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WIRF is one of Australia's leading organisations that is dedicated to improving the health of women and infants.

Research Spotlight: Lyfe Languages

Incite-(3).jpgThe Women & Infants Research Foundation and Lyfe Languages have warmly welcomed their selection as one of ten finalists in a worldwide search to help improve the delivery of healthcare in Western Australia's vast Pilbara region.

In October last year, the Western Australian Government issued a $5 million global challenge to researchers, calling for world-leading medical research and innovation solutions to improve health service delivery in the Pilbara.

Lyfe Languages connects with Indigenous communities to translate medical terminology into traditional languages breaking down communication and cross cultural barriers to better improve the delivery of healthcare to Australia’s First Nations people.

Lyfe Languages Founder, Dr Gareth Baynam explained that medical jargon can be pretty daunting at the best of times — and it’s only made worse when you and your doctor speaks a different language.

“As technology continues to improve health and lifestyle outcomes for the wider community, we need to make sure that innovation is equitable. We must not widen the gap,” he said.

“With Lyfe Languages we can close the healthcare communication gap to prevent suffering and death. In fact, the opportunity is to leapfrog the gap. Through global leadership and community co-design and public-private partnerships we will deliver solutions in the Pilbara, first and foremost for the Pilbara.

“This program aims to transfer wisdom across generations and creates new knowledge. It connects incredible First Nations Youth through to their Elders, so that together they are the architects of change.”

Lyfe Languages Manager and Precision Public Health Fellow, Yarlalu Thomas said that, particularly for First Nations people, it takes more than medicine to improve health outcomes.

“Lyfe Languages is retaining and empowering Indigenous languages, partnering with new technologies to equitably transform health and well-being, and creating more connected communities,” Yarlalu explained.

“This network of Indigenous change makers is partnered to doctors, nurses, and other care providers to shift the dial for healthcare. In turn this is partnered to the newest technologies such as artificial intelligence, neural networks and genomics. The world’s oldest continuous culture partnered to the world’s newest technologies.”

The ten finalists were chosen following two stages of judging comprising experts and stakeholders on the ground in the North West, who examined the wide range of digital healthcare solutions submitted to The Challenge.

WIRF CEO, Deb Portughes, said being selected as one of ten high-tech digital solutions from almost 100 global submissions was the highest level of endorsement for the Lyfe Languages program.

“Given the calibre of the submissions, we consider ourselves incredibly fortunate and to be able to progress our program to the proof-of-concept stage,” she said.

“Our project team look forward to partnering with key health stakeholders in the region to better understand the unique landscape, population, and local health needs, and further develop the Lyfe Languages platform.

“On behalf of the Lyfe Languages team, I would like to thank the Minister for Medical Research, the Hon Stephen Dawson, the Western Australian Government, the judges and key stakeholders, BHP Group Limited, Rio Tinto and the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund.”

Each of the ten finalists have been awarded $200,000 from the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund to imbed their concept in the Pilbara for 12 months to prove it works. The group will partner with key health stakeholders in the region, to help them understand the unique landscape, population, and local health needs, and develop culturally appropriate solutions.

To view the Lyfe Languages video submission to The Challenge click here.

For the full list of finalists click here.

Lyfe Languages Challenge Video Submission

In a pioneering new Western Australian project, a group of healthcare providers and language speakers are helping to translate medical terms into traditional languages making it easier for regional and remote First Nations people to get the healthcare they need.

Lyfe Languages brings medical students, doctors, and clinicians together with community to translate complex medical terminology into accurate and culturally safe Indigenous language.


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Women and Infants Research Foundation
Carson House, King Edward Memorial Hospital
374 Bagot Road, Subiaco, WA 6008

Telephone: 08 6458 1437
Fax: 08 6458 1642
Email: info@wirf.com.au

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