has worked to ensure healthcare providers have clear information about the most effective and cost-effective models of providing care that will benefit patients and their families.

Anne Chang

Margaret McElrea

Julie Marchant