National Close the Gap Day: health equality is a fundamental right for all

To mark Close the Gap Day, we welcome Gulsun Suleiman who has joined ACBRD to support an Indigenous Health Program

By Victoria Yutronich

National Close the Gap Day

Close the Gap Day is Australia’s largest campaign to improve Indigenous health. It is held on the third Thursday in March each year. The host of the campaign is ANTaR*. ANTaR is a national organisation that advocates for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As stated by ANTaR, National Close the Gap Day is a time “to bring people together, to share information — and most importantly — to take meaningful action in support of achieving Indigenous health equality by 2030.”

Pledge to Close the Gap here.

Diabetes within the Community

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Indigenous Australians are 4 times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than non-Indigenous Australians.

Indigenous Health Program

In 2020, the ACBRD began a new collaboration with Diabetes Australia and SAHMRI. Together, we are working on a new program of research, focussed on the emotional and social wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with diabetes.

The ACBRD is pleased to introduce our newest team member, Gulsun Suleiman. Gulsun will be assisting Professor Jane Speight and Professor Tim Skinner to conduct a systematic literature review.

Gulsun says, “this National Close the Gap Day, we have an opportunity to send everyone a clear message that Australians value health equality as a fundamental right for all. The project I am working on will focus on the wellbeing of Indigenous peoples with diabetes. This will broaden our understanding on how to support Indigenous peoples living with diabetes”.

Before joining the ACBRD, Gulsun supported two health-related projects at Deakin University. She worked on the Healthy Gut, Healthy Mind study. She also did research into Parkinson’s Disease and its relationship to gut bacteria health, exercise, sleep, and nutrition. Gulsun graduated from Deakin University with a Graduate Diploma in Psychology in 2020.

Revealing why she wanted to join the ACBRD, Gulsun says, “Not only was I attracted to the fact that I’d be developing skills in a new area of interest, I also have a personal attachment to the field of diabetes. Many members of my family live with diabetes and experience physical restrictions and psychological distress as a result of this condition. Working with ACBRD is rewarding for me, as I feel as if I am going to be able to make a real difference”.


Diabetes Victoria has collaborated with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) to create resources tailored to the Aboriginal community.

The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) acknowledges the traditional custodians of our lands and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.

* Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation

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