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AGCF and Dr Aime Powell are proud to be awarded a Mary Jane Foundation Her Health Hero grant

We’re excited to announce that we have been awarded a prestigious $10,000 grant from the Mary Jane Foundation in order to continue our support of Dr Aime Powell and her incredible research into cervical cancer screening for Aboriginal women.

Dr Aime Powell is our health hero

In 2018 Dr Powell was awarded the Cindy Sullivan Research Fellowship for her outstanding research on Aboriginal women and their increased risk of cervical cancer despite an era with national prevention programs. 

Although cervical cancer is preventable, the average mortality rate for Aboriginal women is about four times higher than non-Aboriginal women and substantially higher still in rural and remote areas. 

Dr Powell found that in her research, Aboriginal women are less likely to participate in cervical cancer screening due to: 

  • Not wanting a practitioner to perform the cervical screening test 
  • Worry about waiting for the test results
  • Serious logistical difficulties to attend a hospital for a colposcopy/biopsy/treatment

In response to these barriers, Dr Powell and her team developed a new service model where women can perform self-collection of a vaginal swab and be provided their rapid Point of Care (PoC) HPV test result within 45 minutes. 

“The PoC testing is a service model that respects Aboriginal Women’s Business,” says Dr Powell. “It provides test results within the hour, negating the need for multiple trips to the health clinic thus reducing the impact of transport and logistical barriers as well as emotional distress of leaving children and family for medical investigations.”

“We believe this new service model will improve access to cervical screening for our Indigenous women located in rural and remote communities.”

A service model that respects Aboriginal Women’s Business

Providing Aboriginal women with better access to cervical cancer screening

With the Her Health Hero grant money from the Mary Jane Foundation, Dr Aime Powell and her research team will work collaboratively with local stakeholders and healthcare providers. This will deliver education to participating healthcare providers, recruit eligible women to participate in the new service and continuously evaluate the engagement and feedback of women and healthcare providers. 

The $10,000 grant would enable Dr Powell to employ a Research Assistant for 5 weeks to complete this task, with the hope to recruit 600 Aboriginal women to participate in the proposed service model. This will directly impact Aboriginal women and will ensure that future research and service model delivery is guided by Indigenous women’s values, views and beliefs.

“On behalf of the research team, I wish to sincerely thank and express our gratitude to the Mary Jane Foundation and the AGCF for awarding us this grant,” says Dr Powell. “We are so delighted to have their support and believe that this project will have remarkable significance for the prevention of cervical cancer.”

About the Mary Jane Foundation

The Mary Jane Foundation supports groups and organisations who are advancing the health and wellbeing of Australian women and girls through awareness, education and empowerment. 

“Women’s health issues are often brushed under the carpet,” says AGCF Acting CEO, Kimberly Downes. “Especially for our Indigenous community. It’s important that our indigenous women have a safe environment where they can be tested and feel surrounded by people they trust in their community.”

“We are so excited to receive this grant from the Mary Jane Foundation. The Mary Jane Foundation does amazing work supporting women’s health and this grant validates the work that we do and the incredible direction of Aime’s research. What she is doing is so critical for the Indigenous community. We only hope that more funding will be put towards this!”