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1.  Mental health literacy of resettled Iraqi refugees in Australia: knowledge about posttraumatic stress disorder and beliefs about helpfulness of interventions 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:320.
Resettled refugees are a particularly vulnerable group. They have very high levels of mental health problems, in particular, trauma-related disorders, but very low uptake of mental health care. Evidence suggests that poor “mental health literacy”, namely, poor knowledge and understanding of the nature and treatment of mental health problems is a major factor in low or inappropriate treatment-seeking among individuals with mental health problems. This study used a culturally adapted Mental Health Literacy Survey method to determine knowledge of, and beliefs about, helpfulness of treatment interventions and providers for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst resettled Iraqi refugees.
225 resettled Iraqi refugees in Western Sydney attending the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), federally funded English language tuition, were surveyed. A vignette of a fictional character meeting diagnostic criteria for PTSD was presented followed by the Mental Health Literacy Survey. PTSD symptomology was measured using the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire part IV (HTQ part IV), with Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) used to measure levels of general psychological distress.
Only 14.2% of participants labelled the problem as PTSD, with “a problem with fear” being the modal response (41.8%). A total of 84.9% respondents indicated that seeing a psychiatrist would be helpful, followed by reading the Koran or Bible selected by 79.2% of those surveyed. There was some variation in problem recognition and helpfulness of treatment, most notably influenced by the length of resettlement in Australia of the respondents.
These findings have important implications for the design and implementation of mental health promotion and treatment programs for resettled refugees and those who work with them.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0320-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4240884  PMID: 25403955
Mental health literacy; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Iraqi refugees; Help-seeking; attitudes
2.  Disparities in cataract surgery between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in New South Wales, Australia 
To investigate variation in rates of cataract surgery in New South Wales, Australia by area of residence for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adults.
Observational data linkage study of hospital admissions.
Two hundred eighty-nine thousand six hundred forty-six New South Wales residents aged 30 years and over admitted to New South Wales hospitals for 444 551 cataract surgery procedures between 2001 and 2008.
Analysis of linked routinely collected hospital data using direct standardization and multilevel negative binomial regression models accounting for clustering of individuals within Statistical Local Areas.
Main Outcome Measures
Age-standardized cataract surgery rates and adjusted rate ratios.
Aboriginal people had lower rates of cataract procedures than non-Aboriginal people of the same age and sex, living in the same Statistical Local Area (adjusted rate ratio 0.71, 95% confidence interval 0.68–0.75). There was significant variation in cataract surgery rates across Statistical Local Areas for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, with the disparity greater in major cities and less disadvantaged areas. Rates of surgery were lower for Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal people in most Statistical Local Areas, but in a few, the rates were similar or higher for Aboriginal people.
Aboriginal people in New South Wales received less cataract surgery than non-Aboriginal people, despite evidence of higher cataract rates. This disparity was greatest in urban and wealthier areas. Higher rates of surgery for Aboriginal people observed in some specific locations are likely to reflect the availability of public ophthalmology services, targeted services for Aboriginal people and higher demand for surgery in these populations.
PMCID: PMC4233999  PMID: 24299196
Aboriginal health; cataract surgery; data linkage; disadvantage
3.  Variation in the recording of common health conditions in routine hospital data: study using linked survey and administrative data in New South Wales, Australia 
BMJ Open  2014;4(9):e005768.
To investigate the nature and potential implications of under-reporting of morbidity information in administrative hospital data.
Setting and participants
Retrospective analysis of linked self-report and administrative hospital data for 32 832 participants in the large-scale cohort study (45 and Up Study), who joined the study from 2006 to 2009 and who were admitted to 313 hospitals in New South Wales, Australia, for at least an overnight stay, up to a year prior to study entry.
Outcome measures
Agreement between self-report and recording of six morbidities in administrative hospital data, and between-hospital variation and predictors of positive agreement between the two data sources.
Agreement between data sources was good for diabetes (κ=0.79); moderate for smoking (κ=0.59); fair for heart disease, stroke and hypertension (κ=0.40, κ=0.30 and κ =0.24, respectively); and poor for obesity (κ=0.09), indicating that a large number of individuals with self-reported morbidities did not have a corresponding diagnosis coded in their hospital records. Significant between-hospital variation was found (ranging from 8% of unexplained variation for diabetes to 22% for heart disease), with higher agreement in public and large hospitals, and hospitals with greater depth of coding.
