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1.  Inequalities in ventilation tube insertion procedures between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in New South Wales, Australia: a data linkage study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(11):e003807.
Objectives
Australian Aboriginal children experience earlier, more frequent and more severe otitis media, particularly in remote communities, than non-Aboriginal children. Insertion of ventilation tubes is the main surgical procedure for otitis media. Our aim was to quantify inequalities in ventilation tube insertion (VTI) procedures between Australian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children, and to explore the influence of birth characteristics, socioeconomic background and geographical remoteness on this inequality.
Design
Retrospective cohort study using linked hospital and mortality data from July 2000 to December 2008.
Setting and participants
A whole-of-population cohort of 653 550 children (16 831 Aboriginal and 636 719 non-Aboriginal) born in a New South Wales hospital between 1 July 2000 and 31 December 2007 was included in the analysis.
Outcome measure
First VTI procedure.
Results
VTI rates were lower in Aboriginal compared with non-Aboriginal children (incidence rate (IR), 4.3/1000 person-years; 95% CI 3.8 to 4.8 vs IR 5.8/1000 person-years; 95% CI 5.7 to 5.8). Overall, Aboriginal children were 28% less likely than non-Aboriginal children to have ventilation tubes inserted (age-adjusted and sex-adjusted rate ratios (RRs) 0.72; 95% CI 0.64 to 0.80). After adjusting additionally for geographical remoteness, Aboriginal children were 19% less likely to have ventilation tubes inserted (age-adjusted and sex-adjusted RR 0.81; 95% CI 0.73 to 0.91). After adjusting separately for private patient/health insurance status and area socioeconomic status, there was no significant difference (age-adjusted and sex-adjusted RR 0.96; 95% CI 0.86 to 1.08 and RR 0.93; 95% CI 0.83 to 1.04, respectively). In the fully adjusted model, there were no significant differences in VTI rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children (RR 1.06; 95% CI 0.94 to 1.19).
Conclusions
Despite a much higher prevalence of otitis media, Aboriginal children were less likely to receive VTI procedures than their non-Aboriginal counterparts; this inequality was largely explained by differences in socioeconomic status and geographical remoteness.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003807
PMCID: PMC3845074  PMID: 24285631
Epidemiology; Public Health
2.  The Smoking MUMS (Maternal Use of Medications and Safety) Study: protocol for a population-based cohort study using linked administrative data 
BMJ Open  2013;3(9):e003692.
Introduction
Approximately 14% of Australian women smoke during pregnancy. Although the risk of adverse outcomes is reduced by smoking cessation, less than 35% of Australian women quit smoking spontaneously during pregnancy. Evidence for the efficacy of bupropion, varenicline or nicotine replacement therapy as smoking cessation aids in the non-pregnant population suggest that pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation is worth exploring in women of childbearing age. Currently, little is known about the utilisation, effectiveness and safety of pharmacotherapies for smoking cessation during pregnancy; neither the extent to which they are used prior to pregnancy nor whether their use has changed in response to related policy reforms. The Smoking MUMS (Maternal Use of Medications and Safety) Study will explore these issues using linked person-level data for a population-based cohort of Australian mothers.
Methods and analysis
The cohort will be assembled by linking administrative health records for all women who gave birth in New South Wales or Western Australia since 2003 and their children, including records relating to childbirth, use of pharmaceuticals, hospital admissions, emergency department presentations and deaths. These longitudinal linked data will be used to identify utilisation of smoking cessation pharmacotherapies during and between pregnancies and to explore the associated smoking cessation rates and maternal and child health outcomes. Subgroup and temporal analyses will identify potential differences between population groups including indigenous mothers and social security recipients and track changes associated with policy reforms that have made alternative smoking cessation pharmacotherapies available.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethical approval has been obtained for this study. To enhance the translation of the project's findings into policy and practice, policy and clinical stakeholders will be engaged through a reference group and a policy forum will be held. Outputs from the project will include scientific papers and summary reports designed for policy audiences.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003692
PMCID: PMC3780331  PMID: 24056492
Epidemiology; Perinatology; Preventive Medicine; Primary Care
3.  Assessing Preventable Hospitalisation InDicators (APHID): protocol for a data-linkage study using cohort study and administrative data 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e002344.
