History of ARDAC

As the Aboriginal Health Education Officer at the Children’s Hospital at Camperdown, Rita Williams was involved in supporting a young Aboriginal family whose 16 month old daughter presented with kidney failure in 1993. By the time she was two years old, she had a kidney transplant, and today she is a young adult and doing well. Working with this young family inspired Rita to approach the hospital about developing a research project to look at renal disease in Aboriginal children.

It was not until 2002 that the ARDAC journey began. The purpose of ARDAC was to begin unravelling the mystery about why Aboriginal people are more at risk of chronic kidney disease than non-Aboriginal people, and to contribute to closing the gap in health differences. Before ARDAC began to take shape, ethics approval and funding were needed. These came from The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, The Department of Education, the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council, and Financial Markets for Children.

Kidney screening – 15 years on…..

After 15 years, and thousands of kilometres, the first two phases of the study have been completed. More than 3700 children and young people from 15 regions across NSW have participated in the study. To continue to learn more about the early signs of kidney disease in young people, the study is now in its third phase.The goal of this phase is to continue to follow the same participants plus recruit new participants as they finish high school and transition into adulthood. Click here to read some of our initial results.

As our participants become older, we have transitioned from a school-based study to a community-based model with ongoing consultation and feedback at all levels. We now also operate under AH&MRC Ethics approval. If you or your community would like to participate in our study please click here to contact us.