The recording of six common health conditions in administrative hospital data is highly variable, and for some conditions, very poor. To support more valid performance comparisons, it is important to stratify or control for factors that predict the completeness of recording, including hospital depth of coding and hospital type (public/private), and to increase efforts to standardise recording across hospitals. Studies using these conditions for risk adjustment should also be cautious of their use in smaller hospitals.
PMCID: PMC4158198  PMID: 25186157
4.  The Contribution of Geography to Disparities in Preventable Hospitalisations between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97892.
To quantify the independent roles of geography and Indigenous status in explaining disparities in Potentially Preventable Hospital (PPH) admissions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Design, setting and participants
Analysis of linked hospital admission data for New South Wales (NSW), Australia, for the period July 1 2003 to June 30 2008.
Main outcome measures
Age-standardised admission rates, and rate ratios adjusted for age, sex and Statistical Local Area (SLA) of residence using multilevel models.
PPH diagnoses accounted for 987,604 admissions in NSW over the study period, of which 3.7% were for Indigenous people. The age-standardised PPH admission rate was 76.5 and 27.3 per 1,000 for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people respectively. PPH admission rates in Indigenous people were 2.16 times higher than in non-Indigenous people of the same age group and sex who lived in the same SLA. The largest disparities in PPH admission rates were seen for diabetes complications, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and rheumatic heart disease. Both rates of PPH admission in Indigenous people, and the disparity in rates between Indigenous than non-Indigenous people, varied significantly by SLA, with greater disparities seen in regional and remote areas than in major cities.
Higher rates of PPH admission among Indigenous people are not simply a function of their greater likelihood of living in rural and remote areas. The very considerable geographic variation in the disparity in rates of PPH admission between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people indicates that there is potential to reduce unwarranted variation by characterising outlying areas which contribute the most to this disparity.
PMCID: PMC4032338  PMID: 24859265
5.  Risk Adjustment for Smoking Identified through Tobacco Use Diagnoses in Hospital Data: A Validation Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95029.
Adjustment for the differing risk profiles of patients is essential to the use of administrative hospital data for epidemiological research. Smoking is an important factor to include in such adjustments, but the accuracy of the diagnostic codes denoting smoking in hospital records is unknown. The aims of this study were to measure the validity of current smoking and ever smoked status identified from diagnoses in hospital records using a range of algorithms, relative to self-reported smoking status; and to examine whether the misclassification of smoking identified through hospital data is differential or non-differential with respect to common exposures and outcomes. Data from the baseline questionnaire of the 45 and Up Study, completed by 267,153 residents of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, aged 45 years and older, were linked to the NSW Admitted Patient Data Collection. Patients who had been admitted to hospital for an overnight stay between 1 July 2005 and the date of completion of the questionnaire (1 January 2006 to 2 March 2009) were included. Smokers were identified by applying a range of algorithms to hospital admission histories, and compared against self-reported smoking in the questionnaire (‘gold standard’). Sensitivities for current smoking ranged from 59% to 84%, while specificities were 94% to 98%. Sensitivities for ever smoked ranged from 45% to 74% and specificities were 93% to 97%. For the majority of algorithms, sensitivities and/or specificities differed significantly according to principal diagnosis, number of comorbidities, socioeconomic status, residential remoteness, Indigenous status, 28 day readmission and 365 day mortality. The identification of smoking through diagnoses in hospital data results in differential misclassification. Risk adjustment based on smoking identified from these data will yield potentially misleading results. Systematic capture of information about smoking in hospital records using a mandatory item would increase the utility of administrative data for epidemiological research.
PMCID: PMC3988140  PMID: 24736621
6.  Menopausal Hormone Therapy Is Associated with Having High Blood Pressure in Postmenopausal Women: Observational Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40260.
The relationship between menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) and cardiovascular risk remains controversial, with a number of studies advocating the use of MHT in reducing risk of cardiovascular diseases, while others have shown it to increase risk. The aim of this study was to determine the association between menopausal hormone therapy and high blood pressure.