Introduction
Potentially preventable hospitalisation (PPH) has been adopted widely by international health systems as an indicator of the accessibility and overall effectiveness of primary care. The Assessing Preventable Hospitalisation InDicators (APHID) study will validate PPH as a measure of health system performance in Australia and Scotland. APHID will be the first large-scale study internationally to explore longitudinal relationships between primary care and PPH using detailed person-level information about health risk factors, health status and health service use.
Methods and analysis
APHID will create a new longitudinal data resource by linking together data from a large-scale cohort study (the 45 and Up Study) and prospective administrative data relating to use of general practitioner (GP) services, dispensing of pharmaceuticals, emergency department presentations, hospital admissions and deaths. We will use these linked person-level data to explore relationships between frequency, volume, nature and costs of primary care services, hospital admissions for PPH diagnoses, and health outcomes, and factors that confound and mediate these relationships. Using multilevel modelling techniques, we will quantify the contributions of person-level, geographic-level and service-level factors to variation in PPH rates, including socioeconomic status, country of birth, geographic remoteness, physical and mental health status, availability of GP and other services, and hospital characteristics.
Ethics and dissemination
Participants have consented to use of their questionnaire data and to data linkage. Ethical approval has been obtained for the study. Dissemination mechanisms include engagement of policy stakeholders through a reference group and policy forum, and production of summary reports for policy audiences in parallel with the scientific papers from the study.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002344
PMCID: PMC3533070  PMID: 23242247
Epidemiology; Health Services Administration & Management; Primary Care; Public Health; Statistics & Research Methods
4.  The importance of blood-borne viruses in elevated cancer risk among opioid-dependent people: a population-based cohort study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001755.
Objective
To quantify cancer risk in opioid dependence and the association with infection by the oncogenic blood-borne viruses (BBVs) hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B (HBV) and HIV.
Design
Cohort study.
Setting
New South Wales, Australia.
Participants
All 45 412 adults aged 16 years or over registered for opioid substitution therapy (OST) between 1985 and 2007. Notifications of cancer, death and infection with HCV, HBV and HIV were ascertained by record linkage with registries.
Main outcome measures
The ratios of observed to expected number of cancers, standardised incidence ratios (SIRs), and the average annual per cent change (AAPC) in overall age and sex-standardised cancer incidence.
Results
Overall cancer risk was modestly increased compared to the general population (SIR 1.15, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.23). Excess risk was observed for 11 cancers, particularly lung (4.02, 95% CI 3.32 to 4.82), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (1.51, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.88) and liver (8.04, 95% CI 6.18 to 10.3). Reduced risk was observed for six cancers, including prostate (0.16, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.32) and breast (0.48, 95% CI 0.35 to 0.62). Individuals notified with HCV or HBV had a markedly increased risk of liver cancer; lung cancer risk was also increased in those with HCV. HIV was associated with an elevated risk of liver, anus and kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma. Cancer risk was not increased in individuals without a BBV notification, apart from pancreatic cancer (3.92, 95% CI 1.07 to 10.0). Cancer incidence increased significantly over time (AAPC 9.4%, 4.2% to 15%, p=0.001).
Conclusions
BBVs play a major role in the cancer risk profile of opioid-dependent individuals registered for OST. To address the dramatic increasing trend in cancer incidence, the OST setting could be utilised for cancer prevention strategies.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001755
PMCID: PMC3488729  PMID: 23045358
Public Health
5.  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.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-281
PMCID: PMC3481361  PMID: 22490109
Hospital performance; Acute myocardial infarction; Ischaemic heart disease; Aboriginal health; Health outcomes; Multilevel modelling; Data linkage
6.  Rabies in Endangered Ethiopian Wolves 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2004;10(12):2214-2217.
With rabies emerging as a particular threat to wild canids, we report on a rabies outbreak in a subpopulation of endangered Ethiopian wolves in the Bale Mountains, Ethiopia, in 2003 and 2004. Parenteral vaccination of wolves was used to manage the outbreak.
doi:10.3201/eid1012.040080
PMCID: PMC3323365  PMID: 15663865
Canis simensis; endangered species; epidemic; Ethiopian wolves; rabies; wildlife diseases; dispatch

Results 1-6 (6)