Methods and Findings
A total of 43,405 postmenopausal women were included in the study. Baseline data for these women were sourced from the 45 and Up Study, Australia, a large scale study of healthy ageing. These women reported being postmenopausal, having an intact uterus, and had not been diagnosed with high blood pressure prior to menopause. Odds ratios for the association between MHT use and having high blood pressure were estimated using logistic regression, stratified by age (<56 years, 56–61 years, 62–70 years and over 71 years) and adjusted for demographic and lifestyle factors. MHT use was associated with higher odds of having high blood pressure: past menopausal hormone therapy use: <56 years (adjusted odds ratio 1.59, 99% confidence interval 1.15 to 2.20); 56–61 years (1.58, 1.31 to 1.90); 62–70 years (1.26, 1.10 to 1.44). Increased duration of hormone use was associated with higher odds of having high blood pressure, with the effect of hormone therapy use diminishing with increasing age.
Menopausal hormone therapy use is associated with significantly higher odds of having high blood pressure, and the odds increase with increased duration of use. High blood pressure should be conveyed as a health risk for people considering MHT use.
PMCID: PMC3394783  PMID: 22808129
7.  Mortality after admission for acute myocardial infarction in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in New South Wales, Australia: a multilevel data linkage study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:281.
Heart disease is a leading cause of the gap in burden of disease between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. Our study investigated short- and long-term mortality after admission for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people admitted with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) to public hospitals in New South Wales, Australia, and examined the impact of the hospital of admission on outcomes.
Admission records were linked to mortality records for 60047 patients aged 25–84 years admitted with a diagnosis of AMI between July 2001 and December 2008. Multilevel logistic regression was used to estimate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) for 30- and 365-day all-cause mortality.
Aboriginal patients admitted with an AMI were younger than non-Aboriginal patients, and more likely to be admitted to lower volume, remote hospitals without on-site angiography. Adjusting for age, sex, year and hospital, Aboriginal patients had a similar 30-day mortality risk to non-Aboriginal patients (AOR: 1.07; 95% CI 0.83-1.37) but a higher risk of dying within 365 days (AOR: 1.34; 95% CI 1.10-1.63). The latter difference did not persist after adjustment for comorbid conditions (AOR: 1.12; 95% CI 0.91-1.38). Patients admitted to more remote hospitals, those with lower patient volume and those without on-site angiography had increased risk of short and long-term mortality regardless of Aboriginal status.
Improving access to larger hospitals and those with specialist cardiac facilities could improve outcomes following AMI for all patients. However, major efforts to boost primary and secondary prevention of AMI are required to reduce the mortality gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.
PMCID: PMC3481361  PMID: 22490109
Hospital performance; Acute myocardial infarction; Ischaemic heart disease; Aboriginal health; Health outcomes; Multilevel modelling; Data linkage
8.  Home and community care services: a major opportunity for preventive health care 
BMC Geriatrics  2010;10:26.
In Australia, the Home and Community Care (HACC) program provides services in the community to frail elderly living at home and their carers. Surprisingly little is known about the health of people who use these services. In this study we sought to describe health-related factors associated with use of HACC services, and to identify potential opportunities for targeting preventive services to those at high risk.
We obtained questionnaire data from the 45 and Up Study for 103,041 men and women aged 45 years and over, sampled from the general population of New South Wales, Australia in 2006-2007, and linked this with administrative data about HACC service use. We compared the characteristics of HACC clients and non-clients according to a range of variables from the 45 and Up Study questionnaire, and estimated crude and adjusted relative risks for HACC use with generalized linear models.
4,978 (4.8%) participants used HACC services in the year prior to completing the questionnaire. Increasing age, female sex, lower pre-tax household income, not having a partner, not being in paid work, Indigenous background and living in a regional or remote location were strongly associated with HACC use. Overseas-born people and those speaking languages other than English at home were significantly less likely to use HACC services. People who were underweight, obese, sedentary, who reported falling in the past year, who were current smokers, or who ate little fruit or vegetables were significantly more likely to use HACC services. HACC service use increased with decreasing levels of physical functioning, higher levels of psychological distress, and poorer self-ratings of health, eyesight and memory. HACC clients were more likely to report chronic health conditions, in particular diabetes, stroke, Parkinson's disease, anxiety and depression, cancer, heart attack or angina, blood clotting problems, asthma and osteoarthritis.
HACC clients have high rates of modifiable lifestyle risk factors and health conditions that are amenable to primary and secondary prevention, presenting the potential for implementing preventive health care programs in the HACC service setting.
PMCID: PMC2887872  PMID: 20492704
9.  Health, ageing and private health insurance: baseline results from the 45 and Up Study cohort 
Correction to Banks E, Jorm L, Lujic S, Rogers K. Health, ageing and private health insurance: baseline results from the 45 and Up Study cohort. ANZ Health Policy 2009; 6: 16.
PMCID: PMC2724511  PMID: 19638201
10.  Health, ageing and private health insurance: baseline results from the 45 and Up Study cohort 
This study investigates the relationships between health and lifestyle factors, age and private health insurance (PHI) in a large Australian population-based cohort study of people aged 45 years and over; the 45 and Up Study. Unlike previous Australian analyses of relationships between health, lifestyle and PHI, it incorporates adjustment for multiple confounding socioeconomic and demographic factors. Recruitment into the 45 and Up Study began in February 2006 and these analyses relate to the first 103,042 participants who joined the study prior to July 2008.
The proportion with PHI decreased with increasing age. The factors independently and most strongly associated with having PHI were: higher income; higher educational attainment; not holding a health care concession card; not being of Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander origin; being a non-smoker; high levels of self-rated health and functional capacity; and low levels of psychological distress. These factors increased the probability of having PHI by 16% to 125%, compared to individuals without these characteristics. PHI coverage was significantly but only marginally higher in people reporting non-melanoma skin cancer (adjusted RR 1.04, 95%CI 1.03–1.05), prostate cancer (1.09, 1.06–1.11) or an enlarged prostate (1.07, 1.06–1.09), those reporting a family history of a range of conditions (e.g. 1.02, 1.01–1.03 for a family history of heart disease; 1.03, 1.02–1.04 for a family history of prostate cancer) and lower in people reporting diabetes (0.92, 0.91–0.94) or stroke (0.91, 0.88–0.94), compared to people who did not have these medical or family histories. PHI was higher in those reporting certain surgical procedures with RRs (95%CI) of 1.12 (1.09–1.15) for hip replacement, 1.10 (1.08–1.13) for knee replacement and 1.12 (1.09–1.15) for prostatectomy, compared to those not reporting these interventions.
Compared to the rest of the study population, those with PHI are richer, better educated, more health conscious, in better health and more likely to use certain discretionary health services. Hence, PHI use is generally highest among those with the least need for health care. Whether or not people have PHI is more strongly associated with demographic and lifestyle factors than with health status.
PMCID: PMC2719656  PMID: 19594895
11.  Pandemic influenza in Australia: Using telephone surveys to measure perceptions of threat and willingness to comply 
Baseline data is necessary for monitoring how a population perceives the threat of pandemic influenza, and perceives how it would behave in the event of pandemic influenza. Our aim was to develop a module of questions for use in telephone health surveys on perceptions of threat of pandemic influenza, and on preparedness to comply with specific public health behaviours in the event of pandemic influenza.
A module of questions was developed and field tested on 192 adults using the New South Wales Department of Health's in-house Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) facility. The questions were then modified and re field tested on 202 adults. The module was then incorporated into the New South Wales Population Health Survey in the first quarter of 2007. A representative sample of 2,081 adults completed the module. Their responses were weighted against the state population.
The reliability of the questions was acceptable with kappa ranging between 0.25 and 0.51. Overall 14.9% of the state population thought pandemic influenza was very or extremely likely to occur; 45.5% were very or extremely concerned that they or their family would be affected by pandemic influenza if it occurred; and 23.8% had made some level of change to the way they live their life because of the possibility of pandemic influenza. In the event of pandemic influenza, the majority of the population were willing to: be vaccinated (75.4%), be isolated (70.2%), and wear a face mask (59.9%). People with higher levels of threat perception are significantly more likely to be willing to comply with specific public health behaviours.
While only 14.9% of the state population thought pandemic influenza was very or extremely likely to occur, a significantly higher proportion were concerned for self and family should a pandemic actually occur. The baseline data collected in this survey will be useful for monitoring changes over time in the population's perceptions of threat, and preparedness to comply with specific public health behaviours.
PMCID: PMC2556339  PMID: 18793441

Results 1-11 (11)